Operator of Hozer Videogames, Randy Crihfield distributes
homebrew games for the Atari 2600, and more.
Hozer Video Games primarily distributes copies of difficult to
obtain games for the Atari 2600 and NES, as well as homebrew creations.
How did you initially get involved?
RC> I started making games because even back in the mid 80's
there were games that were just not easy to find. Things like
Glib, and hey even original works by people, stuff
I wish I had not trashed years ago by accident. People were always
looking for a game or two and I was happy to make them a copy.
There wasn't such a value on the games as a collectors item, rather
people wanted carts to PLAY, which I wholeheartedly support!
How does it feel to be the biggest homebrew cartridge maker?
Ha ha - Someone else asked me this, too. I have a lot of pride
in my work, I may not be writing original works but I make available
as carts stuff that many people would never see otherwise. I do
something that almost no one else does in the world, and in fact
other than dabbling I really DO have a corner on the market. Every
so often someone sends me mail taunting me that they are going
to go into full scale production, but it never happens. Since
I don't do this to make a profit, really, and it's just for fun,
it's hard for anyone to beat my prices. I eek these things out
between football games and boy scout meetings, church bible studies
and nights out with my wife. In short, I can make these carts
and live a normal life, too. I am always tickled when friends
come up to me and say "Hey, there is this big classic game following
and some guy is making carts, you should check it out" and I just
laugh. Up in Plaistow, NH, I went in to buy some commons and the
guy and I got to talking about these homebrew carts. I told him
I was the one that made them and he was like "Yeah, sure." Really
made me laugh. One of my interns at work was looking around on
the web and saw my name on all these classic game sites. He was
like "Do you know this guy who has the same name as you?" So see
I can't take myself seriously as "the biggest homebrew cart maker"
when no one else does!
The games that Hozer releases all give credit to the original
creators. Is > > this in tribute to the original Activision practice?
You betcha! As it says on my web page, I want these guys to get
their ego's stoked. I send them royalty checks and when I do I
send them the name and address of everyone who has ever bought
one of their carts. I want them to be excited about writing more
games, which makes them more famous, which makes them want to
write more games... and all the while they are making more games
for me to play. Besides, how can anyone complain about me making
even a few bucks profit off their work when I am plastering their
name all over it? Someone years ago sent me this mail that was
like "I see you are now making carts from the game I wrote and
released in the public domain. I feel like a success now that
you are finding my game worthy of selling" This really made my
day! I really want these guys to know that there are many of us
who appreciate their efforts.
Bob Colbert and others cite that they simply do not have the time
to create the ample amount of cartridges that are in demand. So,
they allow you to do so. How do you find time to produce over
two dozen separate titles?
And the list is growing. Well, like I said I am apt to make the
carts on demand, in between my very normal life, so I never feel
like I am "under the gun". It's great visting us on cart-peeling
day, where I have my wife and son sitting down watching a movie
with me and we are all peeling carts for reuse. We have had friends
drop in and I know they left thinking we were very, very disturbed!
But I can solder up carts while playing board games or other things
with my family. Even the desoldering iron is not noisy enough
to ruin a good movie, and that thing really grunts when its in
Approximately how many copycarts and homebrews do you create?
About 36 regularly, but I have made just about anything that is
uncommon or better on rarity. Since you gave me these questions
to answer and now about 6 more titles have been released or are
about to be. And everyone is willing to work with me on getting
a royalty agreement set up, or at least getting me a label/docs
that goes with their game. I really love this. I used to have
to do it all: design the labels, write the docs. Now I have people
who don't write games but love to make up professional labels,
and pubs people always wanting to make games better by writing
up docs. My work on that end is the most un-fun, and finally is
getting much easier.
What are Hozer Videogames most requested titles?
Edtris, no doubt. Hundreds sold. Usually everyone
wants everything, so they ask me what I suggest, which is This
Planet Sucks (TPS) of course. That game rocks! It all
goes in waves, though. Everyone wanted a copy of Coke Wins
when it was a topic of conversation in the newsgroup. Lately I
could be making up 20 copies of A Better Pac-Man
and I am confident they would be sold in a month or two, as it's
a hot title. I really sell lots of everything, including protos
from Atari like Crazy Climber or Dukes of
What are your personal favorite homebrew titles? Why?
TPS as mentioned above. I stink at all video games,
so of course that is why I build them, to finally have mastery
over them, but TPS is especially rewarding when
I snag up those dumb people and carry them to safety. Dumb not
only for starting a colony on this awful planet, but dumb because
they run under my lander and get crushed/burned. I am almost glad
to smash them and lose the game, that cynical streak in me just
gets tickled to see their thrashing bodies. And I of course like
Hozer Quest, that's the vanity in me!
Who was the leader of the Gobots?
This was a joke question to keep Randy on his toes. Obviosly,Randy
didn't know the answer.
The first GDG reader
that can answer this question correctly, will receive a FREE $10
and have their name listed here! Fame & Fortune!!!!
- WE have a WINNER! CONGRATULATIONS to Jess Ragan!
The REAL Donkey Kong is simply hilarious. Whose
idea was it to alter the gorilla graphic sprite into an actual
donkey? Did you make this adaption?
I don't know who did this, but I should. It was sent to me by
the author a long time ago but I lost the mail and I simply forgot
who it was. No one has ever come forward to claim to have done
it. You know there are a lot of people who have improved the games
because they looked so bad. There are many Space Invader
remakes, I mentioned A Better Pac-Man above, and
the list goes on. Sometimes they send the image to me, other times
a mutual friend with shoot it my way. I am highly confident that
there are MANY games out there that have been cleaned up and altered
by people that I have never seen yet. I wish I could get them
What future developments can we look forward to?
You probably know Thrust is close to being done.
Pressure Gauge 2 was under way for a while. I would
love to see the owners of these one of a kind protos let them
get dumped and shared with everyone, and I have several people
in the works who are thinking about doing just that. I hate the
idea of just one person having a copy of some cart and then it
being lost forever. There is no need for that to happen!
publishing new and altered games, Hozer Videogames give new life
to our antiquated favorites. Good Deal Games salutes Mr. Crihfield
for taking time to release his (and others) homebrew creations.
questions? E-mail Randy.