Have you ever wondered what your favorite developers were like when they were kids? What games they played? What they had to do to play them?
It’s been a busy year for Twisted Pixel, to say the least. With three games in development, it’s impressive that Ms. Splosion Man got made at all -- not to mention it’s pretty okay. Perhaps, super okay?
Despite being hard at work on the company’s first boxed retail release (The Gunstringer), lead programmer Mike Henry, 2D artist/community manager Jay Stuckwisch and audio designer/”The donut song guy” Matt ‘Chainsaw’ Chaney were willing to sit down and allow me to pry into their childhood.
Mike Henry: I was a complete nerd, not much different than now actually. In addition to the NES, I had an Apple IIe growing up and I played a lot of games on that. As few places as there were to buy NES games, there were no places to buy Apple 2e games. You had to drive a good hour to get to a store. It was basically whatever I could pirate from a friend at school who had a cousin who had a uncle that had access to whatever. Once I ran out of those, I started programming them around 8 years old. That’s kind of how I got started programming.
Chainsaw: I still have my copy of [the original] Zelda and a map I drew of the final castle that shows how to get from the front door to the, uh, silver arrow? Then to the blue ring and finally to Ganon. “Bomb wall left, move up.” I actually mowed yards to buy that game. I was so excited. My parents brought me to Walmart to pick it up. When I got home, my dad was residing the backyard and he told me I couldn’t play until I picked up all the big rocks. I was so pissed off!
While I was saving up money for Zelda, I mowed this lady’s yard one day but she only paid me in prunes and a kitten. I was so mad. My parents wouldn’t even let me keep the kitten.
Mike: The first game I can ever remember being aware of the release date for was probably Super Mario Bros. 3. I remember I talked about that game so much before it came out. The game was sold out in stores for weeks after it came out, but my mom just happened to be in a Walmart or something the day it was released.
They were unpacking boxes of them and my mom was like, “Oh, hey! Can I have one of those?” I don’t think, to this day, that she understands the magnitude of what she did for me there. I would have been sitting and waiting for weeks with tears in my eyes.
Chainsaw: My parents got me an NES for Christmas and my grandparents got me Fester’s Quest and Marble Madness, which is an insanely challenging game for a kid. Fester’s Quest is just a really confusing game.
Chainsaw: I remember griefing the hell out of my brother in Super Mario Bros. because if you were playing as Luigi and the other player pauses the game in the middle of a jump and unpauses you don’t carry your momentum. You just fall straight down. If he was doing really well, I’d be like, “I’m tired of this. I want to play again.” He’d jump over a gap and then I'd pause.
What game do you wish you were a part of?
Winner: Super Nintendo
Winner: Mortal Kombat
Winner: Duke Nukem 3D
Winner: Earthworm Jim
Winner: Kriss Kross: Make My Video
Hey, Destructoid gang! Surprised by any of the answers? Will you stop buying Twisted Pixel games because they are Nintendo lovin', Marky Mark-obsessed Earthworm Jim fanboys? Or, will you buy more?
What developers would you like to see in the spotlight, in future editions of Retrogazing? Any questions you wish I asked Twisted Pixel? I'd love to hear your feedback, so post in the comments!
Retrogazing will be back next week, where I talk to Karakasa Games about obscure PC adventure games.
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