My name is Scott. I've been playing video games since my hands were big enough to hold a joystick. I started with the Atari 2600, and graduated to the Atari 800 computer where I taught myself how to program in BASIC. I eventually got a NES, and later a Game Boy. The first summer I ever worked, I was a CIT at the day camp I attended. I worked all summer long to save up enough money to buy the SNES the very day it came out.
I attended college at the University of Pennsylvania. I was introduced to the internet my freshman year in 1993, and I fast became a console pirate, purchasing a copier and downloading ROMs off of IRC channels. Good times. In my senior year, I purchased the N64 as soon as the street date was broken, and skipped classes for the next three days to play Mario 64. I also bought a used PSX the same year.
After I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and a degree in Psychology, I was accepted to Digipen. I was part of the very last class that attended the school in Vancouver, before they moved the campus to Nintendo of America's HQ in Redmond Washington (across the street from Microsoft). After completing the program, I got my very first job as a programmer at Ubisoft.
I lucked out with Ubisoft because they were actually opening a studio near my hometown in NYC, so I actually landed my dream job and got to live on the east coast near my family. I worked on Batman: Vengence. I met a number of cool people, but the only one I still keep in touch with happens to be a buddy of mine who was the lead designer on "Army of Two." He is without a doubt, the greatest game designer I have ever had the privilege of working with.
The studio in NYC didn't pan out for Ubisoft, and they decided to fold the team up to Montreal. After living in Vancouver for a year and a half, I decided I had enough of Canada, so I stayed in the NYC office, which transformed into GameLoft. I stayed there until me and the buddy I mentioned landed a job at 3DO. We both moved out to Redwood City and started working there.
3DO wasn't a great company, but it wasn't terrible, and I met a crew of people who became some of the greatest friends that I have ever had. I worked on Dragon Rage, which was being led by Kudo Tsunoda. He told the execs that it was going to be an Army Men game with an art asset swap, and it would take 6 months to complete. The truth was we were building a new engine from scratch, and it would really take a year to get it done right. When the six months were up, the execs asked for the game, and we weren't even close to finished, so we had to do 12 hours days, 6 days a week until the game was finished. 3 months later, nobody cared about it anymore, and it went straight to the budget bin.
3DO closed down very shortly after. While I was at 3DO, I got to know two people who amazed me: Howard Scott Warshaw and Tod Frye, two of the original Atari 2600 programmers. Getting to meet them and talk with them about "the good old days" at Atari was an amazing thing to me. (I totally recommend visiting Howard's site, Once Upon Atari and ordering his DVD about what those days were like.) I still run in to Howard infrequently at retrogaming conventions and it's always a delight.
After 3DO, I worked for a THQ studio that used to be called (oddly enough) Pacific Coast Power & Light. It's known as Locomotive games today. I was put on the WWE Crush Hour game, the game that was designed to mix the WWE up with Twisted Metal. I created the game's shell and character selection screen. It was actually a pretty cool game, but THQ's love for WWE had cooled down when the game was close to finishing (right after WWF became WWE, the ratings started to tank), so they rushed it and laid off the whole team.
Wishing to return to the east coast, I applied for jobs that I could find there, and actually lucked out with a job opening at Firaxis Games in Hunt Valley, Maryland, home to Sid Meier. When I got there, they were toying with the idea of remaking Pirates, and were prototyping a lot. The results were mixed, and Sid decided to get involved with the development personally. They knew they wanted to make a console version, and they put me on the small team responsible for porting the game to the Xbox. I had doubts about the game, and I wasn't enjoying the tasks I was being given (such as working on the in-game glossary), and things didn't work out. I made a lot of good friends there who I miss working with.
By this time, I had been with four companies in six years, and my girlfriend at the time was in the middle of going to school to get her degree, so I did something drastic: I grew up. I ended up looking for any available programming job, and accepted a position with a UPS owned software company as an algorithm designer. I've been there since 2005, I get paid more money, and work fewer hours than I ever did as a game programmer. But I really miss the creative environment and working with people that I have a lot in common with, i.e. a love and passion for video games.
I am currently own and operate StrategyWiki, which strives to become the best online source of video game guides and walkthroughs anywhere in the world. I am now living in northern Maryland. Welcome to my blog.
Nor would you have, it was a text / point-n-click adventure for the Famicom Disk System that was only released in Japanese. That is until a ROM hacker known as Mute translated the game's Japanese text into English in January of 2003. After playing through it and translating some of the walkthroughs that I could find, it turns out that the game is incredibly short. You can finish it in under half an hour easily. You can take a look at my English guide for the game right here.
As a concept, Suishou no Dragon is interesting. It seems to borrow from a ton of the typical sci-fi anime cliches that exist, and meshes them into some playable storyline. The problem is, this storyline seems to live in the absence of any supporting or background material. You never really learn much about your character, or Cynthia and Nial, the friends that you are attempting to rescue. You have no idea why the old lady doctor is so willing to help you and provide you with free space scooters. The game just sort of drops you in to the middle of someone else's life, tells you what you need to do, and lets you go on your merry way. Perhaps the instruction manual filled in a lot of the back story and the existing relationships, but I'll never know.
So if you get past the whole "I don't know who the hell I am, or why I'm doing this stuff" part and get down to the doing, what you find is your typical point-n-click adventure game, where the pointing and clicking takes the form of an on-screen arrow that you move around with the d-pad. When you need to move to another location, you cycle through all of the available directions and select one. I often don't like point-n-click adventures that have random solutions such as "touch item X that you collected with item Y in the room," because I don't have the patience to sit there and try the 200 different combinations of items that are available. But this game really has very few items and interactive objects on the screen, so it felt "solvable."
Most of the solutions are fairly intuitive, while a few seem like red herrings (the whole monument on the planet of Alias thing with the tablet for example). But really the story is so short and you can pretty much get through the game without a walkthrough except for possibly two or three moments. As far as I know, nothing ever became of this franchise, but it is notorious for one piece of trivia: When the game came out, a popular Japanese gaming mag thought that other mags were stealing their material. So they intentionally placed a bogus article in one issue, about being able to enter a secret code that would let you play strip rock-paper-scissors with the girl illustrated above. They did it just to see if any other magazine would steal this "secret" and print it. Pretty like the whole EGM Sheng Long in Street Fighter II thing (which was an intentional joke on their part,) players were trying like crazy to get a little anime girl to play rock-paper-scissors and take off her clothes. That's the only real lasting legacy that this game ever had.