The real Magic happens at 88 mph
Today, exclusively for the RGG Indie Portal, we present to you all an interview with a couple of top-notch, top-down obsessed chaps who seek to bring that classic flavour back to your TV screens via the mighty Ouya!
They are Monster Finger Games and they are set to release the Ouya-exclusive Super 911 Response: an honest and loving homage to everything great about that feeling of an arcade classic that is Spyhunter, pumped full of 80's nostalgia and retro passion.
On the eve of their first major release, they got in contact with us lot and the rest is magical history. Even if it did mean they got a barrage of bonkers questions from myself, the one and only Olly023 of RGG!
So kick back, chillax and sip on your cuppa...Get ready to enjoy some information, as it's interview time...
This is Nancy from Chase HQ...Nice to meet you.
RGG: Gooooood morning Portalnammmmm! Monster Fingers, care to introduce yourself to the lovely retrobate inhabitants of the Indie Portal?
Stu: Hey! We are two guys just trying to get more games out that we'd enjoy to play and hope other people will too, always including humour within our projects for a bit of extra fun. I, the younger of the two; Stewy!
James: Howdy, I'm James.
RGG: How'd you guys come to meet and ultimately decide on going the two-man op route in the form of a hot new indie studio?
Stu: We came to meet through family ties and it just struck off from there, the two man group came from just where the ideas bounced off from an original base design created by my gaming partner James.
James: Well he is my sister-in-law’s fiancée and at one point I wanted to slap him with an extremely large Tuna fish for being a Turkey, but now we are best mates [laughs], I love the music he makes and originally he started making music for a project that never saw the light of day called Kill Khaos. We are both into modified cars and after Kill Khaos failed we thought let’s start a little team.
RGG: Now let’s quickly mix this up and get truly personal...it’s a need to know: what was your first console/computer and what are your earliest memories as gamers?
Stu: My first console memories are from playing Pokemon Snap on my N64 in the nineties on an 8 inch portable TV!
James: Wow first console, that's tough. I think it was an Atari 2600, it had a cartridge with a load of games on it. I'm sure I played a boxing game with a joy stick which I remember thinking was great. One thing I do remember is I had a Spectrum, waiting hours for a game just to fail...ah the joys! I used to play a lot of Super Swiv and Total Recall.
RGG: Teddy Boy or Psycho Fox?
Stu: Psycho Fox.
James: Played neither, but Psycho Fox looks far better. Teddy Boy hurts my eyes!
So give us the scoop on Super 911 Response
RGG: You're currently producing a title of great interest to us here at RetroGameGeeks, that being: 911, of course! Care to let the readers in on just what the game is and what to expect from it?
Stu: The game itself draws on an overhead, traffic-dodge racer game; but bridges into an arcade classic with a few twists.
James: Wow! That was a much better description then mine, but here is mine too. The way I would describe it is Spyhunter/shooter: one level is all about getting to the end with the most points and in the fastest time, and; the next is about taking down the enemy which can range from somebody littering to explosive cassette tapes.
RGG: You're on social media with Twitter and YouTube, etc. - how important a role do you feel the retrogaming community can have on the success rate of a retro-styled indie title such as yours?
Stu: Mainly the community could make or break a game and every retro gamer knows what they want from the current releases and we hope they are pleased with ours.
James: In my opinion any avenue is a great one, and to get our game out to another community especially one that's into retro games like ours would mean we could really get our name noticed and not sink into the Sandbox. Worth a mention, we are now on Tumblr too.
RGG: You recently ran a crowd-funding campaign, with Kickstarter and IndieGoGo becoming more prevalent on the indie dev scene, did you feel this was the most viable option to raise rupees?
Stu: At the time being yes, as we receiving some good responses from social media so we thought the community might be able to help us on our way and get what they wanted out and help us with new releases.
James: Originally we contacted Ouya but unfortunately as it was Christmas they were too busy to respond to us, we wanted the game out on Ouya as quick as possible but also to be able to set our team up a little so we could convert our title across and update our tech a little. I decided the last thing to do was try a campaign, I couldn't get my head around Kickstarter initially and I didn't like the all or nothing feel of it, so I went with Indiegogo and well...failed. I never realised how hard it would be and if I'm honest I didn't really enjoy it, I asked friends and family and everything, I got a lot of twitter followers but unfortunately no money, it's not a problem though we are going halves so we will have it on Ouya this month if the conversion process isn't too hard.
RGG: Tell us more about your experience with crowd-funding, as it continues to be a hot topic and horse’s mouth is the best mouth...
Stu: We were unsuccessful in our endeavours but we know of a few indie gamers who were helped along and the end product seemed to please the investors.
The indie scene & the game making dream.
RGG: We love the Ouya here at RGG, can you tell us much about your experience with them as a company? Or simply just explain why you feel it’s important to have the system grow? Any advantages/disadvantages worth noting?
Stu: It lets people [developers] make what they want to see at a reasonable price and the products on the market are a lot more reasonable than that of mainstream consoles, and in my opinion are at the same enjoyment level as £35-40 games. As a company they seem to be very supportive of indie designers as even we have received a tweet back on one of our recent updates that was incredibly positive.
James: I don't have much experience with Team Ouya, but I have nothing but respect for them simply because they, in my opinion; are bringing back the days when anyone could get a game out to people but now it's on a TV screen and that to me is a big deal. I have recently had a response from Ouya which was very positive and Bawb should have just received our game as requested via email so [we’re] excited to see what he thinks of it.
I think it's important that people get behind the Ouya as it brings back the times when gaming was all about playability instead of minor tweaks to a sequel and a ton of extra money spent, I think you will really see innovation on the Ouya as we don't have anyone telling us what we can and can't do.
RGG: Where have all the great top down racers gone!?
Stu: Left back where true gamers lie!
James: I have no idea, but I want them back! Playing a top down racer is completely different to anything else and I think there will always be a place for them. The last great top down driving titles I played were Speedster on PS1 and good old Micro Machines. We have a top down racer in the pipeline too, so watch this space.
RGG: On your YouTube channel there’s video of a work in progress Knight Rider fan-game; is 911 going to be that as a basis at all, or are inspirations entirely separate?
Stu: These are two separate designs, but we hope to get the fans to decide on if our old deigns get to go the whole hog.
James: They are completely different, two things I've always wanted to make: a Knight Rider game that doesn't suck like all the others have, and an arcade racing game based in my home city of Hull; which one day will happen, I've wanted to make it for years. The Knight Rider title was actually me messing around with a handling engine I had created, later after help from another member of the MMF community I came up with the Retrolistic engine which I'm very proud of and hope to bring a title to Ouya that uses it.
RGG: What old school developers do you look up to most/appreciate? Or even VGM composers for the music side?
Stu: The creator of Pac-Man because everyone who’s anyone knows the classic ‘waka waka’!
RGG: Being from Britain, much like I Fight Bears, etc. - do you feel that you encapsulate that classically British "bedroom coder" feel that died off with the prevalence of the post-microcomputer world controlled by Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft?
James: I'd like to think so yeah. We have an idea, we have a chat and we get on it, we aren’t in an office we are just sat down in front on our laptops thinking of stuff that makes us laugh I guess. I'd like to think Ouya will bring a new dawn of the bedroom coder, it certainly looks that way so far.
It's the final lap..... Hang in there!
RGG: Picture the scene: a magical, flute-playing donkey asks you to watch over his sisters’ aunt, who is currently in a spell-induced coma. He pays you sixteen gold bars of chocolate and allows you to take any five retro games with you to kill the time...what five retro games do you take (any system) and why?
Stu: Carmageddon, just because who doesn't like destroying things with an awesome carpac man because it’s one of the most addictive games [I’ve] ever played! Zelda Ocarina of Time, it’s one of the only games that I NEEDED to buy and I bought another N64 just to play my cartridge! Gauntlet, because you can literally lose days of your life away in pure gaming, and Mario Kart; if the aunt woke up and wanted to join in with my gaming experience.
James: Super Mario Kart for the SNES, it's a game I can and still do play now and it's just as good as I remember, handling its brilliant and the music still sticks in my head. Super Mario World for the SNES, everything about this game is perfect, still my favourite platformer, not one bad song and the level design is some of the best I've ever seen. Axelay (SNES), seriously difficult game but so satisfying, great blend of bosses and everything was so fast and smooth, especially have much love for the blatant copy of the Aliens boss. Outrun (Mega Drive), the cheesiness of this is brilliant and was something I really wanted to emulate in Super 911. Need 4 Speed: Hot Pursuit 3, I know it's an EA game but this was when they had innovation; great frame-rate, tons of fun, just a really good solid game, also used to like listening to all the showcase audio about the various cars.
RGG: Are you handsome folk working on any other projects right now, or is it full throttle for 911? When can the next major update be expected?
Stu: There are multiple games on the board but none of them are ready to release but we hope you’ll enjoy some of our other ideas. The next major update can only be estimated with hopefully more levels in the pipe line if everything goes well
James: We are going all out on this but we have some other ideas in the pipeline like Bruce Force which is a low budget action movie star based in several Bruce Willis-esque films oh and let’s not forget our other game called Mega Radioactive Shark (what can I say we both love B-movies)!
RGG: Well, would obviously like to thank you for your time and patience with us here and we sincerely wish you the best because the game looks stupidly fun! Is there anything you'd like to add?
Stu: your questions are quite extensive, pretty much covered all the bases but just like to say glad you got the stupidity in the humour vibe
James: Erm...Yeah are you going to buy a copy? [Olly023: Yes!]
RGG: ...Mario (animal abuser) or Sonic (freedom fighter)? Choose wisely, so far everyone’s lettin' me down...
Stu: Mario: those pesky animals should get outa ma pipes'ah!
James: I’d rather stamp on a turtles back and chuck its shell then fight for freedom. It's Mario for me.
RetroGameGeeks Final Thoughts...
Despite the fact that James had never played either Psycho Fox or Teddy Boy (what the heck, man!?), I do love an obvious patience from anyone with my line of questioning. Props!
Super 911 Response is a game I've been looking forward to since Megatrons_Fury very first made me aware a few months back (prior to writing this article). Being an Ouya owner and early adopter, I'm always up for trying out any new title flung in my direction. Plus, who doesn't love Spyhunter!? It's a classic! The addition of various 80's and retro game references is sure to be a heck of a lot of fun, too.
Having conversed with them now, I can honestly say the guys at Monster Finger Games are obviously a couple of genuinely cool peoples who deserve any support they can muster. So don't forget to check out their social media pages, yo'!
Expect a review of Super 911 Response upon release right here at the Portal and we here at RetroGameGeeks will continue to show support for this two-man operation for as long as they make intriguing titles!
Best of luck, fellas!