Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works – The MegaBites Interview

fe9669b582212077de44b89c9e569e3a_largeAs you may have guessed, this site has something of a soft spot for a certain 16-bit console. Whether you know it as the Mega Drive or the Genesis, the chances are you’re equally familiar with the console’s spikey blue mascot, its blast processing prowess and its truly incredible back catalogue. But did you ever hear of its purple-buttoned prototype control pads? Have you cast your eyes upon its hand-drawn pre-development blueprints, or heard the inside story of its incredible hardware spinoffs? (Sega Neptune, anyone?) With these exclusives and more, MegaBites is proud to be amongst the first to reveal Read-Only Memory’s brand new Kickstarter campaign for its latest publication ‘Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works’.

From the Mega Drive’s earliest concepts, prototypes, mega-marketing campaigns and incredible rise to global fame, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works is set to showcase never before-seen material and industry insight from those closest to the console’s development and its biggest franchises – an indispensable resource for fans of the Mega Drive and retro gamers alike.

Fresh from the release of Sensible Software 1986–1999 and the title’s subsequent induction into the BAFTA library, MegaBites caught up with Read-Only Memory publishing’s Director, Darren Wall, for some exciting inside information on a project that is ‘mega’ in every sense of the word.

MegaBites: What can you tell us about Read-Only Memory’s new publication?

Darren Wall: It can all be traced back to the time of our Sensible Kickstarter campaign. I was in a meeting that was related to a separate work project. It was linked to a studio who conduct a lot of work with with Sony, as well as Sega. I mentioned to them about how I’d love to do a book on the Sega Mega Drive. The studio passed on the details of our Sensible Kickstarter to Sega.

Some time later, Sega contacted us and subsequently asked us to pitch a concept for a Read-Only Memory Sega publication. I think we were competing for the license against another publisher. We put together a pitch and we were offered the license.
Our next project will be a book about the software and related hardware of the Sega Mega Drive. Continue reading

A Quintasensible Conversation

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 18.29.44Earlier this year, MegaBites posted an article on the legendary British developer Sensible Software. The piece concluded by outlining the imminent release of Sensible Software 1986–1999 – a Kickstarter-funded publication that gives a pixel-by-pixel account of the sights, the sounds and the software of this quintasensibly British gaming software house. Hot on the heels of the book’s release, MegaBites speaks to Darren Wall – the owner and Editor of Read-Only Memories publishing.

As a company etched in video gaming folklore, Sensible Software was headed by long-term school friends Jon ‘Jops’ Hare and Chris Yates, who went on to realise some of the late 80s and early 90s greatest gaming successes. Sensible Software provided gamers with unforgettable memories of incredible gameplay, quirky comedy and some of the catchiest theme tunes this side of the Bitmap Brothers. From the creation of Commodore 64 classics, to iconic Amiga adventures, Sensible also went on to create some of the Mega Drive’s most beloved ports, including Sensible Soccer, Cannon Fodder and Mega Lo Mania.

Dust off your disk drives and blow out your cartridges as we uncover the making of a book that gives an account of a software house so vibrant and so revolutionary, it was anything but sensible. 

MegaBites: Let’s start with the book itself. What is Sensible Soccer 1986 – 1999 and what were your main motivations in seeing it realised?

Darren Wall: It all started around six or seven years ago, when I made a few trips to Japan. Out there, they publish a lot of magazine-book hybrids called ‘Mooks’. There’s a large number of Capcom publications in particular, with incredible production art and paintings. I bought stacks of these books while I was out there, on Mega Man, Street Fighter II, R-Type and various RPGs.

The concept for the Sensible Book sprung from a conversation with a friend, who was in Japan with me at the time. I had a strong desire to see books containing similar production artwork for the games that I grew up playing as a kid – games by Psygnosis and titles such as Another World came to mind. I wanted to see books that documented the ‘feel’ of what it was like to actually play these games. Continue reading