Firstly Stoo could you tell us a little about yourself.StooTrekMD
How did you first get involved in the video game industry?Stoohttp://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/battle-ball/zapiy
What was the inspiration and concept for the Molotov Man?Stoo
I can't quite recall how the project came into existence other than at the time it was quite heavily influenced by Bomber Man. All I can remember is being absolutely overjoyed to be working on the SNES and having what at the time felt like an endless colour palette compared to what I'd been used to with the Amiga. The SNES hadn't been out long, I'd got a Japanese one which came with Final Fight Guy and Chris had got a development system in the office. Seeing how a game was put together on this previously mysterious machine from the East was a real joy at the time and tickled my geekiness levels to the max! Only downer I can recall was the 256 pixel wide screen width compared to the standard 320 pixels the Amiga and Genesis used. I really wasn't too keen on the smaller yet fatter screen but the rest of the hardware made up for that!zapiy
Why was it never released?Stoo
I don't know what really happened with it. We never got it past an early prototype stage so there was never a finished game that would have stood up to a release. It played but was more an advance concept demo than a game. Chris had the Molotov cocktails exploding and the blasts radiating outwards, BomberMan style. I think there was even a few baddies moving about to blow up but that is as far as I know where it finished. I suspect it was a funding issue, maybe it was too close to BomberMan and nobody wanted to take a chance on signing it. I really don't know to be honest. Shame as I was genuinely very excited about working on the SNES.zapiy
What was your time like working at Abstract EntertainmentStoohttp://youtu.be/M1njtqKHiIY
(I shall be uploading lots of Joe Blow and Earlier DJ Fresh stuff in 2015 as I plan to do a proper archive of it)Greyfox
Have you any antidotes you'd like to share about your time at Sensible Software?Stoo JoeMusashi
How much did Sensible Software change during your time there?Stoo
The early days when I joined were fantastic. I don't just mean that with rose tinted specs wearing a cap of nostalgia, I truly do mean it was awesome!
The work was great, the team were great and although we did work very long hours it wasn't really work for the most part, I say that now but it was really just like having a paid hobby. I was heavily into the megadrive and SNES and I recall playing Sonic at my desk during the times when my creativity was hitting a brick wall.
Unfortunately as we grew as a team and I suppose a brand of sorts, some of the projects required larger teams of people not just a handful like the earlier days. With it the feeling in the office changed and that magic that once whispered around place was lost. I'd say around 1995/1996 is when it became apparent that it wasn't the same place anymore and so I made the decision to leave. We were luckily enough to sign a deal with Teslstar for the project that what would later become known as Joe Blow.zapiy
Who was or is your favourite artist, on the C64/Speccy and Amiga/ST?StooTrekMD
Of all the games you were involved in which was the hardest to create art and graphics for and why?Stoo
Joe Blow. We started the project as a 2D overhead action puzzle game but part of the deal upon signing to Telstar was that we redesign the concept as a 3D platform game using a newly developed 3D engine for the PC and Playstation we were at the time working on.zapiy
What software tools did you use to create your games and did you create any tools to help you?Stoo
On the C64 I used Koala Paint to do some screens, one memorable moment was when I did an interpretation of the Iridis Alpha box art on the C64. I took it to a Commodore Show and presented the disk to Jeff Minter who kindly put it on a projector screen which was a fantastic feeling.
For early C64 game dev work I used an editor by Tony Crowther which was great as it did everything I wanted for games art. It was called 3in1 and I believe this is the very same version I used back in the day linked here (http://csdb.dk/release/?id=38285zapiy
Looking back at your career, what would you change if you had a time machine and why?Stoozapiy
Did you ever do any work for the Konix Multisystem?Stoo
No but like many who saw it was very impressed with what it appeared to offer.zapiy
What's your Favourite, C64 or Spectrum and why?Stoozapiy
What's your favourite, Amiga or ST and why?Stoo
I'm going to say Amiga as it was a logical progression from the C64 but I have to say I did have a soft spot for the ST. I didn't really rate it as an alternative to the Amiga but it did provide a decent enough spec for the money.
What was it about the Amiga that I liked? Well it was a graphic artists dream at the time, it had such fantastic hardware that paved the way for the one and only Dpaint. That piece of software gave so many artists the tools to create digital art that before were just not there, certainly not on a home system. One thing I wish Commodore had done is somehow use a SID chip in the Amiga or a logical progression of the SID. I know the Amiga had samples but I always felt how amazing would it have been if the Amiga had a synth chip to sit alongside the 4 channel of sampling.zapiyStoo
I do have a few bit, let me go and have a look in my cupboard of creative drafts and see what I can dig up.
Here's one of my first Amiga screens an interpretation of the classic C64 game Uridium with a few made up bits and bobs followed by a screen from the unreleased game The Last Starship.zapiy
What happened to Ikkyou, that Monkey King game you created with John Bridges looks like it would work great on today's mobile tech?Stoozapiy
Cannon Fodder got into some trouble if i remember correctly for having the Poppy in the game, how did you take that? And what was the thoughts of the Sensible Team at the time?Stoozapiy
Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder are two of my favourite games of all time and i am sure others feel the same, did it ever strike you how iconic these games may have become in the future? Also looking back at that time did you ever feel old games would still have such a huge following?Stoo
I had no idea at all that they would become as big as they did. I'd been a big fan of the Sensible games on the C64 before I'd joined the team so it was always at the back of mind that anything I worked on would have had some coverage being it was Sensible. Seeing both games still getting a mention today is amazing and I'm just grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of making them.
I couldn't even look at Cannon Fodder after we had finished it as I'd spent so long day in day out drawing art, animating sprites, testing levels that by the end of it I was sick of the project. I really couldn't bare to load it up and play it. It's nice to now be able to look back and see it for the game people said it was, and that makes me feel very proud.TrekMDStoo
Not really. The new machines are such work and though Android and iOS offer smaller devs a way in it's still so hard to make the games you want and retain an element of commercialism about the whole thing. Anyone can make a game but turning that into a living like we did in the old days is far more of a challenge today.TrekMDStoo
Cannon Fodder was great but intense as times!
Least enjoyable , hmmm, I'd say there's been a few but I can't name them as that would be telling!TrekMD
What are you doing nowadays?Stoo
These days I'm still working as an artist and more often than not my work is games related though not exclusively.
I'm currently finishing off a project that my good mate Giulio Zicchi and I have been working on featuring our new character Kidd Hero in his debut adventure. You can follow the game on Twitter and soon to be released blog page,https://twitter.com/toweroftreasure
and hashtag #tottabhttps://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=%23tottabhttps://twitter.com/StooCambridgeJoeMusashi
A lot of your early work involved using tiny sprites in games, very effectively. What was the idea behind that?Stoo
The main idea was to be able to see more of the play area. The evolution of that idea is the basis from which the Sensi look evolved.
Megalomania then Sensi Soccer then Cannon Fodder.JoeMusashi
What's with the pink hair in that picture?Stoo
It was a good idea at the time but in hindsight I think purple would have been a better choice.zapiy
With all these bands reforming any chance the Stoo and Jops show could be rekindled? Sensible Software, The Return!!!Stoozapiy
Thanks again Stoo for taking the time to talk to us, gobsmacked is the best word for me here.