Brandon Cobb – Making new games for old consoles – Interview

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As you may have noticed, we are slowly bringing our retro section back to life, albeit with new titles for retro consoles. It seems that these old devices are not written off just yet, not only for collectors, but also for those who occasionally want to see a new release on these machines. We are slowly expanding our review base with both homebrew titles and perhaps a few ROM-hacks in the future. That being said, first we had a little chat with Brandon Cobb, the man behind Super Fighter Team, a company that develops new games for old platforms.

 

Super Fighter Team

Could you give us a short introduction about yourself, and your company?

I’m a 34-year-old who’s never grown up. I’m an entrepreneur, a sarcasm addict, a wine lover and a DPRK enthusiast.

Super Fighter Team is the manifestation of my passion for retro video games. We make new games for old consoles. And they’re pretty good.

Are you an avid retro-collector?

In my teens, I collected retro computers. In my early twenties, I collected 16-bit consoles and, for some reason, absolutely atrocious handhelds like the Supervision and Gamate. (The theme from “Witty Cat” still haunts a friend of mine to this very day.)

But I’ve since sold most of it off. I ended up keeping my complete Super A’can collection, though that’s probably just because I’m a glutton for punishment. And I like to collect ISA sound cards for the PC so I can listen to music from DOS games in many different ways, each unique.

What is your favorite retro console?

Sega-frickin’-Genesis. (Err… Mega Drive.) I mean, c’mon, it’s got both blast processing and DJ Boy! Seriously though, the Genesis was the cool kid in town. And it’s the system I always come back to, again and again, for console gaming goodness. I’ve had the rest, but I stick with the best. Genesis does.

Also … *gasp* … I’m a 32x lover. Fancy that.

But, you know, my favorite platform for gaming has always been, and ever shall remain, the PC. DOS games are where it all started for me, and they’re still my favorites after all these years. They helped shape my destiny, after all, and for that I shall be forever grateful.

Do you still game a lot yourself?

Sure, but these days it’s mostly just to enjoy games as art. All the quality assurance testing I do for Super Fighter Team has kind of ruined me on actually playing video games for fun. I just end up looking for bugs and other developer shortcomings.

If so is it solely retro, or also modern games?

Oh it’s retro all the way, baby. The “newest” console I own is the original Xbox, but even that was only so I could play system link Halo 2 matches with my buddies. Since we stopped doing that several years ago, the Xbox has just been collecting dust in the closet since.

When did you decide to start creating ‘new’ old games?

I had always wanted to. As a kid I did little graphic hacks and (bad) new level designs for Wolfenstein 3d, among other piddly things.

Later, I was working with hobbyists to put together simple little console “demos” to advertise Super Fighter: anything, to bring attention to my favorite fighting game.

It all culminated in me designing and producing Super Fighter Block Battle, which started on the Game Boy Advance but ended up only being finished and released for the Nokia N-Gage [!] and its Symbian-based brethren. That experience gave me confidence that I could finally get into the market and start making all the things happen that I’d dreamed of for so long.

How do you decide which game is next?

I flip a coin. *smirk*

Nah, it’s actually a lot simpler than that. I just experience the game for a bit, and see if it grabs me. Once I’m hooked, truly knocked on my ass by the quality of a game, that’s when I know it’s something worthy of having our name put on it.

Does it take long to produce these games?

Depends on the complexity of the game, and what we have to do to prepare it for the market. Bug hunting, fixing and testing is the biggest time sucker. It’ll drive you crazy, especially if you’re a perfectionist like yours truly.

Isn’t it costly to create physical cartridge based games?

Yes.

What would you like to achieve with your company?

We’ve already achieved far more than I ever could have imagined. Just the fact that we finished up and shipped Beggar Prince — our first commercial game back in 2006 — was a huge accomplishment. We had endured such a troubled production process that towards the end even I was starting to have doubts the product would ever hit the market. But we did it. And people really loved it. All the headaches and long nights were well worth it.

Thanks to Super Fighter Team, I have accomplished professional and personal goals that might have otherwise gone unfulfilled forever. It’s been one hell of a ride. That’s just more reason for me to try and inspire people to follow their own dreams. Don’t ignore them, let them languish… and certainly don’t let anyone else discourage you from exercising your passion. Do what you love, and do it well. And there’s no telling how far it may take you.

Any future plans that you’d like to share with us? Or perhaps lift the veil of some of the titles your trusty clients can expect?

One of the things is, we need a new website. So I’m designing one from scratch, and that’ll be put online… when it’s done. :)

For seconds, we’ve been hard at work on an updated and enhanced version of Tough Guy, a PC fighting game originally released for DOS in 1996 by my friends at Panda Entertainment. That’s coming along swimmingly, and it’s going to be an incredible improvement over the original. Fans have wanted to see this for a long time and soon, they’ll be rewarded.

Brandon_Cobb

Stay tuned for our reviews for Magic Girl and Cascade in the coming weeks.

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