Yesterday, we had a slightly ‘different’ interview on Gaming Reinvented. Why? Because it was with Shesez about his Boundary Break videos rather than a fan game or ROM hack. What’s more, it was a deliberate choice, since we’re trying to move away from offering mostly fan game and ROM hack interviews.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t offer any fan game interviews at all. And today, we’ve got a new one. This time, with Super Mario Flashback developer Mors!
So what’s Super Mario Flashback? Well, to put it simply, it’s a 2D collectathon Mario platformer that has Mario going through past eras and collecting stars from worlds like 1-1, Donut Plains and Cool Cool Mountain in the process. Think Sonic Generations, except Mario based. And well, entirely 2D instead of partially 3D.
Here’s a trailer for it in case you haven’t heard of the game before:
But enough background details for a moment. Let’s get to the actual interview!
1. Well, let’s start this interview off in the normal way then. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hmm… I don’t really like talking about myself, but I guess I gotta do it.
I’m 18 years old, I’m from Turkey and I’m currently studying game design. That’s really it.
2. How about your interest in the Mario series? What games made you interested in this franchise?
When I was very little I had a Famiclone with a 10000-in-1 cartridge. It didn’t have too many great games, but it had the original Super Mario Bros., and that’s how I learned about Mario. Later I learned about emulators and played the rest of the games, and I loved them. The one I enjoyed most has to be Super Mario 64, I just love that game.
3. And what about fan games? How did you discover MFGG or Mario fan games in general?
When I was about 8 or 9 one of my dad’s friends gave me a program called Game Maker 5.0. Since I was pretty young, I couldn’t really do much with it. I think about a year later I learned about YoyoGames Sandbox and I started to spend most of my time there, downloading games and making bad edits of existing examples. I also came across several Mario fangames there, and some of them were made by a guy called Hello. If I remember correctly one of his games had a link to MFGG. I liked MFGG and decided to submit a fangame I made with one of Hello’s engines. It was pretty terrible, and it got terrible reviews, but I didn’t give up. 2 years later, at 2012, I decided to join the forums and it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I learned a lot about both fangames and general game design and met some great people.
4. So what inspired you to start making Super Mario Flashback?
It was Sonic Generations. One day I thought it would be cool if Mario visited the levels from the other Mario games, and decided to make a little fangame based on that idea. But this fangame wasn’t actually Flashback. Instead, it was a completely different SMB1 styled fangame. But I scrapped it quickly after starting.
A year later, while I was still working on my old fangame Mario & Luigi’s Coin Chaos, I decided to start working on a side project that played like Super Mario 3D World and other 3D Mario games, but in 2D. But the main gameplay twist was going to be the metroidvania elements. I started working on it and made some decent progress, but then I realized it was too hard for me to execute a concept like that right. But instead of scrapping it, I decided to reuse the engine for a different fangame. I decided to give that “Mario Generations” idea another shot, but now with modern Mario. And that’s how Super Mario Flashback was born.
5. In said game, each level seems to be based on one level from each main series Mario platformer. Like 1-1, Donut Plains, Cool Cool Mountain, etc. Why did you choose these levels rather than others from the same games?
I wanted to be sure the game had at least 1 level from each popular Mario level trope, while also having some of the most memorable levels from the original games.
6. What about the star collecting concept? Where did you get the idea to mix Super Mario 64’s missions with the level design of the 2D Mario titles?
Making a 2D fangame with Power Stars was and idea I had for years. But I can’t say I remember how I got that idea.
7. How about the story? Is Bowser involved in this plot? Is there a final boss battle with him at the end?
Maybe… I can’t say more than that. 😉
8. A few people have complained about some missions being a tad hard. Do you plan to tone down any of them for the final game?
When you play something over and over again it becomes harder to tell if what you’re playing is hard or not. It was the same case for me. Since I play tested the third star of Mushroom Kingdom way too much, I became really good at it and I couldn’t tell if the race was hard or not. But after getting some feedback I toned it down a bit. But if it’s still too hard, I can tone it down even more.
9. Moving away from the game’s content for a bit, the art style gets a lot of praise here for how nice and clean the custom graphics look. How did you get all the sprites to look like they’re in one style?
When I first started developing Flashback, MFGG was full of SMA4 styled games and most people were sick of the style. So I wanted to make the game more unique than other Mario fangames, and started using Mit’s Super Mario Big Five-Oh oh style and the sprites he made in that style. When the fangame got bigger I realized I couldn’t sprite everything I need alone, so I decided to get some spriters such as Neweegee, Cruise Elroy, and Q-Nova. Without them, the game wouldn’t look as good and consistent as now.
10. Is the style of the game trying to look like it’s from a certain generation? Like say, as if it’s a GBA game, or late SNES game, or DS game with sprite graphics?
At first, I was aiming for GBA level of graphics with a higher resolution, but later I decided to not limiting myself with trying to fit a console’s style.
11. What’s in Extras? It just says it’s not available yet, so does that mean it’s going to be something interesting in the finished game?
It will have some extra DLC levels after the game’s release. These levels won’t have new art of music, but just new level designs. I’m planning to ask other fangame devs to make DLC levels too, kinda like what VVVVV did.
12. You can also seemingly send a tweet after finishing any mission. Is that part of a new strategy to promote the game on social media?
I did that once recently, but believe or not that was just an accident. Before that, I only tweeted my score to showcase the tweeting feature.
13. How about the ‘lab’ in this game? The pause screen has a disabled option to ‘return to the lab’. Does this mean E Gadd is in the game?
Yep. That’s the hub world of the game, and E. Gadd has a very big role in the game. But I don’t wanna give more spoilers.
14. I also noticed while playing that the new demo is very different from the old one in terms of levels, with the last one in Yoshi’s Island being completely changed. Was this in response to feedback that it was a bit confusing?
It got some negative feedback but that’s not the reason I changed it. I simply thought it wasn’t good enough.
15. And what happened to online mode? That’s in the MFGG demo, but not the SAGE one. Did you change your mind about it?
At first, I was planning to make Luigi and Toad available from the start in the online mode, but later I decided to make them only playable for those who unlock them. To do that I had to make it only accessible from E. Gadd’s Lab. Since the lab is not finished yet there’s no way to see it for now.
16. Yeah, I know this is probably getting silly now, but what’s with the ‘Tusk Buck’ stuff here? Will the game feature Microtransactions?
Tusk Buck is a type of currency that can be shared between several different fangames. It’s based on an April 1st joke on MFGG and it was supposed to be used in several different fangames. I’m saying supposed to be because I haven’t heard much from the other fangames that were going to use Tusk Bucks.
17. Moving on from features and changes, what was it like having your game shown at a Sonic fan game convention? Cause it seems like Flashback was one of the few Mario related games shown there overall. How much did the SAGE viewers like it?
People liked it much more than I expected, but I also think it was a bit overlooked. That’s expected, though, you can’t force every Sonic fan to play a Mario game right?
18. Over the years, you’ve submitted quite a few games to Mario Fan Games Galaxy, with the later ones getting much better reviews than the first. What interesting things did you learn about game design and development during each of these projects?
I learned about the importance of planning. I used to just make games without thinking about the concept properly and come up with core gameplay ideas at the middle of the development. It seems like that doesn’t work at all.
19. And talking of progress and getting better, what are your plans for after Super Mario Flashback? Do you have any plans for even better games? Are you interested in fan games for different franchises? What about indie titles?
After finishing Flashback I’m planning to stop making fangames and start making indie games. Well, I actually already started working on one. It’s still very early in the development, but designing the core gameplay elements and the main character design is pretty much done. But of course, I’m not alone on this project. Character design, story and most of the graphics will be done by my friend Cake, and just like in Flashback Can of Nothing will compose all (or maybe most of the) music.
Other than that, I’ve always wanted to make a Sonic fangame, but I just can’t get any good ideas that can make it more unique than other Sonic fangames out there.
20. Finally, as a game developer, what advice would you give someone else wanting to try making their own fan game (or heck, just any game in general)?
I’m not an expert when it comes to giving advice, but please don’t rely on premade engines too much if you’re new to fangame development. When people do that, the result is usually a very typical fangame that has nothing makes it stand out. Instead, make your own engine or try to change things in the engine you’re using. Give people a reason to play your fangame.
And that’s advice everyone should follow, regardless of whether they’re making a fan game, indie game or setting up a non game related startup in general. Do something new and interesting, not just what everyone else is offering.
So that concludes our interview. Did you like it? Did you find out anything interesting about Super Mario Flashback after reading it? If so, post your thoughts here or on social media today.
You can also find out more about the game on Mors’ social media channels here:
For the last six months or so, Shesez has been making some very interesting video game videos. Focused on secrets not normally seen by the player and covering everything from Smash Bros Brawl to Resident Evil 4, these videos have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. They’ve been on the Nintendo subreddit, mentioned here on Gaming Reinvented, posted on GoNintendo… heck, they’re so well liked that it’s gotten Shesez’s channel from 150 to over 9000 subscribers in half a year! Talk about an insane popularity boost!
And now, we’ve got an exclusive interview with him. So sit back, relax and see how those interesting Boundary Break videos originally came to be!
1. So, let’s start out as usual here. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Who is Shesez when he’s at home anyway?
Shesez is my online persona. In real life at home I go by the name Derrek who absolutely loves video games more than any other hobby.
2. And what’s the whole ‘Pencake and Wuffle’ thing about? Cause I remember your channel originally being a shared YouTube channel or something…
It all started when I told my then girlfriend at the time that I was planning to entertain on YouTube. That I had strongly defined opinions and knowledge about video games and I wanted an outlet to share them.
She then suggested we do a “boyfriend Girlfriend” channel. Which I was very interested in given that I didn’t see many channels like that back then.
Above: An example of what used to be on Shesez’s channel
However, the my goals and drive were stifled by creative differences. And when we had finally broken up, I changed the password, changed the name, and changed the identity. At that time I believe we only had 150 people subscribed which i thought was enormous and didn’t want to abandon hahahaha.
3. Either way, your channel became much more well known after the first Boundary Break episode was posted. How did you feel knowing you’d stumbled onto a successful formula for a series?
I felt I found a purpose for sharing videos to the gaming community. People we’re coming to see my videos because I offered something we’ve all wanted to see before. And I felt very thankful and privileged to be the one to deliver that content.
4. Some general Boundary Break questions now. Out of all the games you’ve covered, which were the most interesting to look at and why?
Melee definitely had the best content. Seeing “SMASH BROS” hidden all over the menus and how some of the stages worked, was incredibly interesting. It was that sort of detail you hope to find that for some reason we were never able to see.
5. How about the least interesting? The ones without anything too unusual outside of the typical camera view?
The Mario Kart episode was a real challenge. But by far the hardest to produce new and interesting content for was Pikmin. I combined two games, showed all beta areas, showed some fairly uninteresting content just to pad out a moderately sized episode.
6. Did you ever scrap an episode because it wasn’t working? Like, where the developers didn’t put anything interesting in the game (that you couldn’t see normally)?
I have! Pokepark Wii was the first example of this. There was just NOTHING going on with that game.
7. I also remember you saying Wii U hacking wasn’t quite there for a Boundary Break episode yet. Did that ever get fixed? Is there now a better free camera mod for Super Smash Bros for Wii U?
As far as i know there haven’t been any developments. I have tried commissioning modders but there doesn’t seem to be an interest there.
I think I just have to luck out and make a fan out of a very intelligent programmer hahahaha!
Where Zelda remakes are concerned, Nintendo doesn’t seem to like reimagining 2D games as 3D ones. Yeah, you might get a upgraded port that fixes a few features for a new system (like Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask on 3DS). Or you might get a HD reimagining of a game from a few generations ago (like Wind Waker and Twilight Princess on Wii U).
But it’s very rare you’ll see a classic Zelda game changed into a 3D one, or a 3D one made 2D.
That’s not Nintendo’s style.
But that doesn’t stop the fans though! Oh no, while Nintendo might not be interested in remaking Link’s Awakening, ROM hacker Ty Anderson certainly is, with his fantastic looking Link’s Awakening 64 project:
So let’s see what the story is here, shall we? Let’s find out more about Link’s Awakening 64 and the people who worked on it with our Ty Anderson interview!
First up, let’s find out a bit more about the game’s creator Ty Anderson. Who are you as a person, outside of ROM hacking and creating this game? What’s your background here?
Outside ROM hacking, I am a simple, laid back man. I am 23, I love Reggae music and long days out walking in the mountains and hillside where I live, just being in being in nature really.
In fact, it is moments sat on my own in woodland on a hillside, looking at the world that heavily inspired the landscape styles of my ROM hack/Patch. I am a student at university Studying mathematics and Physics, and I work as a carer for the elderly and mentally ill. I hope someday to find myself more permanent employment within the games industry, but for now it’s just love and passion for old school gaming that seems to keep me up each night working obsessively on Link’s Awakening 64.
And how about your experience with the Zelda series itself? What got you interested in these games?
I’m an N64 generation of gamer. My fascination with the Legend of Zelda series started with the Ocarina of Time, then blossomed with Majora’s Mask. I remember playing these games as a kid, becoming infatuated with exploring this amazing and imaginative world where all these different creatures and beings resided. As a child I used to make up adventures that Link would have, whilst playing with little paper cut-outs and drawings I would make. For me personally, the Legend of Zelda series has always been a place of sanctuary and creativity.
What’s the deal with Link’s Awakening? Is that one of your favourite Zelda games in general?
Link’s Awakening was the first 2D Zelda game I ever played, and always felt like a really underappreciated title. It was also the Zelda title released immediately before Ocarina of Time.
Another reason is that it was set in a dream, which has allowed me to have greater creative freedom as it would not interfere with Zelda historia or preceding events within other Zelda titles.
Finally, the manga version of Link’s Awakening had a very in depth and completely untouched storyline that wasn’t really covered in the Game Boy version and I wanted to take a lot of inspiration from this – really delve into this whole dynamic, and yet incredibly dark, love story between Link and Marin.
The Link’s Awakening manga was an influence on Link’s Awakening 64
Onto the game itself now. Why did you decide to remake Link’s Awakening anyway?
We had all felt very denied after the cancellation of Zethn64’s URA Zelda project, which was for many such as myself a last hope of rekindling a forgotten nostalgia from a Nintendo 64 era of Zelda games. I wanted to give back to everyone and hope that we could all feel like children again, staying up way past our bedtimes exploring all the little secrets the old n64 game had to offer.
And why in the form of an Ocarina of Time mod? Why not say, a fan game or 2D Zelda ROM hack?
As I said before, the N64 era of Zelda-gaming was the most iconic, in my humble opinion. An Ocarina of Time mod was my attempt to deliver on a broken promise from the URA Zelda restoration project.
Did the URA Zelda Restoration Project influence you here? Because your Facebook page still mentions URA Zelda in the URL…
Absolutely. Originally this started as a similar URA Zelda project, as I just wanted to make some temples, just a small expansion. Then, my child-like imagination ran wild and I wanted to conquer something far greater.
On a technical level, is it difficult to remake Koholint Island in Ocarina of Time’s engine? Because it seems like the 2D Zelda games have much larger and more open worlds than the 3D ones do…
Hacking an N64 ROM and forcing it to behave as though it is a games engine is a very inexact science, and inherently very difficult. Most of my time I spend studying and taking a reductionist view of the ROM itself, trying to break down its inner mechanisms in order to exploit them. But with passion, perseverance and a little bit of luck, I have been extremely successful and finally have all the knowledge and skill required to make an entire game within the Ocarina of Time ROM as though it were a games engine and not a compiled and finished product.
How about the dungeons? Are you planning to remake the likes of Eagle’s Tower or Turtle Rock in this game? Are level mechanics like knocking down one of the tower’s floors going to be recreated here?
I intend to have a combination of original dungeons as well as dungeons inspired by the Game Boy game. For you see, I don’t want people to play my game already knowing how to complete it having played the original title. I don’t want to deny a single person that fresh new experience we all love from a new Zelda game. As far as mechanics go, we will have to see.
There are also a lot of interesting enemies found in Link’s Awakening. Do all of these appear in this remake?
As many as possible, as well as some of my own personal creations thrown in the mix.
What about the bosses? They seem like they could be fairly difficult to recreate in 3D…
Absolutely. The bosses are going to be one of the most difficult portions of the ROM hack as I am, of course, extremely limited by the original boundaries of Ocarina of Time. However, I have made the models for a few of the bosses already and am working diligently on their animations.
But this will be the very final step, I am working on building the world first and developing the story is my first priority, then will come the temples and all the mind boggling puzzles, and then finally the bosses.
When it comes to Super Mario 64 ROM hacking, pretty much everyone knows Kaze Emanuar (or Kazeshin as he’s known on SMW Central). Responsible for ASM hacks involving everything from a rideable Yoshi to a Fire Flower power up and the sole creator of Super Mario 64 Last Impact, he’s seen as one of the most accomplished modders in the entire community.
And now, he’s discussing his works with us on Gaming Reinvented! So here it is, our exclusive interview with Super Mario 64 ROM hack Kaze Emanuar!
1. So, a quick personal question to start off. Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m a math student in Germany, have been hacking Mario 64 for 4 years, no prior experience in programming.
2. How about Mario 64 ROM hacks now? How did you get interested in those?
I first got interested when I saw star road. It was pretty cool to see that people made custom levels in SM64 and since I always liked inventing games I thought it’d be fun.
3. Back to your first hack now. What was it like developing Organ of Matrias?
My first hack is actually called “sm64: madness”. it was more like a playground for testing what the tools can do. it was a full hack with 122 stars that I’ve finished within 2 weeks and it really tells from the games design. It’s awful, don’t play it.
4. Another thing you seem to have a lot of experience with is ASM programming, with a lot of your hacks featuring a lot of custom gimmicks and game mechanics. How did you get interested in that side of Mario hacking?
I wanted the freedom to do whatever is in my mind and when I found some old documents from the people that first started rom hacking, I decided to look into it myself.
5. And were there any other hacks that inspired your work?
As I said before, Star Road first got me into hacking, but that game was more like a message “this stuff can be done” rather than something that inspires my hacks.
6. Onto Last Impact now. What was the inspiration behind that title?
The title is related to the story of the game.
7. According to what I’ve read, this game is going to have unique boss fights, which are a rarity in Mario 64 mods. Can you tell us a bit about any of them?
There are about 10 custom boss fights, there’s one that I’ve shown at a charity marathon before, so I can tell a bit about that.
It happens in the old ruins of an ancient culture that had a flying snake as their god. So after you’ve gone and inspected the ruins, the snake goddess appears and wants to throw you out. you fight the flying snake by getting on her back with the FLUDD power up. her body is build out of many segments (kinda like the Sonic Adventure lost world snake) that can be stomped out.
8. What about FLUDD? What made you decide to put that as a power up in Last Impact?
Whenever i cant think of any more stars to fit into a level theme I try to find a power up that would fit well into that level and that offers new possibilities for missions.
FLUDD fits quite well into an early level, because it makes everything so easy and because i could think of many fitting missions, so that was the perfect chance for that power up.
9. From the enemies and videos shown, it seems like a fair bit of the game was inspired by Super Mario Galaxy. Do you have a lot of memories regarding that game and its sequel?
I actually barely remember SMG and SMG2, played them 10 years ago. if you look at my spring Mario for example, my memory of that power up was way off.
10. What’s your favourite level in the hack so far? Why?
Hard to pick a favourite child
11. And are there any aspects you couldn’t get working/decided to cut out?
Nope, with ASM, you can do whatever you want. Though there are some things I’ve cut out, because I noticed casuals couldn’t beat them or that they were not fun enough.
12. What about difficulty? Because the wiki page and topic for Last Impact says it’ll have a reasonable difficulty level, so how did you balance that out? Cause a lot of ROM hacks do tend to be way too hard…
I’ve had casuals come over to my house and play the game, I observed where they had difficulties and then balanced those out by putting extra coins, making jumps easier or moving enemies.
13. Let’s talk a bit about Super Mario Run 64 now. Did you really make the whole game in just 3 hours?
Yes, the whole thing took 3 hours, though it should be noted that the music and many of the decorations were available online. I’ve only had to do the coding and the level itself.
14. How hard was it to make? Was it easy making Mario run automatically and limiting movement to a 2D plane?
Yeah those are low level ASM hacks.
15. So as you can probably tell, the game kind of blew up online. Did you expect so many people to play it? Or for news sites like GoNintendo to cover the title?
The video has 50k views, wouldn’t call that “blowing up”, but yeah it was in the realm of my expectations.
I was a little surprised by how many news sites covered it though, didnt think people would find it that interesting.
16. You also made a mod where every texture was replaced with Toad’s face. What was the thought process there? Boredom? A message about Paper Mario Color Splash?
No, I’ve only made that hack because some of my subscribers were upset about me making the Super Mario Run mod instead of giving my undivided attention to Last Impact, it was basically a “fuck off I do what I want” message to those who wanted to make me their slave.
17. In a recent video, you posted a list of ideas for games to follow Last Impact (like a Mario 64 DS remake and a game where Mario has to defeat Donald Trump). Which of those do you think would be most fun for you to make?
The Legend of Super Mario would be most fun. you could unlock characters to go new paths, collect badges that help you solve puzzles, unlock item boxes for unique interactions and have a huge story around the gamework.
18. Another thing that’s happening a bit more recently are DMCA notices for fan games. Do you ever worry about Nintendo going after your own works?
Not at all, if they ever do, I’ll just upload a patch instead of a rom and they are screwed.
19. How about the whole Jason Allen thing? That name seems to stopped being used for takedowns at the moment. Do you think your video might have stopped the troll in his tracks?
Maybe he noticed that people noticed and didnt want any more trouble… I’m not sure.
20. And on a more general note, what do you expect to see in the world of Super Mario 64 hacking in the foreseeable future? Any interesting technological breakthroughs around the corner?
No, SM64 hacking hasn’t evolved in the last 3 years apart from my animation converter and the tool that Jedi started but never finished, that I now use to vertex colour. There is no one left that actually hacks the game after I leave, so its gonna be a while until something new happens, unless someone who is already experienced joins in. but even then, we basically have everything already, other hackers just need to start using it.
21. Any hacks you’re looking forward to personally? Any other promising Mario 64 hacks you’re watching over at SMW Central?
SS3 looks interesting, SM64: Blast Off looks interesting and SM64: Missing Memories (if the last 2 ever get finished)
22. And while you’ve mostly made Mario 64 hacks for the last few years or so, have you ever considered making one for another game? Like Super Mario World, or New Super Mario Bros Wii, or Super Mario 64 DS?
I wont hack any of those horrible games
23. How about a fan game or indie game on a different engine?
I only do ASM coding and its really inefficient to do that for PC games, because it wouldn’t run on most computers.
24. Depressing I know, but do you ever plan to stop making Mario 64 hacks?
It’ll probably be my hobby as a creative outlet for a while, but I’ll definitely stop spending my life on it after Last Impact.
25. But let’s end this on a positive note, shall we? What advice would you give anyone who wants to start hacking Super Mario 64?
Watch my tutorials and try to understand them, Don’t just start using tools without learning about them.
And that concludes another interview! It’s was an interesting look at the world of Super Mario 64 hacking for sure, though it also made me a bit depressed about the state it’s in at the moment, especially the points about technology not really moving on much outside of Kaze’s work.
But what do you think about the interview? Was it enjoyable to read? Do you need anything else clarified? Because if so, head on over to the Gaming Reinvented forums or comment about it on social media today!
Well, it’s been a while hasn’t it? The last developer interview on Gaming Reinvented was the one with Jay Pavlina, and that was all the way back in May! Oh how the months fly by!
But let’s back get to interviews shall we? So first up, an interview with a Mario Fan Games Galaxy creator known as Chaoxys.
Chaoxys, in case you don’t know, is the artist and co-creator of a game called Super Mario Bros & the Midas Machine. Sound familiar? Of course it does, since we interviewed the other developer a while back (look up our interview with Guinea for that one).
Either way, here’s our interview with him about the game, Mario Fan Games Galaxy and life in general…
1. So, one to start. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Aw, now I’m not one to talk about myself. Actually, I’m not sure there’s much to say on that. I like to play video games, cook, sprite, and sketch. I also enjoy listening to various video game remixes (generally while I’m spriting).
2. And how did you start playing Mario games? What generation do you start with?
I’ve actually been playing video games since I was only two years old. My sister used to babysit me when I was young, and we’d play SMB3, SMB, Duck Hunt, Doctor Mario, and Pinball on the original NES. She and I would often try to beat SMB3 on the two player mode, and we’d always lose at the door maze in the last world.
Dark Land was brutal in Super Mario Bros 3
3. Fan game stuff now. How do you learn about Mario fan games in general?
It was actually through a friend of mine when I was in Middle School (back in the summer of 2006 actually, not sure how I remember that). He proposed the idea to me to make our own Mario game. At the time, I was like “WHAAAAAT? You can MAKE you own Mario games? What is this witchcraft?”.
4. How did you learn about Mario Fan Games Galaxy? What’s your history on the site?
This answer sort of piggybacks off of my last one. My friend knew that I couldn’t program worth a spit in the dirt, so he suggested I try my hand at making the graphics, both making, and finding ripped ones (this is also how I got into spriting in general). Well, one short Google search later for some Shy Guy sprites, and I ended up on a little site called MFGG.
5. How did you get involved with Midas Machine? Did you just decide to join when it was a collab? Were you invited by anyone specifically?
I think I jumped on board early on, and at the time, I think I was mainly tossing ideas into the mix as I wasn’t confident in my spriting abilities. Well, it was around that time that I won one of the MFGG sprite comps, and that little boost in my moral prompted me to take a shot at making a sprite sheet for Midas Machine. My first sprite for it was actually a Buzzy Beetle. Heh, I remember getting really frustrated with it, to the point that I almost gave up, because I couldn’t get the shell spin animation right.
6. And what inspired your graphics style in this game? It certainly looks very colourful, a bit like a GBA era game…
The style is mainly inspired from the original style, just enhanced. My goal with the graphics was to capture the character’s design clearly, while making sure they keep their bright and cartoony style that the Mario series is known for. I will say, part of my inspiration was the original SMB3, but in an odd way. When I was little, I would sometime just look at the game without actually playing, and I’d focus on all the enemies, and Mario, and everything else, because I just loved their designs. There was so much thought and care put into them. In the end, I wanted players to simply be able to enjoy looking at the graphics in the same manner.
An impressive looking bonus room in Chaoxys’ style
The ship is impressive too. Same with the captain.
7. Did anything get added to the game specifically because you drew graphics for it? Or were the mechanics/technical side implemented first?
Pffff, hahaha… Ooooooh yeah, a LOT, much to Guinea’s dismay. I seriously have a lot of respect for Guinea for putting up with me for this. Basically, for the longest time, I’d just sprite new enemies and objects, then send them to Guinea and be like “Hey Guinea, lets add this enemy into the game”, or “What do you think of having a level themed to this gimmick?”, but I have stopped doing that since then (for the most part). But yeah, a lot of elements in the game started from me just spriting something, however a lot of other ones were planned out first, usually the bosses.
8. Midas Machine uses quite a few visuals reminiscent of the Wario Land series, like the casino level. Were you specifically inspired by those games?
I took inspiration from all over, but Wario Land was a really big one. Anyone who played one of the earlier demo’s that included most of world 3 probably noticed a level with a strong SML2 vibe. But yeah, there are clear nods to all sorts of series throughout the game, as well as some original things.
A level here takes a lot of inspiration from Mario Land 2
9. Level design stuff now. What inspired the level design in Midas Machine?
Sigh… This is the part I’m not super proud of. Truth be told, Midas Machine is the first time I’ve designed levels. Granted, I think I’ve improved since the start (some of the levels I originally made and have since replaced were terrible). Oh, I guess that didn’t really answer the question, did it? Lets see, as far as inspiration goes… I don’t really have any to be honest, I try to pick a gimmick for a level, then I’ll think of how I can use it in different ways. I will admit, I’ve gotten lots of ideas for how to use enemies and objects in unique ways by watching raocow’s videos on Youtube (mainly his MaGL (Make a Good Level) videos).
10. What was the logic behind the game’s bosses? I recall a skeleton fish and a weird forest imp creature, so what’s their deal?
There’s two types of bosses in the game. I’d call them “Opportunity” types, and “Pattern” types. Opportunity bosses have a large medley of attacks that they will use at random, and the player can counter whenever they are able. Pattern bosses on the other hand will generally do a planned attack/series of attacks, then leave themselves open for a counter attack, in true Mario fashion.
Midas Machine’s bosses in an early demo