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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
Page 2/2

PlanetDreamcast: Would you say the video quality and other technical tidbits are about equal to other Sega CD FMV games?

Michael Thomasson: The FMV is as good, if not superior, to any other fmv on the console excluding the 32X enhanced versions. The full-motion-video encompasses the entire screen, as well. Many Sega CD games such as Night Trap and Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective only displayed video in a miniature window.

The developer was getting very good at jumping to quick clips by the time these games were developed due to their experience with ealier titles they helped create. There is very little lag or loading time, and that is certainly an unusual, but pleasant, occurance for the platform.

The covers and disc art look great! (I have to admit I have a soft spot for full-color disc labels.)
PlanetDreamcast: What about playability? Do you foresee these games appealing to more than the hardcore collector's market?

Michael Thomasson: Both of these initial releases are Full-Motion-Video (FMV), which was surrounded with some contraversy at the time for the Sega CD. We recognize that fmv games are not favored by everyone, while they are enjoyed by others. We do recognize that fmv is not the 'ideal' game mechanic for many gamers, but the opportunity for us to release these titles and get them available was our primary goal, and serves to support an unsupported platform to those that will enjoy these particular types of games.

These games are shooting games, meaning the player moves a cross-hair over the video footage, and destroys mutated bugs or intergalactic space travelling vehicles, depending on the particular title being played. While some footage is the same every game, some footage is randomnly placed, so the gameplay does have some diversity. For those individuals which do not enjoy FMV games, their primary argument seems to be the lack of play mechanics. However, these are first and foremost shooting games - these titles could have been done w/ traditional sprite techniques, or even digitized sprites such as Konami's Lethal Enforcers. The issue isn't the fmv format, but whether the game player likes shooting games.

PlanetDreamcast: We understand you had to create the manuals from scratch. What tools and software were required to create a nice, professional manual? Did you base the format on that of other Sega CD game manuals, or just wing it? Was it a hassle to find the correct paper stock?

Michael Thomasson: Well, I'm a professional 3D animator by trade, and a graphic designer before that, so I had access to the proper tools and equipment needed to create the new artwork. Marketing material was never created for either Bug Blasters: The Exterminators nor Star Strike, so I took the task in hand. Personally, I am very happy with the products final look and design. Wing Nuts did have completed artwork. We are evaluating the original designs currently, but have yet to decide if we will use them. We have also created compositions of our own for comparison.

Concerning paper stock, it simply wasn't an issue that we felt needed our attention. Our four-page manuals are on a slightly different cardstock, and of course the format is different, since we have released these games in the standard CD-Rom jewel case, as opposed to the fragile vertical plastic cases that Sega originally used.

This isn't the first time that GDG has contributed to the classic gaming scene. GDG has also created all the covers for Classic Gamer Magazine, the logo for Syzygy Magazine, the box artwork for Songbird's Lynx game Championship Rally, and more! All of which we have donated graciously without financial compensation.

PlanetDreamcast: The cover art for both titles looks very good. Did you have production resources like concept art and CG renders to draw upon?

Michael Thomasson: We had nothing except for the final gaming code to work with, that was it. Fortunately, we were granted great freedom to create what we thought would work best for the products. Of course, game screenshots, were also included in the design.

PlanetDreamcast: According to your website, you'll be publishing another "lost" game called Wing Nuts in the not-too-distant future. Can you tell us anything about that?

Star Strike: looks like your character.
Michael Thomasson: Wing Nuts is by far the better of the three products, originally designed for release by Rocket Science Games. More details will be available online at the GDG website soon!

PlanetDreamcast: What's in the future for GDG? Are you planning to release games for other abandoned systems? If so, any hints on platforms or titles?

Michael Thomasson: We hope to publish games of all genres for multiple platforms. We are currently in negotiations for a 'platform' game for the Sega CD, and more. Initially we will support CD based consoles such as the Sega CD and 3DO, since production costs are much cheaper than manufacturing cartridges, which allows us to get the products to the game playing public at a smaller price. However, we do have preliminary programming being done for the INTV and Vectrex, and if these 'experiments' are successful, we may take the venture further.

I need to stress again, that this venture is a real risk for a small company like GDG, so support on these initial releases is absolutely CRITICAL for future releases to come to light. If the gaming community supports us, we will continue to support them. For those of that have already purchased the GDG Publishing launch titles, we salute and thank you!

...And I'd like to thank Michael for his candid and informative answers. FMV games may not be for everyone, but I'll certainly be picking up copies of these games both for the collecting aspect and to support the great work Good Deal Games is doing. If you're into retro stuff, I'd recommend you do the same. How else will we see new games for these late, great systems?

Additional Screenshots

Bug Blasters: what's more scary, the freaky guy or that fire?

Uh oh, that's one hell of a huge arachnid.

Star Strike's shooting gameplay is similar to other titles in its genre.

Shades of Star Wars?

Preparing to warp.

Essential Links

  • Good Deal Games
  • PlanetDreamcast
  • ClassicGaming.com
  • Tom Zito Interview (Zito was the President of Digital Pictures, the most prevalent FMV company back in the 90's heyday.)

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