Sunday, 9 March 2014

Commodore 64: a visual commpendium - Interview with Sam Dyer

We spoke to Sam Dyer - Author and inspiration being the new Commodore 64 Kickstarter

Tell us a bit about you first 
I'm 32 years old with an ever decreasing hairline and an ever increasing waistline. I'm a Graphic Designer and a huge C64 fan and retro gaming fan in general. As a designer I have over 10 years experience, working for award winning agencies in London and the South West. It has always been a dream of mine to design a book all about the Commodore 64.

How long have you been playing videogames now and what was your first computer or console? 
My first computer was a C64, handed down to me by my (very kind) Uncle. It must have been circa 1986. It came bundled with an Imagine multi-pack, International Soccer and a war strategy game called Theatre Europe! The Imagine pack had some amazing games on it such as Frogger, BC Bill, Arcadia and Pedro. I fell in love with this computer and over the next few years got loads and loads of games and spent many an hour in awe of the graphics and sound. Happy days! 

Tell us about your role at Retro Asylum? 
I absolutely love been part of the Retro Asylum. Since I have been involved about a year ago I have seen it go from strength to strength (obviously not just due to me joining!). My roles include uploading and writing site news, posting up reviews and essentially managing the front page. I also design the podcast covers with co-founder Dean Swain (Swainy). Also, every now and again you can hear me appearing on a podcast rambling on about my love of Sensible Soccer or looking at the career of a certain 8-bit games composer in a series called 'My 8-bit Life'. Been part of the Retro Asylum is loads of fun. It keeps me busy and out of trouble... 

Why are you into retro gaming now? 
Purely for nostalgic reasons. That warm fuzzy feeling I get when I am reminded of my childhood. It's addictive and I am constantly remembering little things that make me smile. I'm obviously a huge gamer too. I'm too tight to buy expencive modern games and have hardly any free time so the 'pick up and play' nature of retro gaming works for me perfectly.

Why do you think retro gaming is so popular in 2014? 

I think a huge part of it is down to emulation. It's there for all to get online, at the click of a button. Also nowadays, with YouTube and websites like Retro Asylum and GamesYouLoved, retro gaming is all over social media, constantly reminding people and sparking their memories. Also the retro gaming community is so friendly and welcoming and it's a great thing to be part of. I've made some great friends through this shared love.

Also, nowadays it's acceptable to be into Retro Gaming and not something you would be embarrassed to admit!
Tell us about your graphic design background? 
I went to Art College in Taunton where I spent 5 years and learnt loads. Then went to London and worked at some award winning agencies. I then took everything I had learnt and came back to the South West which is where I now ply my trade. Currently I am head of design at a brand agency and loving every minute of it. Every day if different and I am very lucky to do what I do. 

About the book...

Why the Commodore 64? 
The Commodore 64 was my first computer and the one I have the fondest memories of. It also played a massive part in inspiring me to become a designer. I used to be obsessed with the loading screens and box art. It is so visually rich, everywhere you look there is great design. Whether it's the iconic loading screens, Oliver Freys illustrations or the pixel art. I always wanted a book with all of this this stuff in it, but couldn't find one anywhere. So... I thought I would design one myself! 

Any particular C64 games you love - perhaps a top 10? 
Loads! In no particular order:
Batman The Movie
Up n down
Aztec Challenge
Beyond the Forbidden Forest
Slap Fight
Treasure Island Dizzy
Blue Max
Ghostbusters 2
Ghouls and Ghosts

Can you give us any sneak insights into the book that people who are in the community would love to hear?  
One of the rewards I am most excited about is the chance for backers to 'own their own spread'. They pick the game, write the review and then I design it as a spread. I think it will give the book a unique feel and something that backers would be excited about. 

Getting the rights to use Oliver Freys illustrations is a massive deal for me. I have always loved his work and it will look stunning over double page spreads.

I am also planning to have a section on modern C64, looking at current day developers and the art they are producing.

When is the kickstarter due to start? 
1st April 2014

Any reveals on the pledges available? 
I'm still finalising the pledges but these will include a series of A2 loader posters, a chance to own your own spread in the book and also a chance to sponsor the book! There will also be smaller pledges where you can be credited in the book as an official supporter. 

Who is writing the book and why? 
The book will not have many words. It's a visual commpendium so accompanying each beautiful image may be a few game facts, a mini review or even a quote from the developer. 

Ex Sensible Software artist and C64 fan Stoo Cambridge will be writing the foreword and I'm hoping to get a few well known retro legends to also write some words here and there. 

What about design and illustration - as a designer what is your vision? 
As previously said, it has always been my ambition to create this book and if there is enough interest my dream will come true. What I would love would be too get the C64 book produced and then maybe do one on the Amiga. The dream would be to walk into a high street bookshop and see my book on the shelf. That would be pretty cool!

Back the project here NOW LIVE:

Watch the promo video:


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