Swingin’ Report Show #86: Strike Harbinger Game Designer and SEGA Tournament Champion Chris Tang

On this episode of the Swingin’ Report Show podcast, Barry sits down with game designer and gaming tournament champion Chris Tang at the Galloping Ghost Arcade’s SEGA Week. SEGA fans may know Chris best as the winner of SEGA’s Sonic & Knuckles Rock the Rock competition in 1994, and before that Chris was a finalist in 1990’s Nintendo World Championships. Since then, Chris has worked on games at Atari and Capcom, including Gauntlet IV, Primal Rage, Street Fighter III, Rival Schools and Power Stone. Now, Chris is hard at work on a new game inspired by classic SEGA titles like Space Harrier and Phantasy Star. The game, titled Strike Harbinger, combines the fast paced forward flying gameplay of Space Harrier with the RPG and combat elements of Phantasy Star while utilizing a unique control structure that evokes Virtual On.

Strike Harbinger – developed by Chris’s company HitSparks Games – was revealed Saturday, April 30th at Galloping Ghost Arcade where I had the pleasure to meet Chris and the game’s Senior Artist Kiyoshi Okuma, whose past work includes Gauntlet: Legends, World Series Baseball 2K2, The Sims 2 and Darkspore. I also had the honor to be the first member of the public to play the game, and following that experience I chatted with Chris about his life as a tournament gamer, his career, and his plans for Strike Harbinger. 

Want more information on Strike Harbinger? Stay tuned for an upcoming SEGA News Bits as well as a SEGA Week writeup!

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Swingin’ Report Show #85: Interview with The Dreamcast Junkyard founder Tom Charnock

On this episode of the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show we’re joined by Tom Charnock, founder of the The Dreamcast Junkyard and co-creator of The Dreamcast Junkyard: The Ultimate Collectors Guide. Tom talks to us about the creation of the information-packed collectors guide, the legal issues they faced, and what they are planning for future revisions of the book. Also covered are the indie Dreamcast games slated for 2016, which include Leona’s Tricky Adventures, SLaVE and Alice Dreams Tournament, Tom’s plans for a heavily modded and tricked out Dreamcast console, and the state of Dreamcast collecting.

If you want to hear more of Tom talking about SEGA’s final home console, make sure to check out The Dreamcast Junkyard Dreampod podcast, and of course pay a visit to The Dreamcast Junkyard for their many interesting articles.

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Swingin’ Report Show #84: Interview with SEGA-16.com founder Ken Horowitz

On this episode of the SEGAbits podcast, Barry and George are joined by Ken Horowitz, founder of SEGA-16.com and writer of the upcoming book Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games. Even if you don’t know his name, any SEGA fan with internet access has stumbled upon SEGA-16 to find a helpful review, interview or retrospective. Now, Ken is using his knowledge of SEGA as well as close to one hundred newly conducted interviews to create a book which looks back on the games developed by SEGA of America during the 80s and 90s.

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Swingin’ Report Show #83: Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom Developer Interview

Refresh your podcast playlists, because the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show podcast is BACK! On this episode George and Barry are joined by Fabien Demeulenaere, Director of Game Atelier, the French game studio working on the upcoming Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom. If that title sounds familiar, it is because Monster Boy is both a revival and sequel in the Wonder Boy/Monster World franchise, due out later this year to Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC platforms.

In this exclusive first podcast interview for Fabien, he walks us though how the game transformed from a fan project to an official title in the franchise and talks about how the game both celebrates the franchise’s past and moves it into modern gaming. If you ever played a Wonder Boy or Monster World game on the Master System, Genesis, Mega Drive – or any other platform for that matter – this interview is a must listen.

Follow Monster Boy’s development by checking out their official site.

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Swingin’ Report Show #82: Interview with Brian Silva of Visual Concepts, Midway, Accolade and more!

Video game designer and voice actor Brain Silva joins us on our latest episode to discuss his work on Bubsy and Bubsy II, Floigan Bros., Hydro Thunder, and H2Overdrive as well as many other games created during his time at Accolade, Visual Concepts, Midway, Blizzard Entertainment and Specular Interactive. Brian also discusses several unreleased games including Hydro Thunder 2 for arcades, Congo: The Secret of Zinj for Genesis and SNES, and Floigan Bros. for the original Playstation!

Brian currently works at Specular Interactive, having helped create the arcade titles H2Overdrive (Hydro Thunder‘s spiritual successor), Project HADES, Dirty Drivin’, and Batman. Learn more about Specular Interactive by checking out their website.

Also, make sure to check out Brian’s website where you’ll find some excellent design docs for Floigan Bros. and Crank the Weasel.

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Swingin’ Report Show #81: Shenmue 3 Kickstarter Countdown

Join George and Barry as they count down the final hour of the record breaking Shenmue 3 Kickstarter campaign! It has been as wild month, from the game’s E3 Sony stage announcement, to the ups and downs of Awesome Japan’s handling of the campaign. Hear our thoughts on how the Kickstarter was managed, the new tiers, and the recently revealed details of what we can expect in the finished game. Also in this episode, the recent comments from SEGA Games president on the company regaining the trust of gamers.

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Swingin’ Report Show #80: Interview with Aaron Webber, Sonic the Hedgehog PR & Social Media Manager

He’s back! After leaving SEGA of America in 2014, Aaron Webber has returned as the PR & Social Media Manager for the Sonic the Hedgehog brand. Since returning, Aaron has been making waves on the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, catching both fan and media attention with his sly wit and deep knowledge of the franchise.

Aaron was kind enough to sit down with us for an hour in his first interview since returning to SEGA to talk about his new role, SEGA’s move to LA, his approach to interacting with fans, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, his favorite Sonic games, and answers to some burning canon questions!

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Swingin’ Report Show #79: Shenmue 3 E3 Reveal & Kickstarter

We’re still pinching ourselves, because we can’t believe this is real life. Yu Suzuki is finally set to make Shenmue 3, having just announced the long awaited game at E3 and launching a Kickstarter to fund the project this week. On this episode of the Swingin’ Report Show, George and Barry discuss their reactions to the news, share opinions on the Kickstarter, and tackle the misconceptions of Sony’s involvement. We also speculate what Suzuki has planned for the third game based on past interviews and recently revealed details.

Check out Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter at kickstarter.com/projects/ysnet/shenmue-3

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Swingin’ Report Show #78: Interview with Sam Mullen, Localization Producer, SEGA of America

On this episode of the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show, we’re joined by SEGA of America Localization Producer Sam Mullen! In his role at SEGA, Sam has managed the localization process of several Japanese titles including Binary Domain, Rise of Nightmares, and the Hatsune Miku titles. Currently he is working on SEGA’s line of 3D Classics titles which include arcade and SEGA Genesis favorites as well as Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX for the Nintendo 3DS.

Learn about what the process of localization entails as well as what to expect from SEGA’s upcoming 3DS titles in this week’s show! Oh, and see a surprise cameo from former Brand Manager Aaron Webber who happened to be at SEGA of America HQ while we were recording this episode.

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Swingin’ Report Show #77: Interview with Greg Johnson, co-creator of Toejam and Earl

Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove is a Kickstarter campaign from Greg Johnson, video game designer and co-founder of ToeJam & Earl Productions. On this week’s Swingin’ Report Show podcast, Greg joins us to talk about how he plans to bring the funky aliens back in a new game, and how he and Mark Voorsanger pitched and developed the original three games of the series for SEGA.

Learn how Toejam and Earl made the transition from Greg’s subconscious to video games, what it was like working with SEGA throughout the 90s, his thoughts on the sequels Panic on Funkotron and Mission to Earth, and how Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove is set to reimagine and build upon the famous first game. If you’re a game developer, or simply want to know more about how games are made, this episode is a must listen!

Show your support for Greg and his team, check out the Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove Kickstarter today!

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Swingin’ Report Show #76: Interview with Stealth, co-developer of Sonic the Hedgehog 1&2 Remastered

On this week’s SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show podcast, we’re joined by Stealth, who worked on the official recent remasterings of Sonic The Hedgehog CD, Sonic The Hedgehog, and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 alongside fellow developer The Taxman.

Stealth talks to us about how the remasters began development, the process of remaking classic Sonic titles, the much talked about the remastered Sonic The Hedgehog 3 proof of concept, and what fans can do to try and make Sonic 3 remastered a reality. Also featured is discussion of Sonic The Hedgehog 4 and the recent decisions SEGA has made with the franchise. If you love classic Sonic games and behind-the-scenes stories of game development, this is the show for you!

Also, Barry and George discuss the recently revealed ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove Kickstarter by Greg Johnson (who will be joining us next week) and Sonic Team’s mobile release Sonic Runners, which soft launched yesterday.

Support the Sonic 3 Remastered campaign: http://sonic3remastered.com/


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Swingin’ Report Show #75: Interview with Lisle Wilkerson – Shenmue II, Virtua Fighter and Crazy Taxi voice actress

We celebrate 75 episodes in style on this week’s Swingin’ Report Show podcast! Joining us for an interview is Lisle Wilkerson, best known to SEGA fans for her voice work on Shenmue II, Virtua Fighter and Crazy Taxi. Learn what it’s like growing up in Japan and recording for some of SEGA’s greatest Dreamcast and arcade titles. Lisle also tells us about her correspondence work and her acting work on Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation with Bill Murray.

Then, George and Barry discuss the recent news of SEGA of America’s restructuring, dissecting SEGA Sammy’s official document to figure out what exactly we can expect in the future from SEGA. So what are you doing still reading this? We have a special guest and big SEGA news! Click play and enjoy our 75th show!

Don’t forget to follow Lisle Wilkerson on Twitter and Facebook!

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Swingin’ Report Show #74: Drift Stage – Interview with Super Systems Softworks

The SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show returns for 2015, featuring brand new interviews with talented people connected to and inspired by SEGA! On our 74th show we’re joined by Super Systems Softworks, developers of the 80s and 90s inspired racer Drift Stage. Chase Pettit (Programmer), Charles Blanchard (Art), and Hugh Myrone (Music) talk about the genesis of the project, their inspirations, and their plans for the final version of the game. We also take a trip down memory lane, talking about our favorite and least favorite racing games, as well as memories of SEGA-AM2’s classic OutRun.

Visit Drift Stage’s Kickstarter page, give the demo a try – and if you like what you see, back the game!
Demo: supersystems.itch.io/driftstagealpha
Official Site: driftstagegame.com

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Swingin’ Report Show #73: Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal Interview with Mat Kraemer of Sanzaru Games

This week on the Swingin’ Report Show podcast Barry and George are joined by Mat Kraemer, Lead Designer at Sanzaru Games, developer of Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for the Nintendo 3DS. Topics covered include the development process of the handheld title, how Sanzaru interacted with various teams including the TV show crew and the team at Big Red Button, what Sonic games Sanzaru looked to for inspiration, and Mat’s favorite classic SEGA games and consoles.

There has been a lot of talk about the Sonic Boom franchise this past week, so it was great to sit down with Mat to learn more about how the 3DS game came to be. Hey! Why are you still reading this when you should be listening?

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Swingin’ Report Show #72: Halloween Special featuring The SEGA Fall Lineup

Fall is in the air, the leaves are changing color and new console and PC games are releasing from SEGA! This week on the Swingin’ Report Show podcast, George and Barry look back on SEGA’s scariest games, and discuss the latest current and upcoming SEGA titles. We discuss why The House of the Dead has endured as a franchise for so long, talk SEGA’s most underrated scary titles, share our thoughts on the recently released Alien: Isolation and Bayonetta 2, and celebrate Valkyria Chronicles PC release announcement.

We also look ahead to November, as Barry talks about his experience playing Sonic Boom for Wii U and 3DS at SEGA’s New York event and details the first issue of Archie’s Sonic Boom comic book. November’s console theme month is also revealed, and we tease an upcoming special edition podcast that is going to be Mega fun. Give it a listen and Happy Halloween!

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