Creating long lasting gaming memories and an incident with a Dancing Stage machine in Las Vegas.
The Rare love here on VideoGamer.com just keeps on coming. Yesterday, in the third part of our gargantuan interview with graphics genius Nick Burton, he dished the dirt on the GoldenEye Xbox 360 port that never was. Today, in the penultimate part of our five part week-long interview series, Nick discusses whether current and new Rare games can obtain the same legendary status as Rare 90s classics currently enjoy.
VideoGamer.com: There are people who are coming into gaming now, for them the Xbox or the 360 might be their first consoles. For them, they're at the point where we were when we were playing the N64, now is their formative years. Do you think Rare is releasing games now that will have a similar effect on these people as those older games did with us?
Nick Burton: I think that already happened. It's funny when you get fan mail. We do. We get quite a bit. Some for old stuff, quite a lot for new stuff. The best one I've got, and we still have it up in the office, was from a nine-year-old girl somewhere in America who played Kameo and she said it's the only game I ever finished. Her dad had got her an Xbox for Christmas. You can see it's written by a child as well, the handwriting and everything. It's just a really nice thank you letter. You think, well, that might be her formative moment. How many more of her there are, I don't know. Could anybody have done a straw poll of how many there was of us in the late 80s or whatever? Another one with Kameo was some friends of ours, they've got a 12-year-old girl and we saw them a few weeks ago. She just came up to me, because I'd gave her Kameo as a Christmas present. She said I finished Kameo, it's great, but there's one bit where I can't get these last things! It's been her favourite game since Christmas. You're reaching out to people.
Whether we have as many of them or more, you'll have to ask me in 10 years time. But then again the market's much bigger, it's much more diverse, there's many more games. There is an ability these days to feel like there's a game that's my game, it's what I get, what I really get into. I had that. Mid-80s Marble Madness was my game because I was good at it. I don't know how many other people it is. For others it was Gauntlet. It had that right twist for me. There's a lot more choice. Let's face it we just talk about consoles. But for a lot of people that's not what they play on. PC, their phone, set top box - deliver me a game on something and I'll play it. I'm still a gamer so hopefully the stuff we're doing is appealing to gamers.
Certainly VP has had a lot of love from the people who have really got into it, almost obsessively so, in a lot of cases. That could be someone's formative moment. There's that first moment for the people who bought the 360 when they first played PD, when they first played Kameo. One would have floated the boat more than the other I guess. It's difficult for me to see past that because when you're in the dev community you've had that hardware for several years. So you don't have that fresh packaging smell, shakily putting the disc in, wow HD for the first time! Blimey!
I get it with other people's games. The first time I played Geometry Wars, because I'm a retro gamer I was like, hell yeah! It was during de-bug on Kameo as well. It was like, oh we were waiting for a build to go and the whole team would be there.
So yeah, we'll have to wait and see I suppose. I'd hope so. I think so, certainly from the feedback we get. There's all kinds of feedback obviously, but the direct communication feedback we get in general is very very positive and it looks like people are going to remember our stuff.
VideoGamer.com: So it's very possible that for a lot of people the stuff you're putting out now or have done on the 360, could be their GoldenEye experience.
NB: Could be, yeah. It would be a different experience from GoldenEye without a doubt. I look at a lot of games, especially some that don't do commercially that well, quite a lot of stuff that comes out of Japan, like Katamari for instance, that's really quite niche, you just play it and think that's so new and fresh and brilliant. And if that had been my first taste of PS2 gaming, there's my golden moment, probably. I almost have golden moments I suppose for lots of consoles. I remember the first time playing Wipeout on the PlayStation, because I was into that kind of music at the time, it's like, it's got the Chemical Brothers in! And Orbital have done the soundtrack! Oh my god! Then I met one of the Wipeout programmers a couple of years back and he was like, yeah it wasn't bad was it, but this and this was wrong with it. But it didn't stop me enjoying it even though I knew there was stuff wrong with it. If it's something you like you're going to forgive it, aren't you? There was all those perfect 10s for GTA4. There was a lot wrong with it. But you forgive it all because it's more than the sum of its parts.
VideoGamer.com: And you get caught up in all the excitement, the community. That's what it was like with GoldenEye. Everyone was playing it. Every game magazine covered it for months after it came out. Everyone in school was talking about it...
NB: The difference now though is because games have become such big business and make so much money and there's so much media interest, that it's a lot, I wouldn't say less innocent than it used to be, but there's a lot more at least attempted control by PR and by big studios, trying to control what people want. And sometimes that's a shame. The really good games like GTA will get noticed anyway. Yes it makes it an absolute shoe-in because they've put the extra effort in as well, but then sometimes there will be that absolute golden nugget that you'll play, I'll play, I might not have even heard of myself even though I'm in the industry, it might be something really stupid like Line Rider, or the first time I played Flow on the internet, something you could have completely missed, and it might be some weird little indie game, and it's genius. So it's a shame that the brightest lights are even brighter and louder.
It would be really interesting to see if we could freeze time and our memories of what we're playing and what we're looking forward to, just fast forward 10 years and see what we've remembered and what we haven't and what's come into our memory, that's probably out now that we might not have heard of or played much. For me Guitar Hero was one of those. Because I'm not a guitarist at all, I'm somebody that'll play Dancing Stage, too much for my age!
VideoGamer.com: I'd like to see that...
NB: I've got a story about Dancing Stage, Las Vegas, me and my wife and a crowd of Americans watching us. When it first came out on the PlayStation we were both really good at it, like two dance pads and could switch, link arms that kind of thing! We'd only been playing it closet at home and a bit at work. Not being a 14-year-old girl you couldn't really play it in the arcades. We'd been to Vegas to get married, we stayed in the Luxor, they'd got an arcade down there and they got a Dancing Stage Euromix of all things, with all the Euro pop on it. This is about 10 o'clock at night, there's nobody around... come on. So we're just playing it, doing our thing and concentrating on what we're doing, we can clear it on medium quite easy. We finished it and there was all this clapping and cheering behind us. There was this crowd of people watching that had gathered! I'm 33-years-old, it's really quite embarrassing! Not for my wife obviously, she was like, oh thank you.
So I like that kind of thing, but I'd missed Guitar Hero because I'm not really into rock. I'd watched a few guys playing it at work but I hadn't played it. Then one of the guys, about three months ago, said you've got to bloody play it, I've got the 360 version, I'll lend it yer. Go on then. Rock Band's coming out, you've got to play that, go on have a practice on Guitar Hero so you know what's coming. First one, bit of a Foo Fighters track. Ooo! The next thing he's going, you don't like rock now do you, because I'd just been playing it solidly for three months. I might have missed that. I knew it was fantastic. So why hadn't I played it? Because I perceived I wouldn't like it, and I was just so wrong. And it's fantastic!
Check back tomorrow for the fifth and final part of our mammoth interview with Nick Burton, where he'll continue to talk at length about all things Rare. f you want more straight away head over to Part one of our week-long interview, from which you'll be led effortlessly into part two and three.