Justin Castle is the man behind the fabulous Lemmings The Ports book and the CD32 Compilations website plus much more so read on and enjoy.Zapiy
Thank you for agreeing to our interview, please take a moment to tell us a little about you?Justin
Hi, thanks for the invitation! I’m Justin, better known as AmigaJay in most retro circles, being making various gaming sites and blogs since around 1998 inc LynxUK, NeoGeo Pocket UK, Gizmondo Central, CD32 Blog, Lemmings Blog among others.
As well as publishing 3 books as you have mentioned in my intro. My latest work is creating various unofficial CD32 discs.Zapiy
Tell, us about your CD32 compilations, whats the reasoning for creating them?Justin
Well it has a special place in my heart and i wanted to do something CD32 related for quite a while, at first i was creating alternate front covers to print, then i wanted to pursue duplicating what other guys in the scene were doing with making their own discs.Greyfox
And what’s involved in making them?Justin
To be honest, putting them together like anything once you have done it a couple of times isn’t too hard, its getting things to work that takes the time, people tend to think you can chuck a game on a disc and it will magically work!Zapiy
Which one is your favourite and why?Justin
A couple are my favourites, the Psygnosis one, took around 4 months, and because it was part of the ‘Complete’ series i had to get all 71 games working on a stock CD32! So defo one of the hardest ones to complete.
The other favourite would be my ‘More! Lemmings’ game, reverse engineering the CDTV version of Lemmings and taking the converted exclusive Mega Drive levels, compressing, hex editing, all self-taught from scratch and completed in 6 weeks, that was my most satisfying project for sure.Zapiy
Of all the books you have released which is the one your most fondest of and why?Justin
Has to be Lemmings – The Ports, well fondest now, not so much in the last 6 months of creation! It took over 2 years to make due to the sheer amount of content and work involved, but certainly i wouldn’t attempt anything on that scale ever again!Zapiy
I think we all know what your favourite computer is, but what’s your number one console of all time?Justin
It’s between the Mega Drive and PlayStation, the former with memories playing Sonic, Road Rash and Desert Strike, to memories playing Wipeout, Destruction Derby and Tekken on the PlayStation, so cant really choose a fav between them.Zapiy
Where does your love for Lemmings come from?Justin
Just like any obsession (lol joke) it was from playing the original Amiga version in 1991, it’s just one of those games everyone has one you might not know it, but it connects with you, it was playable, it was fun, it was annoying, but i always came back to it, a sign of a great game.Greyfox
With your love of the Amiga platform, what was your first experience with the magic machine?Justin
1989 walking into Dixons seeing Shadow Of The Beast running on the display machine blew me away (only one other game has had the same effect and that was Wipeout in 1995) that was my first experience, but it wasn’t until 1990 when i finally got to play one when my mate used to bring his A500 round to my house every weekend. After a year we decided to do a swap, my Mega Drive with Sonic for his A500 with 50+ *cough* pirated games, no brainer really!Greyfox
Did you ever have interest in Atari’s 16 bit, the Atari ST as this came out some 12 months before the Amiga?Justin
Sadly no, as mentioned above i got a great deal getting my Amiga, so the ST didn’t get a look in, i only ever played one once around my cousin’s house when he just bought Buggy Boy.Greyfox
You’ve made some fantastic books in the past, any plans for something new?Justin
I’ve been putting some free PDF books on Issuu which have been gathering old adverts for various old machines for a bit of fun.
Also, as an exclusive scoop for you guys, i’m currently putting together a physical bi-monthly CD32 magazine with a demo disc, lots of stuff to do yet but things are coming together and issue 1 should be out in late August.TrekMD
What challenges did you face when creating your excellent books? Did the experience improve as you published additional books?Justin
Nothing with my first book as i published through lulu.com very straight forward. With my Lemmings book i faced another months work due to margin errors among other problems trying to get it on Amazon, so that was definitely improved upon for my last book which went smoothly.TrekMD
Is there a game series or console you’d like to write about that have not had the opportunity to do yet?Justin
Apart from the free advert PDFs on Issuu, not really, unless it’s a pixel based book which doesn’t require too much work in comparison, you need a lot of passion for a certain machine to do a book with detail.Zapiy
Have you ever thought about making a game or even tried?Justin
Well ‘More! Lemmings’ is the closest to put together a hack of two games, but i dont’ have the coding skills to write my own game.Zapiy
Why did you decide to recreate Neo geo CD covers?Justin
Mainly because there isn’t a complete set of high-resolution cover images i wanted to print off anywhere, so why not make some myself? Plus i like the look of the spine card as if the game is still new, makes them unique.Zapiy
Would it be possible to make Neo Geo Compilation CD’s?Justin
Of course, but it’s totally different to making CD32 ones where there are developer tools for such things, it’s all coding on the Neo.Zapiy
With all the retro related stuff you do, I wondered what was the thought process on making the Retro Arch and MAME borders?Justin
Like anything i guess, if it hasn’t been done then why not do it yourself! Haven’t done any for quite a while, mainly because my dog will chew any controller i attempt to get out!Zapiy
Do they take you long to create?Justin
Not too long once you had a batch going, some like the MAME ones may be 20mins, but others esp the handheld Retro Arch ones maybe a couple of hours due to the nature of getting the size right for the transparent part.Zapiy
Are you surprised with the resurgence in retro gaming?Justin
Not so much, had seen it coming for while with the uptake of various Android devices and more and more indie games appearing on the main consoles, it’s really nice to see and makes the previous generation look even more boring!
A huge thanks to Justin for taking time out to have a chat to us about his amazing work within the retro scene.