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GameSetWatch.com is the alt.video game weblog and sister site of Gamasutra.com. It is dedicated to collecting curious links and media for offbeat and oft-ignored games from consoles old and new, as well as from the digital download, iOS, and indie spaces.

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Column: GDRI Wisdom

COLUMN: 'GDRI Wisdom': The Mysteries Of Sega Midwest

October 24, 2008 4:00 PM |

-['GDRI Wisdom' is a bi-weekly column presenting highlights from select interviews with overlooked game developers of years past, as seen on Game Developer Research Institute (GDRI).]

Jim Reichert is an inventor and rapid prototyper whose work has been featured in Disneyland's Innoventions Dream Home and the Microsoft Home of the Future. He also worked at Microsoft Game Studios, doing games such as MechWarrior 4, MechCommander, Crimson Skies, and Links 2001.

But early on in his career, Reichert worked as a programmer at Sega Midwest Studio (aka Sega Midwest Development Division), a little-known Sega studio that was located near Chicago. Only two games developed by the division were actually released - a conversion of the Neo Geo game World Heroes and NHL All-Star Hockey '95, both for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.

Fortunately, GDRI got to catch up with Mr. Reichert. We asked him about World Heroes, Sega Midwest itself, and even an unreleased 32X game.

GDRI: Tell us about developing Genesis World Heroes. Was a lot of time and effort put into doing it? Why was an American division of Sega tasked with converting a Japanese fighting game?

JR: Well, as I was only the developer of the game, I can't really answer the question as to why an American development house was asked to do the port. As for myself, I'd never really heard of the game, and I was simply happy to enter into the game industry at the time -- I wasn't about to ask probing political questions.

It was funny; the original "wunderkind" who was supposed to do the port, a British guy named "Steve," turned out to be all talk. But before he "left," he managed to bilk Sega Midwest out of a fair amount of money (he got a car as part of his deal). Ultimately, I came in to restart the port from the ground up and had very little time to do it. Thankfully, another guy at Sega, whose name was John [Walsh?], helped out with certain parts.

COLUMN: 'GDRI Wisdom': Young Blood

October 8, 2008 8:00 AM |

- ['GDRI Wisdom' is a bi-weekly column presenting highlights from select interviews with overlooked game developers of years past, as seen on Game Developer Research Institute (GDRI).]

Our interviewee in this edition is a bit younger than the people we usually talk to at GDRI. But like Daniel Auld, he was a Westerner working in a strange land.

Meet Steven Dwyer, a native of Scotland. He worked briefly at Osaka, Japan-based Now Production as a game programmer, working mostly on the original Sonic Riders. You can also hear his voice on Mario Superstar Baseball for the Nintendo GameCube.

Now Production ("NowPro") has been a company of particular interest to GDRI. Like the infamous Tose, it has done many games for big name publishers such as Namco and Hudson. Unlike Tose, it has been publishing and developing more and more of its own games over the past decade. But enough about that - on with the interview!

COLUMN: 'GDRI Wisdom': The Wisdom Of The Sloper

September 23, 2008 4:00 PM |

-['GDRI Wisdom' is a bi-weekly column presenting highlights from select interviews with overlooked game developers of years past, as seen on Game Developer Research Institute (GDRI).]

Tom Sloper is a long-time veteran of the game industry. For the bulk of his career, he worked for Activision as a producer, involved with the popular Shanghai series and other titles.

Prior to that, he had stints designing games at Western Technologies, Datascan, and Sega Enterprises and was Director of Product Development at Atari Corporation as that company tried entering the post-NES video game market with the 2600 and 7800 systems.

Today, he works as a freelance game development consultant under the name Sloperama Productions. He also teaches a game design and production class at the University of Southern California. GDRI chatted to him about his fascinating history in the game biz.

COLUMN: 'GDRI Wisdom': A Westerner At Tose

September 8, 2008 8:00 AM |

- ['GDRI Wisdom' is a bi-weekly column presenting highlights from select interviews with overlooked game developers of years past, as seen on Game Developer Research Institute (GDRI).]

Much has been made of developer Tose in recent years, mostly because of the amount of games the company has been involved with and the secretive nature in which it operates.

Interviews have been done in the past with Tose staffers, but they have usually been with higher-ups, not with people who work in the proverbial trenches.

Daniel Auld is an American technologist and consultant who worked as a 3DO programmer at Tose in the early 1990s, and GDRI was very lucky to find his résumé online.

He worked on two games - a fighting game based on the Ultraman Powered television series and a graphic adventure based on the works of Japanese horror author Misa Yamamura. We asked him to share anything he could about his time there, and he gladly went into great detail in his own words, before we quizzed him further in a Q&A.