Interview with Pixel Addict Magazine
Paul hears why there will always be demand for family games.
BBG Entertainment have been supplying games for 15 years now. Employing staff with decades of experience in the casual and retro gaming markets, they know their target audience. They have three games scheduled for release this year.
Paul caught up with BBG Entertainment President, Stephan Berendsen to find out more about their plans.
Thanks for joining us in what seems like a very busy year for BBG Entertainment. How has the year been so far for you in regards to your plans for new products?
Yes, you are right. This year is a very busy year for us. We have never released three games within one year before.
Dynablaster was always on our list for this year. But, as we were able to acquire the IP rights of Astrosmash and Shark! Shark! from Intellivision Entertainment LLC at the beginning of this year, our schedule for this year became much busier. Many people are awaiting the new modernised versions of Astrosmash and Shark! Shark!.
Therefore we want to make them happy and release these two games this year.
Gamers of a certain age will recognise the aforementioned upcoming titles. What made you decide to release these particular games for a new (and old) audience?
We have been in touch with Intellivison since 2019. We loved their concept for their new Amico family console and family games from the beginning. Therefore, we decided to port our games, Dynablaster and BrainDuel/Einstein Brain Trainer, to their Amico console.
Within this great cooperation we have been able to see and test a few other new Intellivison games including Astrosmash and Shark! Shark!. We immediately loved to play these two famous games. We had the idea to bring these games to a wider audience and to port them to existing consoles and PC platforms.
After a longer discussion and negotiations with Intellivision Entertainment LLV we have been able to make a deal with them. Now BBG owns both beloved IPs.
With the Intellivision Amico experiencing problems, did that make you more determined to have the above titles on other machines? Any Amico feedback was usually positive when it came to your games.
Our own game titles, Dynablaster and BrainDuel/Einstein Brain Trainer, have never been planned as Amico only titles.
We never gave Intellivison any exclusivity and we financed the whole development by ourselves. But the whole Intellivision team, especially Tommy Talarico and Mike Dietz, helped us a lot. They came up with many great game ideas and visual concepts.
Without them, Dynablaster would not be where it is now! Tommy also composed the music and sound for Dynablaster.
You’ve previously released an updated version of Boulder Dash. From the start, do you have ideas ready to enhance classic games? For example Dynablaster has new co-operative modes which adds more lifespan to the purchase.
Yes, we love classic games and we want to keep them popular. When | was a kid we played all these famous retro games in the arcade halls and on our home computers (Sharp MZ-80K). I still prefer these classic titles compared to all the new games. These classic games have a unique and timeless game engine/concept which works even over four decades.
Boulder Dash will turn 40 years old next year. It was great to see that at our Boulder Dash booth at the gamescom 2019 many young people enjoyed playing the original and our new Boulder Dash Deluxe version. This shows that a classic game engine works.
Interview with Pixel Addict Magazine
We are already working on a new Boulder Dash 40th Anniversary version for next year. Many new ideas but also old original features will be included
What can gamers expect from your latest games? Are there any original versions, trophies or Easter eggs hidden away?
There are some Easter eggs (smiles). You just wait, you won’t be disappointed.
BBG is showing a great history of bringing out games for the family which everyone can enjoy. Has that always been a key aim for yourself?
When | started BBG our aim was to develop a scientific brain training game. We have cooperated with Dr. Kawashima, who is a Professor and neurologist.
In 2009 we released our PC game Train your Brain with Dr. Kawashima.
In 2017 we were able to buy all the IP rights of Boulder Dash. This changed our company’s direction allowing us to focus more on retro games. But our games have always been designed for the whole family.
You’ve been involved in the games industry for over two decades now, including a lot of experience in mobile gaming. What are your thoughts on how the industry has gone from big studios and the games must be bigger & better mentality, then returning to smaller teams and in some cases individual coders?
It’s been a very interesting time, especially over the last decade. | personally feel there are games | can play with my kids, as not every game is shooting, driving or football anymore.
| started to develop games more than 40 years ago. We developed games for Japanese home computers. At this time, games were developed by one person – maybe with support of a graphic and sound designer. And | think some of these games are legendary and need to be preserved.
For me, classic games are more engaging and | prefer how they were developed – cultivated by small teams with big ideas. Luckily, smartphones levelled the playing field again for both individual and smaller development teams. It has been great to see and | believe it has brought more innovation to games development in general.
While the App Store is dominated by larger companies these days, there have been some fantastic mobile games developed by individual people in the past decade.
To end, what are some of your own favourite games from over the years?
Of course, my favourite games include: Boulder Dash, Sokoban, Tetris, Pac-Man, Lady Bug, Galaxians, Bomberman and Nectaris.
Stephan, thanks for your time today and good luck with all the launches! EPA
- 5. October 2023