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   PlanetDreamcast | Features | Good Deal Games Interview

Good Deal Games Interview
Michael Thomasson of Good Deal Games talks to us about his company's new(!) Sega CD titles - by BenT

Michael Thomasson, head honcho of Good Deal Games.
The Sega CD was Sega's answer to both the TurboGrafx-16's CD-ROM add-on and Nintendo's technologically superior SNES. It promised to harness the power of the relatively new CD-ROM medium by providing a then-unprecedented amount of storage space and the high quality audio inherent to the CD format. In addition, the new hardware had special sprite scaling and rotation routines, which were superior to similar features present in the SNES.

Unfortunately, this new brawn came at a hefty price -- $300, for starters. As you might imagine, consumers were a little slow to catch on to this expensive new device, especially since it required a separate Genesis unit to function. It also didn't help that the initial year or so of software support was extremely underwhelming. Titles like Wonderdog and Wolfchild did little to take advantage of the new format, despite what certain vintage GameFan writers may have thought.

Considering all of the above, many people consider the Sega CD a failure. However, while it certainly wasn't an unabashed success, it actually turned out to be one of the most successful console add-ons ever created. One unofficial source estimates that Sega moved in excess of 2 million Sega CDs in the United States alone -- hardly a failure in terms of sales, even if it was only supported for the two and a half years before Saturn launched. But success or not, this is all ancient history, as the Sega CD is dead and buried.

Or... is it? Michael Thomasson of Good Deal Games thinks the old add-on might have some life in it yet, and he's backing up such claims with some action: his company has released two brand new, never-before-seen Sega CD games! What's more, they have yet another game coming in the near future, and more promised beyond that. But hey, I'm getting ahead of myself. The two current titles are Bug Blasters: The Exterminators and Star Strike, and we talked with Michael about these games and a whole lot more. Let's dig in!

PlanetDreamcast: First, tell us a bit about Good Deal Games. Are you a for-profit business? What does your organization do?

Michael Thomasson: While we are a legitimate business, pay our share of taxes, I would hardly say that GDG is for profit. Since we formed the company years ago, we have put 100% of the profits back into the website. Everyone involved in GDG has yet to take a single penny from the organization - it is definately a labor of love. Our mission is to support those that still value their antiquated gaming consoles. This encompasses our interviews w/ classic gaming programmers and developers, supporting new 'homebrew' projects, 'how to' articles, and more. GDG is first and foremost a hobbyist site and gathering place for classic gaming enthusiests. The sales department, which has little markup, exists to support the cause. We like to think of ourselves as gaming historians.

This shot of Star Strike reminds us a bit of Namco's Starblade.
PlanetDreamcast: You currently have two "new" Sega CD games on offer, Bug Blasters and Star Strike. How did it happen that GDG got to release these so far after the original Sega CD market died?

Michael Thomasson: These games were completed, but never reached the market due to what we like to call 'insect politics.' The story is quite complicated, and we choose not to speak poorly of certain parties involved. The real issue is that there were games completed, that never reached the market for one reason or another. It is a shame that these titles have layed dormant for years, and never enjoyed. There are those that would like the opportunity to try the titles, and the developers which spent so many hours creating these games would like to see their hard work in the hands of those that would appreciate their efforts. While GDG is paying a licensing fee for each game sold, there is really little money to made for everyone involved.

PlanetDreamcast: Who is your target audience for these titles?

Michael Thomasson: True gamers, hobbyists, and collectors - and anyone else who is still playing their Sega CD!

PlanetDreamcast: How many units of each were manufactured? If they sell out, would a second pressing be possible?

Michael Thomasson: We choose to keep these numbers to ourselves, but I assure you that these games will be VERY collectable. A very small amount of these games have been created, and definately much less than any other title released for the Sega CD.

PlanetDreamcast: Were the games 100% finished, or did you have to go in there and tie up some loose ends?

In Bug Blasters, the evil General Grub is out to eradicate mankind. Yes, this may be the most garish screenshot ever.
Michael Thomasson: The first three releases are complete (Star Strike, Bug Blasters: The Exterminators, and Wing Nuts.) Two of the games we uncovered were labeled, 'Final Code.' However, we have found one descrepency in Bug Blasters: The Exterminators where the player is told that they only have one 'flare' and one 'gas grenade' yet the program allows the use of these items at anytime during certain levels. This does not really affect the gameplay, since the items are used to retreat, meaning during the game, if you haven't blasted a target recently and fear that you are about to be hit by an insect, that you can use them and escape. At this point in the game, once a flare or gas grenade is used, the game simply 'rewinds' the level so that you may try again - the player would still have to complete the level to proceed through the game.

PlanetDreamcast: Does your team have the know-how to actually program Sega CD code? For example, could you create a custom frontend for an unfinished game?

Michael Thomasson: Our programmers make original games for our Online Arcade, for play within a web browser. Concerning the Sega CD, all that I can say is, not yet...

PlanetDreamcast: Can you tell us any cool trivia about the Sega CD hardware?

Michael Thomasson: When the Sega CD was first being created, developers were told to create games for a high memory cartridge. The CD-Rom format was top secret, and was not announced even to insiders until the Tokyo Toy Show.

The only game to utilize the expanded color pallette (256 Colors Simultaneously) was the Eternal Champions CD.

PlanetDreamcast: Other Sega CD FMV games featured... personalities... such as Corey Haim and Dana Plato. Are there any recognizable names in Bug Blasters or Star Strike?

Michael Thomasson: Not that I am aware of, but I certainly am not the person to ask about famous personalities. My wife, JoAnn is constantly baffled when she comments about a particular star that she is reading an article about in her copy of 'People' Magazine, and I reply, "who?"

Next: Manuals are Hard Work

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