Om man gillar äventyr, Sci-fi och rymden (Speciellt om man diggar Sierras gamla Quests spel). Då måste man bara köpa Anastronaut 1 och 2!
Det är alltid kul när läsare hör av sig till oss. Speciellt när de kommer med förfrågningar eller tips. I det här fallet så var det en herre vid namn Tim C. Som gillar vår (min) artikel om Anas Abdins Anastronaut spel (Läs gärna min artikel om Anastronaut).
Men det var inte allt. Tim C skulle även vilja se oss intervjua Anas Abdin. Så jag drog iväg ett mail Till Anas för ett par dagar sedan. Ptja, gissa vad? Anas svarade direkt! Så vi gjorde en mail intervju med honom. Den är dock helt och hållet på engelska.
Då vi vill att så många som möjligt ska kunna läa den här intervjun. Stort tack till Anas Abdin som tog sig tiden att svara på våra frågor. Och till våra läsare, köp Anastronaut. Ni kommer INTE att bli besvikna!
Perhaps you could do a little presentation of yourself? Whom you are, where you´re from, what you're all about etc etc.
My name is Anas Abdin, Before Anastronaut I used to say that I am a cartoonist, composer, writer... I gathered up all those in one category: a game developer. I work in a university.
I guess that it would be an understatement if I said that you're not interested in space, adventure, exploring and Sci-fi, wouldn't it? Because Anastronaut 1 and 2, are like one big tribute to all that.
My dream job as a child was to become an astronaut (or a fireman...) I love courageous adventures, sports of all kinds and physical activities. When I was a kid, my parents bribed me with astronomy books and scientific media of all kinds.
How did you come up with the idea of Anastronaut? And what where your sources of inspiration? Could you also tell a bit about Anastronaut for those whom don't know what the games are all about?
I started the Anastronaut blog, writing about things in life from a space hero perspective. Filled it with drawings, music and animations... Made so many fans. Once while animating a scene for the blog, I thought it would be great if I give my fans the chance to control the animation, ergo, make a game!
I am inspired by all Sierra's quests. You can tell that by the classic GUI and mouse cursors of Anastronaut.
Anastronaut is an adventure game set in space. You control the space hero *ahem* Anas. Pretty much self explained!
I would like to ask you a kind of a deep question now If you don´t mind. Do you believe that there is intelligent life somewhere in the universe? If so, do you think that mankind will ever get the chance to meet intelligent non-human life? (and yes, I'm more than aware of the theory that mankind could originate from Mars. If so, then the human race is the only intelligent alien species that we know of today).
Imo, If I were them (those smart Alien creatures). I wouldn't bother to seek contact with the human race at all. I mean, we are destroying our planet. And we have been killing each other for thousands and thousands of years now.
So In the eyes of the Aliens. I bet that we are nothing more then a primitive and violent race. Why seek up trouble when you don´t have to? I'm just saying.
Great question. I don't want to sound skeptic or like a philosopher. There is no determinate answer to this question, whether theories that say yes there is life or no there is not. We only sent space probes yesterday if you know what I mean, and they were sent to dead and toxic places. The universe is huge and it would be a waste of space if we were the only life supporting planet. On the other hand, if we were the only life in the universe, then we should believe in ourselves more and know how special we are.
If there is life somewhere else in the universe, I believe we will meet.
I can't agree with you about the Mars origins... Let's say the space programs are all cancelled due to wars here, few survived and started all over again. Millenniums later new-NASA sends a probe to Mars and finds the remains of -ancient- probes... I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
Why do we always assume that aliens would be any better than the human race? They could be more aggressive and even stupider than us, even though I'd still want to meet them.
Do you have any favorite Sci-fi movies, books or video games? In my case. It would be Star Trek, William Gibsons Neuromancer and Space Quest.
Movies: 2001 Space Odyssey, 2010 The year we make contact, Sunshine. (all sci-fi movies)
Books: Illusions by Richard Bach.
Video games: Sierra's quests, Lucas Arts adventures in general.
I really love the graphic style and animation In Anastronaut. It made me think of other game titles such as The Dig, Space Quest and Another World. Anastronaut is made with AGS (Adventure game studio) isn't it?
Yes I used AGS to create Anastronaut 1 and 2, it's a very powerful engine.
How has the response on Anastronaut 1 and 2 been this far? Have the word about your games spread throughout the world? And what do people think about Anastronaut?
When I released Anastronaut I was not prepared for the fuss it created. It was my first game ever. I am used to creating stuff and putting them on sale (music, books... even couture) I got great positive responses from many people. Made me feel more responsible to create even better games now. I have awesome fans from all over the world.
This may seem like an off-topic question. But what games do you play at the moment?
Btw. Have you played a old Sci-fi/action/horror game named Martian Gothic? (PC/PS1)
I stumbled up on that old gem less than a month ago (I haven´t played that game since I was a young kid).
Imo, Martian Gothic is worth a try at least. Because I love the whole setting of the game. It´s like Resident Evil, but In space.
Nope I haven't played it.
Time to wrap this interview up. What are your plans, dreams and wishes for 2012/2013? And will there be a Anastronaut 3?
My plans regarding game development is to keep on making games. The story of Anastronaut is written in a way that could handle many episodes.
Finally, I'd like to thank you for the interview and for checking on Anastronaut. Best of luck to you and all fans.
And thank you Anas for taking your time to answear all of our questions. This would be It for now. I hope all you guys and girls enjoyed this interview. Take care, and don´t forget to checkout Anastronaut 1 and 2!
Anas was friendly enough to answear some of our readers questions as well. So here we go!
Is his game going to be on steam?
I can't give information regarding steam right now, I don't want to promise my fans something that depends on another site. However, there are other AGS games on steam.
Are you going to make non-adventure games?
I don't mind making any type of game as long as it gives players great time and benefit :)
Själv så hörde jag talas om Adara efter att jag fått syn på hennes riktigt snygga Master chief skiss (Halo). Och på den vägen har det gått, vi har blivit blogg bekanta så att säga.
Men låt oss starta kicka igång intervjun shall we!
Jag börjar lite lätt med att fråga när började du spela tv-spel? och vilka konsoler äger och spelar du på idag?
Jag har spelat tv-spel så länge jag kan minnas. När jag var liten köpte mina föräldrar NES. Sen spelade jag på PS1, PS2, Wii och Game Cube. När jag flyttade ihop med min kille så var det först XBox-spel som gällde. Nu är det enbart PS3 som gäller hemma (förutom när jag besöker familjen förstås).
Finns det några spel och genrer som du absolut inte tycker om? om så, varför?
Jag har aldrig varit ett stort fan av sportspel som typ fotboll . Det har liksom aldrig tilltalat mig. Den enda gången det kan vara roligt är på Wii, då får man röra på sig själv i alla fall.
Vad anser du om sexism och att kvinnor ofta framställs som sexobjekt i spelbranschen? och anser du att det blivit bättre eller sämre med tiden? och vad kan göras åt det?
Ida Aka Adaras:
Ärligt talat så tänker jag inte så mycket på det och har aldrig riktigt brytt mig om det. Kanske för att jag inte spelar så ofta? Och de gånger jag spelar är det oftast spel där tjejer bara har någon liten biroll. Men om jag skulle börja tänka mer på hur båda könen framställs i spelvärlden så skulle jag med stor sannolikhet bli rätt upprörd. Jag har bara inte orkat ge mig in i den debatten. Spelupplevelsen skulle bli sämre om jag funderade på en massa såna saker.
Vad är din åsikt om så kallade "renodlade" tjejspel? alltså spel som vänder sig direkt till målgruppen tjejer? är det fel väg att gå? eller är det helt okej?
Jag syftar främst på att "riktiga" gamer tjejer inte gärna gillar att man sätter en tjejstämpel på somliga spel, och andra inte.
I deras ögon så är spel unisex så att säga.
Ida Aka Adaras:
Det är väl kul att det finns spel som enbart riktar sig till tjejer, precis som det finns tidningar med huvudmålgruppen tjejer och tidningar som riktar sig enbart till killar. Målgrupp är många gånger väldigt viktigt men det behöver såklart inte hindra en från att prova det ena eller andra -trots att man inte tillhör målgruppen.
Redan nu så spekuleras det vilt om Wii-U, 720 och PS4. Men vad tror du själv? vem kommer att gå vinnande ur det kommande konsolkriget, och vilken/vilka konsoler ser du mest fram emot själv?
Ida Aka Adaras:
Jag ser mest fram emot 720, men även PS4. Jag är inte så insatt i konsolkriget men jag tror att 720 kommer leverera bäst. Jag har hört många som sett fram emot den konsolen och konceptet verkar bäst.
Har du någon favorit bland alla spel som släppts under årens lopp? själv så står Deus Ex, Fallout 2, Grim Fandango och Silent Hill 2 väldigt högt i kurs hos mig.
Ida Aka Adaras:
Jag måste bara fråga. Har du några planer på att rita/skissa på något nytt inom spelvärlden inom en snar framtid?
Ida Aka Adaras:
Oh, bra fråga! Jag har ju inte gjort klart min Master Chief teckning än. Men det skulle vara grymt kul att börja på något AC3-inspirerat sen. Jag älskar speldesignen i AC!
Om jag inte minns helt fel nu, så är du ett stort fan utav Silent Hill serien, right?. Så jag har några frågor att ställa där. Vilken titel i Silent Hill serien är din favorit, och varför? samt, vad tycker du om de nyare Silent Hill spelen?
Själv så tycker jag att SH serien dog mer och mer, för varje ny titel som släpptes efter SH3.
Ida Aka Adaras:
Jag har alltid velat spela Silent Hill men jag har aldrig kommit över ett spel. Jag skulle jättegärna vilja prova SH 2! Men det spelet är svårt att få tag i.
Finns det några spel som du verkligen ser fram emot framöver? om så, vilka och varför?
Ida Aka Adaras:
Black Ops 2 ser jag fram emot. COD är grymt!
Om jag förstått det hela rätt, så är både du och din kille (Simon) gamers. Inte sant? om så, brukar ni spela spel ihop? och vilka spel då i sådant fall?
Ida Aka Adaras:
Hihi ja det brukar vi göra ibland! Det är kul oavsett vi kör mot varandra eller med varandra. Vi brukar oftast köra COD och ibland Resident Evil tillsammans.
Jag avslutar den här intervjun med att fråga följande. Vad önskar du allra mest utav allt just nu?
Av vad som helst? I så fall önskar jag en underbar sommar med massor av sol. Och de dagar det regnar kan man såklart gamea och blogga ;)
Neil B are one of THE most talented video-game musicians In history imo.
We had the great opportunity to get in touch with one of the video game industries biggest stars withIn the music area. Im talking about Neil Biggin, an pure video game veteran, that started to make music for video games already back In the early 90s.
I stumbled up on Neil one day via youtube, cus I just happen to like the old PS1 action shooter game Loaded and It´s music. To make a long story short, I have been looking for the music tracks for Loaded and Reloaded for like forever, and one day Neil Biggin himself (the brain behind all the music) contacted me.
And we started to exchange mails a bit, and I just thought for myself “hey! Why don´t I just do an interview with Neil? cus he obviously have an solo album In the works as well”.
Said and done, and here we are. I hope that you guys and girls will enjoy this interview just as much as I loved making It. So enjoy!
Loaded are still one of the games that Neils most proud of being involved with.
Before we kick this interview off. Would you be so kind and do a brief presentation of yourself for our readers Neil, your career and what you do today and so on.
"Hi. I’m pleased to be asked to do an interview, and of course pleased that there’s still active interest in my music. I’m 43 years old (in 2011), born in Sheffield, England and these days living in Vancouver, Canada. I was lucky to be from Sheffield, it’s a historical home for electronic music and I’ve known quite a lot of the musicians in the city.
I’m out of the games business now, too many years of 80 hour weeks and poor management in the industry left me aching for a change. Lack of job security was key too. Layoffs are very common and I decided to jump in my mid thirties, rather than wait until I was 50 to find myself unwanted by what is, of course, a very youthful industry.
I still make music, I’m currently working on an album and plan to finally tour next year, although that’s never an easy thing. These days I work for myself in marketing, so I’m able to work anywhere with a phone and a laptop.
Did you ever as a youngster think that you would start working with video games In the future? And are you brought up with games just as I am?
"it’s a funny thing, I played games with my brothers, as most boys do, but I always dreamed of being a pop star, never thought it would be possible to make music for video games. I never even considered that someone out there must be doing that.
We used to hack and edit the names of players in footy manager games, but never thought to change the sound effects or tunes. I was never really a hardcore gamer, I was a hardcore musician.
So I came into games from that angle. People would bug me from time to time because I didn’t know the latest games, but it never affected my career. Of course, there are jobs I couldn’t apply for because a deep understanding of a genre is required, but I wouldn’t enjoy those jobs anyway.
I was very lucky to end up in games and I appreciate everything that it has brought into my life. The games industry is generally full of wonderful people. It wasn’t until people from outside industries (other software or hardware) started to take up management jobs that it really became a hateful industry to work in.
The love and excitement went… and in came weights and measures guys… obsessed with books like “The Art of War” and Franklin Covey courses. You’d think we were working as civil servants at some companies… exactly the job I left to get into games in the first place."
It would be very interesting to know which video game consoles and games that are your all time favorites.
"I have to say much of my gaming life has been on the PC. My fondest memories of games though are from the Amiga days. We had 2 MSX computers in the house later, A Sony HitBit and a Yamaha CX5M, the latter was my first foray into music sequencing.
Of course we had an Atari and I loved that, later ended up working for them after Infogrames acquired the company name. I also had a Texas Instruments TI99 for a while… a fun machine for type-in games.
I never cared for the music in games though, in fact the only game music I ever enjoyed myself was for Rally X, an arcade favourite from my childhood.
I love driving games; Flatout2 is my all-time favourite. I also enjoy RTS games like Cossacks, but my first love in that genre was Warlords2, which we played in our lunchtimes at Gremlin Graphics. I was never into dragons, or fantasy games with goblins and demons… and always looked for a bit of reality in a game.
Of course Doom2 was the game that really gripped the imagination and changed everything. For a musician Wipeout changed the playing field again. (soundtrack from Sheffield’s Warp Records).
Missile Command on the Atari was my first love; I couldn’t get enough of it and would play it hours into the night watching the changing colour combinations of the screens."
The sequel to Loaded (Re-Loaded) wasen´t even half as good as the original. But, the soundtrack was very good at least.
What particular memory do you remember the most, and feel the strongest for In your video game career when you have worked with your music?
"I remember my first day on the job at Gremlin, I had an Amiga A500 perched on a stool at the corner of a desk in a hardware junk room, with a crappy old TV for a monitor and the sound coming only from the TV speaker. My first game was Zool2.
I had just over a week to learn how to use Protracker and do the soundtrack for Zool2. I put black and white stickers on the keyboard so I knew where the notes were… such a primitive system looking back now. There were thousands of kids all over the world who had better systems, but I loved the challenge of making good music come out of this thing.
I’m still really proud of those tunes… and was chuffed to see someone had put them on YouTube. In fact I think almost everything I ever did is on YouTube and I only ever uploaded one track myself.
The amazing thing was, the year before I got the job I had given my brother a copy of Zool1 for Christmas. Amazingly, the following year I gave him a copy of Zool2, this time with my soundtrack and sound effects. Sounds like fiction eh?
I’d been in the job a couple of years when a TV company came through, making a show for schools about creative and alternative careers. They had a newsreader, journalist… and then interviewed me about making music for games.
In that interview I mentioned how I wasn’t allowed to take music at school because I didn’t have a piano at home. You had to have the instrument you wanted to play at home to practice and do homework. It made sense I suppose, but it also meant the only kids who took music were the ones with wealthy parents… and as we all know some of the best musicians came out of penniless families.
We weren’t poor, but who can afford a bloody piano at home? The fun part of this story happened when my brother Drew came home from school one day… explaining that this careers video had been shown to his class, in the very same school that denied me the chance to take music! Again, truth is often stranger than fiction. The ultimate way to give the finger to anyone is by becoming a roaring success in spite of them. It was a moment I’ll never forget."
Whats your take on todays video game industry? and are you still a gamer now days? If so, what are you currently playing?
"I signed up for Steam recently and bought a load of games. Mainly first person shooters, RTS and driving games, but also some of the new puzzle stuff.
At least half of my friends from those early days are out of games now. I suspect almost all of them will be once they hit 50. I can’t imagine many game companies wanting a 54 year old guy to create a soundtrack or design a hip character.
I would work on a project again if I had the chance, but I wouldn’t take a full time job in the industry again, it’s too cut throat and corporate… and eventually you WILL be made redundant and WILL have to move to a new city and home and friends to find work. I don’t want that anymore.
Here in Vancouver these days there are new games companies starting up almost every week. However, there are also games companies closing almost every week. I had one interview here, 2 very young testers were given the task of interviewing me first… their first question was, “where do you see yourself in 5 years”.
Needless to say I thought the company was disrespectful through the whole process and I wasn’t about to sit through interview 101 with kids who didn’t know shit about shit. I walked out and decided I was done with the business permanently. That said, I would still work on contract if someone needed a soundtrack."
This Is a must ask question for me, because I love most of the music that you have made and done In the past. What were your musical influences when you grew up? And what bands and musical genres do you like the most?
"New Order, The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus and Kraftwerk were my real influences and still are in some level, they’re in my blood. The great John Peel’s radio shows were also an influence, as was the UK TV show The Tube. I craved new music like a thirsty man in a desert - and that hasn’t faded even a drop today.
Each game had different influences. My first game (Zool2 – Amiga and CD32) was me trying to learn from my old mentor Patrick Phelan, who taught me how to use the tracker and gave me guidance from time to time on all the games I did for Gremlin. It wasn’t so much his musical style that influenced me as his way of working.
I think we inspired each other for a while, working out little tricks like how to fake reverb or delay on the Amiga… which seems simple now, but back then we loved every simple new discovery. That time was all about acid house and techno… and those Zool2 tunes were noticeably influenced by that sound.
Being from Sheffield we had a lot of electronica on the doorstep. It was LFO, The Orb, Orbital, Autechre, Black Dog and Beaumont Hannant that I was listening to at that time, along with Aphex of course, who has influenced everyone since.
For Loaded and Re-Loaded people brought loads of CDs for me to listen to. Everyone on the team was excited to be working on this project and people were passionate about how the game should sound. When marketing signed Pop Will Eat Itself to have two tracks in the game I was thrilled, it also gave me a style to go after.
I didn’t have guitarists at hand to create their style though, but their albums (and albums by Ministry that were loaned to me) were on in the studio from time to time so I could soak up the vibe. What came through most out of those sessions though was my love for the soundtracks of John Carpenter. One song in particular was a homage to the great man, not a copy or a cover version, I just wanted something like an audio collage with the same vibe as his music, without sounding like any one of them in particular.
I had new equipment constantly, so there was always a learning curve… and really the equipment was as much an influence as any music. I remember getting an aural exciter/maximiser and I basically turned everything up to 11 on the first game I did with it (Fatal Racing) and now when I hear it I cringe at the awful production. Like the treble is turned up waaaay past 11.
I was never influenced by other game music, because I didn’t really play games too much at that time. I went home to my girlfriend and tried to reboot my brain so that I could be creative the next day. When you’re so deep into something like that you need to take time out to recharge. I wasn’t really a drinker and didn’t even smoke weed… I don’t know how I would ever have survived the pressures to write music every single day if either of those had been in my life at the time.
My other influence has been my lifelong friend Mark Barrott, from Future Loop Foundation. We were in bands together from being at school for over 10 years, until I headed into games and he started FLF. We continued to inspire each other with our material long after we went our separate ways musically. When drum and bass happened, his album “Time and Bass” was a huge influence.
D&B albums were a major influence on Re-Loaded, as you can hear. Other than PWEI and Ministry though, I’ve never listened to another record and tried to copy a style or sound, it’s all done from my mind, with sounds I like.
I’m influenced by sounds I work with, I can’t write music with plain or boring sounds, I wouldn’t even attempt orchestral work. What finished up on a game really just came naturally out of my pores based on what I was listening to at the time. I remember Top Gear 3000 having shedloads of China Crisis style bass lines, for example."
I don´t know how many of you guys that really remembers this titel. But It was pretty awsome when It came out, and It still Is.
I think It´s about time that I ask a sport question now. You lived In Sheffield England once (If I got the facts right), what soccer team where/are you a fan of? And now days you live In Vancouver, so you just have to be a big fan of Vancouver Canucks right?
"I’m a long-suffering Sheffield Wednesday fan. I still follow the matches online and all the news of course. I keep up to speed on the gossip with my Dad and my brother Paul, who are both season ticket holders. I miss going to see the games with them, but I go every time I’m home in Sheffield. As long as we’re finishing about Sheffield United I don’t care what division we’re in.
I’m a huge Canucks fan, yes. It’s been a great few years as the team became very competitive, probably the best team to never win the Stanley Cup. I lost interest this year though, I got a sense that the NHL didn’t want Vancouver to win and the officiating and league decisions on various things seemed incredibly biased in favour of American teams every time."
What video game systems do you currently own and play the most on?
"I only use a PC for games now. I love Steam and how easy it makes everything. I also love their sales and well, I’m not making a commission but that’s the best thing to happen in PC gaming for years.
I would love a PS3 but I don’t play any one game enough to spend a lot of money on it. I love boardgames though, and spend time Carcasson and others with old pals who also moved to Vancouver from Sheffield for games jobs. In total I think about 15 of the original Gremlin group of 60 have worked in Vancouver. I worked at EA, but others worked for Disney, Rockstar and some of the other teams here."
What video game companies have you worked with over the years, and what/which games are you most proud of being involved with?
Gremlin Graphics (aka Gremlin Interactive)
"Loaded and Normality were great games at the time, Fatal Racing too, but I think for everyone their first game is a bit special, so Zool 2. Actua Soccer was groundbreaking and the team was superb. I did some work on Jungle Strike and Desert Strike… that was a lot of fun to say the least."
"I designed and wrote the speech for FIFA Soccer for about 4 years, starting in 96 I think. They head-hunted me after seeing the work I did on Actua for Gremlin."
"I worked on a couple of games for them, Slam Tennis with a great team of people and I brought in Apheleon to do the soundtrack, a guy I’d been a fan of for a few years."
"I loved the work, but I should bite my tongue about the people I worked with there. I project managed American Idol for them… and performed miracles, licensing 50 massive pop hits for the soundtrack from the top labels for an incredibly small price, something they never appreciated.
The highlight of that job was writing and recording the speech, with Abdul, Cowell and Jackson in the US. I had a lot of fun doing that game, in spite of the toxic working environment."
I must admit that I totaly missed out on the Amiga era. But Zool 1 and 2, were big amiga titels back In the days. And Neil really enjoyed to make the soundtrack for them.
Nintendos Wii most obviously won this console war. But whom do you think will win between Wii-U, 720 and PS4 In the future? Or should I put It this way Instead. WHAT will the next console war be all about? (grafix and so on).
"I don’t know the first thing about what’s happening on the consoles. But ask me about Reason or Ableton and I could talk all day!"
I kind of got the picture of you not liking suits that much, big corporate companies and all that. Do you have any specific story that you would like to share with us? If you can that Is, don’t want you to end up In trouble…
"Well, let’s just say when managers came from other industries they brought with them all the stuff they had used before… and none of it fit into the culture of gaming.
They weren’t used to handling creative types and didn’t understand that you couldn’t motivate creative people in the same way as office managers, not if you wanted any kind of good creative output. Compromise and burn-out were the name of the game.
Longer hours at a desk doesn’t make for a better game. Gremlin was the only truly wonderful working environment I’ve worked in… from the owner of the company down, everyone got it. Not everyone worked full-on all the time, there were some high-jinx and plenty of low-jinx too, but we made some corking games and we loved the work. EA was like that at first too, the early FIFAs I worked on were a joy, but like the first sip of a milkshake, that can’t last forever."
You did mention something about doing an solo album In our past mail conversation, and that It was something that you have always wanted to do. Could you tell us a bit about your solo project ambitions, and what It´s all about?
"I’m using the name Tofino HiFi. It’s quite interesting not having a game to write for. Like writing a film soundtrack, but knowing nothing about the film.
So instead I’ve given myself an album concept and I’m writing like that. I want to tour it next year, we’ll see. I have found myself writing in lots of different styles so far, too much freedom is a bad thing! I’m much better with a game title and characters to write for."
Neil did the soundtrack for the Snes and PC version of Jungle Strike. Sadly enough, I played pretty much ALL the Strike games on my Mega Drive. So I have no clue, what the other versions music sounds like.
Correct me If Im wrong now, but you haven´t been active In the video game industry for over 9years in total? The latest titles that you where involved with where Micro Machines and Slam Tennis right?.
Both games where released back In 2002. So one can´t help to wonder If you miss working with videogames now days?
"That’s right, been out of game for 8 or 9 years now. American Idol was the last game. Every job I had was worse than the last; every working environment worse than the last. I know most of the old Gremlin crew are back working together in Sheffield and I strangely enough I do sometimes have dreams about being back there, but I’m happy in Canada.
I would love to do a remake of Loaded for a new platform, or a film soundtrack… or even work on contract for a small developer who don’t have an in-house guy.
I miss the laughs, the creativity and the comradeship we used to have. Most of my best friends in the world came from games. However, I don’t miss the hours, the stress and the awful environments that are out there these days."
Which are your idols withIn the gaming business and why? If you have any idols that Is.
"My idols within the business are all people I worked with and admired massively.
Ian Stewart, the man behind Gremlin Graphics… a genuinely nice bloke with a great attitude and a wonderful approach to business and creativity, he tolerated some crazy people and crazy happenings, but he brought the best out of some amazing people too.
Adrian Carless, the most talented game designer I’ve ever known and a wildly creative artist.
Bruce MacMillan, the one-time head of EA Sports who brought me to Vancouver to work on his FIFA team, a true gentleman and a visionary.
Simon Fitzpatrick… an audio engineer who I took around the world with me on various recording trips because he knew how to record and edit voice-overs with the least fuss and best audio quality, dozens of amazing trips around Europe and the US that we often described as “best holiday ever”.
Rob Rackstraw and Lorelei King, two of the most wonderful voice-over artists you’d ever want to work with – both worked on countless games with me.
Des Lynam (British TV presenter)– taught me so much about scriptwriting for voice-overs in one session than I could ever explain, top bloke.
Patrick Phelan and James North-Hearn at Gremlin (now both at Sumo I believe) for taking a chance on me in the first place and always being encouraging, even when I’d sit there with writer’s block for hours on end."
This one I do remember more then well. I played It on PC though, the gameplay & plot of the game, were pretty wicked!
I have kind of always wondered what went through your mind when you made all that great music for Loaded and Re-Loaded. Did listen or do something special at that particular time to be able to create all that awesome music? And did you ever meet any one from Pop Will eat Itself In person?
"I never got to meet PWEI, sadly. I was a fan of their music before we signed them for the game too. The marketing types at Gremlin did all the deals on that one. They did send me a tape of their next album, but they broke up before it was released… and the tape was deliberately low quality to avoid copying.
Loaded is the soundtrack I’m most proud of. It has stood the test of time pretty well too. I will admit to having a peek on YouTube from time to time to read the comments and see how many views those tracks have.
I sometimes have people contact me through various channels, even after all these years. The funny thing is, at the time there was no YouTube and I didn’t honestly know anyone liked my music or even paid attention to it At best I got a two line review as part of a big game review… and a mark out of ten.
To find people from as far away as Brazil and South Africa had uploaded dozens of my tracks to YouTube years later was a lovely surprise I have to say. I’ve had so many nice letters over the years, one that sticks out is a guy who used to drive around the countryside in his Porsche, repeatedly listening to the CD soundtrack I did for Lotus Trilogy."
Now for the last question of this interview. What do you wish for the most right now? and what are your plans for the future?
"I’m hoping the world doesn’t slide into chaos and the economy doesn’t dissolve completely. Assuming there’s no collapse I plan to keep making music until I can no longer span an octave with both hands!
I can’t see the day coming when I don’t like music; it was my biggest fear growing up that one day I would be like all “old people” and at the age of 35 I’d stop liking current music and stick to my tattered copy of Unknown Pleasures. It’s not happened though; I like more music today than I ever have. It’s a great time to be a music fan.
Thanks for asking interesting questions, unlocked out a lot of cool memories for me. Cheers."
The Gaming Ground
En svensk Gamer Terminator typ xD
Jag vart kontaktad utav en vis herr Ekke Svensson från Ekke.se bara för ungefär ett dygn sedan, om jag vill göra en intervju med honom. Då det är ett bra tag sedan sist som jag äns medverkade i en intervju, så tänkte jag "ptja, varför inte?".
För folk vet ju knappt något alls om mig, vilket är lite synd. Så jag försökte att bjuda på mig själv så mycket som jag bara kunde. Oftast är det rätt så svårt att ge en helhets bild utav sig själv via en enda intervju. Men jag försökte ialla fall.
Värt att nämna är att jag i stort sätt bara gått tekniska utbildningar i hela mitt liv, samt att jag är uppvuxen med sport, och att jag är både stadsbo och lantis. Ni kan läsa hela intervjun mellan mig och Ekke.se här!
Jag tyckte även att det var passande att avrunda det här inlägget med en utav de allra grymaste Terminator remix låtarna jag någonsin hört. Låten passar liksom riktigt bra ihop med bilden på mig själv, som jag bifogat längst upp i inlägget. Enjoy i vilket fall!
The Gaming Ground
Brendan Becker aka Inverse Phase in action.
Innan jag överlämnar era ögon till själva intervjun med Brendan Becker så tänkte jag bara ge lite bakgrunds story hur det hela gick vägen. För det första så hörde jag talas om Inverse Phase via en bekant och för det andra så har jag alltid velat intervjua personer som jag ser upp till.
Så sagt och gjort, jag tog kontakt med Brendan och ordnade denna intervjun. Jag har nu beställt ett bättre headset och cam, så jag hoppas på att kunna köra på muntliga intervjuer framöver också. Men nu överlämnar jag scenen till Inverse Phase så enjoy!
TGG Robin – First of all, thank you very much Brendan for taking your time to participitate in this interview with us. Would you be so kind to introduce yourself for our readers.
Inverse Phase - Happy to be here, Robin! I’m an oldschool video game nerd that writes chiptunes. I’m best at writing NES music, but I delve into the C64 here and there, and I’m getting more into writing music on the MSX, Atari 800, and other systems.
TGG Robin – When did you start to get interested in making your own music approxly?
Inverse Phase – Let’s see... when I was super-young I took organ lessons, but at my age it was more like “piano for dummies”. I wasn’t very good, but at least I got comfortable with the piano. When the NES became king, I tapped out tunes from Tetris and other games on the piano like so many other game music heads. Then at the same time I got my first soundcard for my PC, I fell in love with the Amiga, MOD files, and trackers. My fate was sealed! Shortly after that, my music was played at a band concert and I did three game soundtracks for friends in grade school.
TGG Robin – I have listened through both your albums “The Midnight Chiptunes” and “Retrocovered”. I guess that It´s safe to say that you’re a big video game fan and that you love cartoon series? I would also guess that your something of a hardcore fan of Transformers?
Inverse Phase – I’m an 80s kid for sure. Games, cartoons, you name it. I was into Transformers, but I wouldn’t say I’m hardcore; I did NESformers because I am a huge nerd but also because I’m into rock/metal and wanted to practice chiptuning guitar solos. Lion’s cover of the Transformers theme is also pretty epic.
TGG Robin – What musical artists and bands would you say that have inspired you the most while you were growing up? and do you have like a favorite band or artist?
Inverse Phase – That’s a tough question... In the 90’s I was a huge Prodigy head. I listen to the artists featured on my Retrocovered album. I also have a lot of prog metal and synthy spacy listening under my belt. There’s also tons of VGM influence. Quitting my list while I’m ahead!
TGG Robin – How would you describe your music with your own words? It seems to be a mix of various things really.
Inverse Phase – You’re right... I guess it’s just a bunch of influences with my own personal spin!
TGG Robin – I noticed that you had a Half-Life T-shirt on one of your photos from a live gig. So I just have to ask... What do you think of the whole “Valve Half-Life 2 EP3” and their eternal cliffhanger thing from HL2 EP2? And what´s your thoughts on Portal 2?
Inverse Phase – Actually, that’s not a Valve shirt! =] In the picture you’re talking about, notice the lambda making an M? I’m performing at a yearly video game and music festival called MAGFest (http://magfest.org/), and they often parody logos from games to pay homage to titles they love.
Your question still deserves an answer... I’m a PC gamer at heart. I prefer keyboard/mouse for FPS titles, but I run Linux these days and I don’t really like running stuff under Wine. I haven’t actually played through all of Portal 1 or 2, or HL2. Shameful, I know. I think they’re fantastic and hope to get to them someday. I am aware of the stories, though, and I hate cliffhangers.
The Midnight Chiptunes was released in 2009, and it´s like one big honour wave to the Guilty Gear series. An awesome album indeed!
TGG Robin – Is it a bit of a hobby for you to make music, or is it something that you do full time? If no, then what do you do for a living?
Inverse Phase – I’ve worked IT, databases, delivery and logistics, and other jobs. Music was always my hobby on the side, but recently the company I was working for had to lay off a bunch of people... and I was one of them. I decided to go full time with the music thing and I am now working on game soundtracks for upcoming indie games. Hopefully I can pay the bills with it! =]
TGG Robin – What do you think of today´s music, music industry and MTV?
Inverse Phase – I’m a little depressed by the state of the music industry and MTV. “Today’s music” is a bit general a term, though.... there’s a lot of music I like and a lot of music I’m not really into. That will probably always be the same.
TGG Robin – Have you played a lot of live gigs and what do you think about playing live? Do you get the audience to stagedive to your sick beats? =)
Inverse Phase – I’ve played maybe a dozen gigs by now. It’s fun, but it’s also challenging as a chiptuner because all of the music is written in advance. You have to do more to keep the crowd interested. I have a lot of fans but my crowds aren’t big enough to support stage-divers.... yet! =]
TGG Robin – Could you tell us a bit about your nine-inch-nintendos project? Cus I think the whole idea is brilliant, really.
Inverse Phase – Thanks! I’m a big Nine Inch Nails fan and so are many of my friends. I often considered doing NIN tracks but I wanted to do something more “special”, so I decided to do an entire tribute album, from start to finish, of Pretty Hate Machine. It will be called “Pretty Eight Machine” (you can chuckle now) and I will do the entire album from start to finish on eight different configurations. Expectations are high but I’m over halfway done with the project and I think I can safely say it’s some of my best work to date.
TGG Robin – What kind of music do you like to listen to, in general?
Inverse Phase – I listen to a lot of different types of music. I try to stay as open-minded as possible, but I find I can’t tolerate country/western music and some “pop40” for very long.
A very good album that was released back in 2010. It could be yours for just 5 bucks (If you don´t feel like paying more for it, that is).
TGG Robin – Do you have any plans on doing a follow up album to “Retrocovered” in the near future? Inverse Phase – Maybe! I do plan to do more in the future, but after I finish the NIN album, I think I’ll be releasing more originals... probably some game soundtrack material...
TGG Robin – Now over to some gamer questions. What´s your favorite console or computer system?
Inverse Phase – That’s a tough one, too. For consoles in the “8-bit wars”, I’m really fond of the NES sound, but actually I was originally a Sega Master System kid. Before that, I had an Atari 2600 (and a 7800). Also, during all of that time, I had a PC and I was doing quite a bit of gaming on that. If I had to choose, I would pick a PC with VGA and a soundcard over all of my consoles.
TGG Robin – Anyone should be able to realize that you like the NES and NES games a lot. But do you have any favorites from that era? In my case, Zelda 1, Life Force, Metroid and Super Mario Bros 3 has always meant a lot to me.
Inverse Phase – I enjoyed a great deal of titles and it’s hard to pick a winner, but I think many Konami games hold a special place in my heart. In fact, you mention Life Force, and one of the games I helped with while in school was inspired by it. The others were inspired by Dr. Mario and then we did a platformers (so that might as well be Super Mario Bros). As far as NES music goes, there really are too many to name again, but I’m a big fan of Mr. Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka. I’d also like to meet the Follin brothers (Tim and Geoff, who appear to be pretty hard to contact) and Neil Baldwin (who I do chat with occasionally).
TGG Robin – I got an off-topic question for ya. What do you think of Nintendos Wii-U unite?
Inverse Phase – In a few words? I’m really poor, but I think Nintendo is very good at innovating and tries a lot of interesting ideas. I’m very curious to see where the Wii U goes. I just won’t be able to pick one up any time soon.
TGG Robin – Have you ever played for Video Game Live?, If no, would you like to? Inverse Phase – I’ve never performed for VGL. I have been to several VGL shows as an audience member, backstage, and also as pre-event entertainment in hallways of the venues. I know Tommy, Jack, and the rest of the gang, and they sell my Guilty Gear album in their merch area, which is very nice of them. I have a few ideas of how my stuff might fit into their show, so if they ever ask me to become more involved, I’m definitely interested!
TGG Robin – The last question, what do you play at the moment?
Inverse Phase – Gamewise? I have ongoing games I need to finish of Phantasy Star 2 Genesis/MD, Mother NES/Famicom, and Cave Story. Unfortunately they are all on hold until I have time. Also, for parties we “invented” a game called MAME Roulette which we often use to discover new/obscure arcade games.
Oh! Before we close, I’d like to slip in a good word for Dan Fornace (http://danfornace.com/) and also Embraceware (http://embraceware.com/). I’m currently doing game soundtrack work for both of them, so please pay them a visit!
The interview with Inverse Phase is over for now, but we hope to interview him again sometime in the future. We wish him the best of luck with everything, and buy his albums. Cus they are really, really good