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Randy Crihfield

The Operator of Hozer Videogames, Randy Crihfield distributes
homebrew games for the Atari 2600, and more.

MT> 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!

MT> How does it feel to be the biggest homebrew cartridge maker?
RH> 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!

MT> The games that Hozer releases all give credit to the original creators. Is > > this in tribute to the original Activision practice?
RC> 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.

MT> 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?
RC> 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 use.

MT> Approximately how many copycarts and homebrews do you create?
RH> 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.

MT> What are Hozer Videogames most requested titles?
RC> 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 Hazzard.

MT> What are your personal favorite homebrew titles? Why?
RC> 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!

MT> Who was the leader of the Gobots?
RC> ??!!???!???
*** 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 gift Certificate,
and have their name listed here! Fame & Fortune!!!!

Leader-One - WE have a WINNER! CONGRATULATIONS to Jess Ragan!

MT> 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?
RC> 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 all.

MT> What future developments can we look forward to?
RH> 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!

By 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.

Have questions? E-mail Randy.
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