In the world of video game remixers, everyone has their own style. There are plain old remixers who come up with their own take on a popular song. There are people who try and orchestrate old school tunes to make them sound like something from a modern game or movie.
And then there are people who try and recreate songs in the style of another era. Like redoing Mario & Luigi songs with Pokémon soundfonts or seeing what modern Mario game themes would sound like on the SNES.
Loeder is one of the latter. Known for remaking video game songs with NES style soundfonts in an eight bit style, he’s gained a bit of fame in recent years for his takes on the soundtracks for titles like Paper Mario Color Splash and the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild.
Yet we don’t actually know about him as a person. Who’s behind the YouTube channel? What are his inspirations? Where do his choices for songs to cover come from?
We don’t know.
Until now that is! Because we’ve managed to get an exclusive interview about him focusing on his life, YouTube channel and career. So if you’ve interested in knowing who this mystery video game music creator is, or how he gotten into the whole eight bit covers thing, keep reading!
So hey, you know the drill here. What’s your backstory anyway? Who is the person behind the Loeder ‘brand’ so to speak?
I’m just an 18-year old student from Holland, really. Not much backstory here!
And for that matter, how did you get into video games?
I think my first video game was Wario Land 3 for the Gameboy Color, which I got to play at a cousin’s house. I don’t think I got very far but I ended up loving it and getting myself a Gameboy Advance later.
How about favourite games? Are there titles you really like?
My favourite game is Mario Kart 8! I’m not a competitive gamer at all so getting hit by 10 items in a row just makes me laugh (whereas a lot of people start raging), which is why I think I enjoy it so much. I also exclusively use motion controls.
What about video game soundtracks you think are absolutely amazing? What are your favourites there?
I think I love video game soundtracks because they can’t rely on lyrics to make a song, so they are way more melodic than the music you hear on radio etc. My favourite soundtracks are from Zelda: Skyward Sword and Metal Slug! I also really love the music for a little game called F1-Race for the Gameboy, which is probably what got me into chiptune music.
Or on the other end of the spectrum, ones you’re not so fond of? Any video game soundtracks you feel are outright terrible, or even just somewhat disappointing for their series?
I don’t think there are many popular games with a terrible soundtrack, but I do hate it when music sounds way too happy or generic. A good example would be the music for the Dinosaur world in Super Mario Odyssey, it reminds me of the music you hear in theme parks which I don’t like very much.
He’s been remixing music for years. He’s redone the Wario Land 4 soundtrack. And with experiences in everything from video game Let’s Plays to livestreams and tournaments, he’s turned his a channel into a mini success with thousands of fans.
But until now, few people know much about the guy behind the YouTube channel. Who is Jack? Where did the idea for Blue as a character come from? Why did he choose the songs he did to remix?
We find out this (and much more) in our exclusive new interview with BlueJackG! Hope you enjoy it!
1. So let’s start with the obvious one here. Who are you? What is your personal story here?
Who? Jack or Blue? Hahaha! Seriously, I’m just a guy who happens to play video games and admire them for all details they have. Some don’t realize how beautiful games can actually be! I came from a place where making friends wasn’t easy, and getting bullied too. Sounds cliché, right? Well, I wouldn’t be here if these wonderful games weren’t there after school! My Game Boy was my best friend, to the point that I wondered what these 8-bit tunes would sound like with real instruments! My life isn’t really too interesting, although I can say I have a strong imagination, something I was praised a lot, and still am!
2. And how about that of your character? It’s not often that a YouTube channel about video game remixes has a mascot…
Oh, Blue? She just crashed here, back in 2008! When I created the channel, I needed a brand, and I wanted to create an identity; something unique that would work as my own. When I created the channel called “BlueJackG”, I thought maybe a pair of contrasting characters would be fun! Based on Rhythm Heaven and WarioWare styles, I created the first designs of Blue, which became quite popular at the time! I also based her personality on some good friends of mine, and at the end, she became almost my opposite, contrasting with myself. That’s also why I picture myself wearing red colors, by the way! I know there’s so much potential there, but I don’t really have the skills to give both Blue and Jack their own show.
3. Either way, what’s your history with gaming? What game did you originally start with all those years ago?
Let’s see… I got my first console way back, not sure exactly when, but I remember it was a clunky old Game Boy, that came with Tetris. My parents got me Super Mario Land with it, and those were my first steps in gaming. I also got a Super Nintendo, where I could play Super Mario Kart, Aladdin, the Lion King and, my favorites, the Donkey Kong Country trilogy.
It wasn’t until later that I got the chance to play Super Mario Land 2, the game that made be a fan of Wario! You don’t even realize how shocked I was when I then got my copy of Wario Land; I thought I was dreaming! I wasn’t a huge gamer back then, and what my parents would get me, is what I would play, so it’s not like I could decide what I wanted or had any way to choose. Although I am still sad that I haven’t had the chance to get a N64, since, at the time, I got a Playstation One instead.
I wasn’t sad, but I can say now that I didn’t grow with Super Mario 64, but instead, with Crash Bandicoot. What would I have become if I actually got the Nintendo 64 instead, I wonder….
4. Moving on YouTube stuff now. How do you pick songs to remix anyway?
The music selection comes from anywhere, really. Sometimes I pick a game that pops up in my mind, other times I follow requests and suggestions, and sometimes they’re just related to what I play on the channel, to accompany the series. The idea is to create that nostalgia “slap”, whenever I upload a new remix, trying to stay as close as I can to the original composition. Also, I always try to keep it retro, just to create that effect on people and also because remixing or remastering a track from older games makes it sound more unique.
5. You also seem to be a pretty big fan of the Wario series, based on the amount of remixes from the series. What got you interested in those games as well?
Childhood… I grew up with the greedy man, and I am glad I did, being offered one of the most wonderful and well designed franchises of all time. Wario always intrigued me, as a character: being a goofy looking super strong but super fat and greedy character, collecting riches and bashing through enemies like butter. Also, like I said, the games are wonderfully crafted, offering fantastic controls on some creative level design, all of it coated with great and memorable scenarios, beautiful graphics and music, and a really simplistic story.
Oh, that project was, actually, a challenge from the Wario Forums, if I remember correctly. I remade one of the tracks and someone challenged me to do the whole soundtrack, so I did, I worked on it night and day and uploaded daily, fixing details each track. I’m not really done with it, but I don’t know when I’m going to finish! Not much left, though. This project was also a dream of mine to see the Wario Land 4 soundtrack be remastered in HD format, hopefully we can see a remake of the Wario Land series soon(?)
You know, when that sort of thing happens, it’s really nice to know we’re not alone in wanting to have the soundtrack remastered! If I remember correctly, that was yet another project to use the soundfont from the WarioWare games to make the soundtrack sound like as if it was made for the Gamecube, and that sounded so great! When fans unite, we can do great things!
When it comes to indie games in development, some are more well known than others.
On the one hand, you have stuff like Shovel Knight, Shantae and the various Kickstarter disasters that have been released in the last year or two. These games are heavily promoted, have lots of articles written about them and usually end up with a decent amount of information about them online. They have hype behind them.
Paper Soul Theatre is not like this. Instead, some may almost consider it the exact opposite. Why? Because despite it being announced a while back and advertised on Paper Mario fan forums, almost no one knows much about the game itself. The game is like some sort of strange enigma. A phantom game we know exists, but know nothing about.
Until now. Because thanks to a bit of careful persuation, we’ve now managed to get a full interivew about the title courtesy of the folks at Otyugra Games. This includes real concept art, details on the story and mechanics and a ton more besides!
So if you’re interested in the game and wish to know exactly what it is, keep reading. Because this is one hell of an interesting game…
Let’s start with the personal stuff first, just to get it out the way. Who are you? Who is on the team at Otyugra Games?
My name is Matthew Kordon –thank you for interviewing me. Game development has been a hobby of mine for about seven years, and is now transitioning into an occupation. I became interested in game design as a kid when I discovered Super Mario Flash, a browser level editor that had a big community around it in its heyday.
Since then, I’ve worked to become a writer and music composer. I’ve also been drawing my whole life, and as a college student, I’m majoring in computer science.
Okay, sounds good. Anyone else working on the game? Because your site mentions a team…
Otyugra Games as a group of people has changed in size aggressively and repeatedly since the start, but momentarily, the people who help on the team are all what I would call Directors of Game Design who are mostly game writers secondarily.
Including me, there are 4 members.
Right then. Moving on a bit now, how did you first get interested in video games?
My first experience with video games was a 2003 leapfrog edutainment handheld system when I was about 7-years-old. I immediately fell in love with gaming and soon after, I began to play early 2000s kid-friendly computer games and got a Game Boy Advance. My first interaction with the Paper Mario series was in 2007 when Super Paper Mario came out, which was also my second experience with RPGs, the Pokémon series being the first.
Ed: Huh, that’s pretty interesting. Didn’t expect your first Paper Mario game to be Super Paper Mario…
Oddly enough, Super Paper Mario was the game that made me appreciate what videogames are capable of, but it wasn’t until I played TTYD a few years later that I wanted to make a game inspired by the original trilogy. Yeah, for a Nintendo game, Super Paper Mario had an arguably-surreal and very complex story with mature moments, which was a cut above the kind of stories I was used to at the time.
Yeah, it certainly had a unique story for a Nintendo game. Quick question on game development now though. Did you make any games before Paper Soul Theatre?
You betcha. I’m head Game Director, so naturally I’ve had practice. One of my early games is an unfinished point-and-click sci-fi game that was going to deal with the ethics of business on a galactic scale. What’s cool about that game, Everlasting Night, is that it was the inspiration for the 3 RPG classes that you choose between at the start of Paper Soul Theater. As stated before, the class you choose helps determine Aponi’s personality and dialogue options.
Additionally, I made a game called Meat Quest, which is like a tiny, comedic, postmodern version of Myst. Of all my games, I think that one had the most striking art. I made it for a competition and it did really well. I’ve also made a little puzzle platformer, and a strategy game that is basically a Chess-Fire Emblem hybrid.
However, what exactly is the main gameplay setup in Paper Soul Theatre? Because the description on your site doesn’t say much about the game is actually played…
Paper Soul Theater is a subversive 3D turn-based RPG/platformer/survival horror video game, modelled after “Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door,” about a girl in a surreal fantasy world, and the allies she gains, who use peaceful communication, violence, spiritual help, and the power of ancient totems to stop crusaders from beginning a devastating war with her weak confederacy.
And the newer description isn’t really a whole lot clearer in that sense:
Paper Soul Theater: …is a 3D role-playing/ economics/ action-adventure videogame, modelled after “Paper Mario: Thousand-Year Door,” about a troubled girl and her nomadic allies, who use peaceful communication; violence; powerful ancient artifacts; and spiritual help to return home, all while discovering the true history of her world
Okay then. That’s something. Can you explain it in a slightly clearer way? Like, a way the average Joe on Reddit or NeoGAF can understand?
I think the clearest way to describe how Paper Soul Theater will play is by building off of Thousand Year Door’s gameplay description. Just like in TTYD, you move around “in the fields” to go from town to town, or from town to important location. Along the way, your party battles the corrupted “half-souls” who are cursed to walk the planet. Combat relies on weapon type advantages and Action Commands (interactions required of the player to land an attack or defend, often more complex than simply pressing buttons at the right timing).
Because the setting is a cross between medieval-fantasy, and indigenous-tribalism, melee weapons and magic are used to settle turn-based battles. However, there is a major twist. There are two win conditions in most (if not all) battles; all characters in a fight have both a health total and a Willpower total. If a foe’s Willpower reaches zero, they end their aggression often by running away (if they are unintelligent) or by surrendering (if they can talk).
Aponi Oru is the playable character, who you start the game with one of three RPG classes (defense expert, illusionist, and divine dancer). As Aponi, you can choose to fight physically, or use your RPG class abilities to make your opponent back down. The RPG class you choose at the start unlocks new content and changes Aponi’s personality, and it also doubles as a difficulty setting.
Like in TTYD, and Paper Mario 64, you acquire partners on your journey who help you “in the field” and in battle. The player gets to choose Aponi’s dialogue and actions during slow moments and is capable of buying and selling with not just shop owners, but nearly half the people you meet. Trading goods (whether items useful in battle, food ingredients, or valuables) is a larger focus in our game than it was in TTYD. Just like TTYD, the world is broken up into a bunch of tiny sections as a way to curb our ambition. Lastly, our game features a textlog, which allows the player to see how Aponi’s thoughts and feelings. In battle it records information, like how much damage an attack did. Our game is expected to have systems nearly identical to TTYD leveling up, badges, and Flower Points.
Ah, that makes a bit more sense now. The willpower mechanic sounds like a really unique mechanic.
However, does it let you play the game as a pacifist, like Undertale?
That’s an excellent question. The team and I have pretty diverse and intense feelings towards both Undertale and pacifism. Believe it or not, the original concept for Paper Soul Theater back in mid-late 2015 was very similar to what Undertale turned out to be.
At the time, that was only a demo and a recently successful Kickstarter, so I and everyone I told about my concept had never even heard of Undertale at the time. Both games coincidentally star young girls in fantasy interactive-turn-based RPGS in which you can, as that character, choose to be nonviolent or violent to get your way. When Undertale was first released, I was extremely bitter but eventually I looked closer and started deeply appreciating what was new and excellent about it.
Regarding pacifism, I would say Paper Soul Theatre is a response to Undertale, rather than an echo. I’m going to leave it at that as to not spoil anything.
Onto another question now. Can you tell us a bit more about the game’s cast? Who does the game focus on?
Paper Soul Theater centers around Aponi, a troubled 14-year-old girl, and three friends that she makes on her journey back home. At the start of the game, she already found a friend in a nonhuman named Tuari. He follows Aponi at first because he’s deeply concerned about her safety, and the two of them are about the same age. Aponi’s land is governed by a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, as well as the souls of the not-currently living, known to humans as paper souls. Two of these paper souls play a significant role in the story, but how is a spoiler. There are many species (races) living on Aponi’s planet who live desegregated. Any of these people can choose obedience to one of the many gods, and in that way, the gods play a significant indirect role.
One thing we haven’t seen much of with Paper Soul Theatre is the art style. What kind of style are you going for here? Is it cel shaded? Paper Mario style sprites in a 3D environment? Something else?
It’s true that much of the art we’ve shown is of different styles, since we’ve been more loose about how we make concept art. Our game has two art styles. Environmental graphics (like the ground and sky), and stationary things (like trees and houses) all have a watercolor, soft, detailed art style, while everything else (like people and animals) have an art style similar to The Thousand Year Door, but with flat colors.
So it’s basically a bit like Skyward Sword’s backgrounds meet Paper Mario’s characters?
That’s a good comparison. We’re aiming for a mixure of Paper Mario’s cute simplicity, and a bit of realism/ detail.
And what interesting looking locations are you going to have in this game? Because one of the biggest things people like about Paper Mario is how each chapter has a unique style to it. Like Twilight Town or the Boggly Woods in the Thousand Year Door…
The imaginative places of TTYD are undoubtedly memorable, so I doubt Paper Soul Theatre will be able to match such an incredible accomplishment, but our plan is to maintain that each place is atmospherically distinct, and filled with interesting sights.
There is one point in which your party ventures through a forest beneath the surface of the planet filled with glowing life, strange stalagmites and albino creatures. I got that idea both from Iroquois Mythology and also the indie RPG Space Funeral.
The locales of TTYD have left a huge impression on all of us, but unlike for that game, the locations in ours will need to look as though they could exist near each other; Thousand Year Door was more of a story anthology than a single narrative.
At one point, PST was going have the entire art style change depending on where you are, but that was immediately scrapped.
And guess what? Now we’ve managed to get an exclusive interview with the game’s developer WinterDrake! So here it is, complete with his thoughts about the game and its future development…
So let’s start off with a simple personal one first. Who are you? What is Winter Drake’s background here?
I’m a 20 year old college student studying marketing. Before this project, I’ve released two games, one of which made it to Steam (Faron’s Fate)
Above: A video of Faron’s Fate. No, it has nothing to do with the goddess Farore. Nor the Zelda province…
And how about your history with gaming? How did you first start playing video games?
Honestly my first experiences were with kids’ computer games, but later on I found a love of retro games, especially NES and SNES since they were so easy to emulate.
Why the Legend of Zelda series? Is it one of your favourite franchises of all time? Or was Breath of the Wild the one game that inspired you?
The BotW 2d prototype that Nintendo showed off was the main inspiration. I definitely love the Zelda series, but when I saw that video, I knew it was something I wanted to play.
What about Breath of the Wild itself? What do you think of the game in general?
Super awesome, I love how open ended it is and how creative you can get. It’s something I hope to emulate in Breath of the NES.
Fan game stuff now. Is this your first attempt at making one?
Yep, this is my first fan game.
Have you played any other Zelda fan games or ROM hacks?
I have not, actually.
Either way, why have a 2D Breath of the Wild style game? Was it because of the interesting prototype Nintendo showed at GDC 2017?
Yes it was haha.
So as a game, it’s actually got quite a fair bit of content at the moment. Multiple items, various enemies, etc. How much will the final game have, if you get that far?
What’s in the playable demo is a fraction of what I want to have in the final game. The ideas are all there, but I plan to flesh out each area much more, as well as adding much more in-depth character progression.
It’s also got perhaps a bit of a… mean streak. Have you considered maybe slowing some of the enemies down a notch, or making their patterns a tad less random?
I’m working on improving the AI of enemies, for sure. I’ll balance the game’s difficulty as I see fit, but I’m also going to make sure to include difficulty settings for casual gamers and Zelda veterans alike.
Interestingly, it also has many of the enemies from Zelda 1 rather than those from the later games. Do you plan to implement some of the Breath of the Wild specific ones at some point?
It’s more likely that I’ll be shifting to original enemies, since I do plan to eventually move on from the Zelda theme if Nintendo asks me to stop.
How about some runes? I’m sure 2D Magnesis, Stasis or Cryonis would be interesting to see!
Those would all be super interesting, although I’m not sure how I’d implement them. If they’re added, it would be much later down the line.
At the moment, the game doesn’t seem to have a save feature of any kind. Is that something that’s in development? And if so, how will it work? Will there be auto saves, or manual saves more similar to the 2D games?
I didn’t bother coding a save in the demo because it’s so short and I wanted people to really take their time getting through the challenge. In the full game there will definitely be saves, though I’m not sure if I’m going to do autosaves or manual.
Musically it’s kept minimalistic like Breath of the Wild itself. However, in a 2D game that kind of feels a tad empty to be honest. Is there the possibility of an optional background music feature here? Or at least, the few notes you hear in cold climates/on top of mountains in Breath of the Wild?
I’ve already had a ton of people offer to help out with the music, so hopefully the full game will have memorable tunes for each area 🙂
Still, it seems like the game is fairly early in development at the moment. So what other interesting ideas do you have for the game in the future?
I want to flesh out the areas and enemies a lot more, make more interactive environment pieces. There will also, of course, be many more items and upgrades.
Moving on to some questions about the game’s future/marketing now. Did you expect this to become as popular as it was? Or for all these sites to start writing articles about it?
Oh, no, this was a total surprise. Honestly the demo I made is pretty pitiful, and I released it just because I was excited. I think the ideas i have for a finished game will be really impressive once they’re finished, but it’s a great surprise to see so much support early on.
Unfortunately, based on Nintendo’s recent track record with fan works, that might have accidentally made it more likely this game will get shut down. Do you worry about that?
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I am fully ready to remove the borrowed Zelda assets and replace them with my own original characters 🙂 I have a lot of ideas and I’m not going to give up simply because I can’t continue as a fangame
On another note, why itch.io? I’ve seen this platform used for quite a few fan games recently (like No Mario’s Sky), and it makes me wonder why developers are using it so much now. Does it offer advantages over whatever that Zelda fan game specific site is?
It’s the best hosting platform I know of. Lets people follow you, make donations, and gives you analytics about where they’re coming from. It’s what I’ve always used.
As for social media, this game seems to mostly be advertised on Twitter and Reddit. So why choose those two platforms in particular?
Those are the social media platforms I know and understand most. Maybe later in development I could get some help running a facebook and instagram, but right now two sites is enough work to balance while I program the game and study for finals.
Finally, what are your plans after making this game? Do you have any interesting indie titles in development? Ideas for fan games based on other franchises? Something else?
Breath of the NES is my main project right now, but I always have tons of ideas. If this game does well, hopefully I could have the motivation and funds to move on to bigger and better things!
So that concludes our interview. It’s not the longest one in the world, but I’m hoping it’ll give you a bit of an insight into Breath of the NES and its future development. After all, if the demo is indicative of the final game, it should be absolutely amazing when it’s finally done and finished. Check out his channel and Twitter too, if you want more updates.
But hey, what do you think? Did you like Breath of the NES? Do you think the idea of a 2D physics based sandbox game like this is an interesting one?
Post your thoughts on the matter here or at Gaming Latest’s forums today!
But that’s today. Because as the title points out, we’ve managed to secure another interesting fan game developer interview! This time, with MFGG staffer and game developer Miles, who has previously created a contest winning game called The Purple Coin.
So sit down, make a cup of tea and get ready to hear what Miles has to say about his history with Mario fan games!
1. Starting with the usual personal background question. So you know the drill now. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What’s your story outside of fan game development?
I don’t find that there’s much to be said about myself; I’m a pretty uninteresting fellow outside of fangaming. I’m a stay-at-home person that helps my dad with his business for work. That’s pretty much it.
2. How about your video game history? What game got you interested in gaming anyway?
One could say that I started life with a Sega Genesis controller in my hand. At as young as age 3 I was playing games on that thing and loving them. The fun I had in my early years with the Sonic series and other classics such as Dynamite Headdy and The Lost Vikings (go play those immediately if you haven’t and can legally do so) got me more or less cemented into gaming. I’ve had stuff from most generations since.
3. And how did you get started in Mario fan games anyway?
My Mario fangaming journey actually sort of began with Sonic fangaming, since that’s where I first learned that I could make things of my own. Sonic Fan Games HQ introduced me to The Games Factory around 2003-2004, which introduced me to game logic. During a conversation on AIM with a fun fellow I’d met elsewhere, I was introduced to Game Maker with a game he was working on at the time.
Not too long later, I wound up at Mario Fan Games Galaxy, though how exactly I came across it is a mystery. By then I’d been doing a lot with both The Games Factory and Game Maker and was able to do a fair bit of what I wanted to with them. I didn’t really become very active at MFGG until many years later, though. In time, probably around 2009 or so, I found that Mario was significantly easier to do solo fangame work with than Sonic, so Mario more or less become my focus at that point.
4. Onto Super Battle Bros now. What gave you the idea to make a Mario fighting game?
In response to my previous fan game not quite working well, I started a new project with the aim to have a better engine. I had formed a huge AI obsession at around that point, so in order for me to scratch that figurative itch I put together a one-screen game where an AI Luigi fought a player Mario on a stage with a ground area and a solid floating platform in the center. The AI Luigi was able to run around the level and eventually reach Mario when there was no line-of-sight beforehand. It just grew into a fighting game from there. It was supposed to also have a story mode with it to be in line with the game I was trying to make before it, but that part of it never quite got anywhere.
5. What about the different art style mechanic? Having the style change to fit the arena is certainly a nifty idea…
I think it came from a small level of necessity. The NES stages I made didn’t work very well without this system, but I wanted them in one way or another. Only one stage used the SMB3 theme, which was rather unfortunate because someone kindly made a SMB3 sprite set for me for that purpose.
6. It also says the game lets you combine power ups and what not. What inspired this idea? Cause it’s quite rare in the Mario series, at least outside of Wario Land on the Virtual Boy…
Huh, I didn’t even know that an official game had done this until now. I don’t quite remember if I came up with the idea in my own head first or straight up took the idea from another game that did it before mine, but I do remember that it made sense to me from a fun perspective. I had made most of a game of the same name before this one that also had that feature, though it was a more adventure-focused game.