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INTERVIEW
Valter Prette

The makeINTVgame! operation has expanded and now has several
new brands to support the growing Intellivision retro-gaming scene!

 

MT> Why do you have such interest and passion for the Intellivision console?
VP> The Intellivision was my first console ever. I was young that time and honestly it was not my request to receive a game console for Christmas. I wasn't even used to arcades. The Intellivision was a surprise for me, a kind of shock: I just start playing and after that day, I never stopped.

MT> Are you a retrocollector in general?
VP> After the Inty, I did become a C64 collector, then Amiga fan, and now I collect almost every major console, from Vectrex to PS2. Thanks to Intellivision that started all. My preferred system of all time is the Amiga, but as retrocollector I must mention Vectrex as the first choice. I also like emulation, and appreciate the amazing offerings towards emulation on the PSP.


MT> How did you begin the IntellivisionWorld project?
VP> That is curious… After longtime thinking about a remake of my precedent web site makeINTVgame, that was dismissed due to my work load… I was in my office, connected to internet and looking around for news on Intellivision sites. I found intellivisionworld.com, just opened by Pierluca Bianchi and I was surprised to find such site to be made in Italy!! I contacted Pierluca the same day and we decide to collaborate. After then, I took back all my contacts and start working hard to do something much more important and difficult than my first attempt: it was just the right moment to do this because I did understand that the Intellivision underground was dispersed and several historical web sites (like Giga Intellivision) where closing!


MT> Why are so few games for Intellivision being released?
VP> There are two major issues: the technical aspect and the economic aspect. Technically, the Intellivision is more complex to program than a VCS2600, so there are not as many casual developers that make the effort to learn the process. When you have to move to the hardware, you discover that producing Inty carts is much more difficult and more expensive than VCS2600, due to a non standard chipset and voltage. In fact, you need to study new chipset architecture or to license the one made by Chad Shell for the Intellicart. Even resolving the technical problems, you have to face the cost of your cartridge will be very high, surely too much for a single prototype cart. You need to produce hundreds of carts to lower the costs. This is the same problem we have at Elektronite: the games we plan to develop will probably result in a loss of money for us, instead of a rewarding project…


MT> Which is the most difficult issue you have to face in developing Inty games?
VP> Finding developers that have enough time! We can approximately consider 8-10 developers available worldwide for homebrew games, and most of them have very little free time. Also, as I said, the high cost of production! In fact, if we consider those difficulties, it looks kind of crazy to get involved in Intellivision development.


MT> Why the name Elektronite?
VP> Because we want to give the impression that a new energy is given to the Inty underground. We want to give the idea that our products are explosive: not just casual demos, but professional work that will surprise the collectors.

MT> What you plan to do by founding Elektronite?
VP> We have basically five guidelines:

- Contact as many developers as possible around the world and convince them to collaborate with us.
- Build up a online laboratory and tech newsgroup for developers, where to share infos and experiences to produce tools that we want to deliver to everyone interested in programming the Inty
- Collaborate with professional painters and graphic designers to produce box arts, advertising and web arts that remind the original quality
- Reengineering of the hardware production process and especially find out a cheap solution to produce cart shells, that are a major bottleneck at the moment.
- Obtain copyrights for classic games from the software houses, and port as many as possible to Inty. For this marketing process I'm working very hard, and the first results are finally there thanks to Llamasoft and Cinemaware.

MT> Which games are you considering for development?
VP> There are many titles that I'm working for. My first step is to contact original developer to have infos and technical help. The second step is to find the actual owner of the copyrights of the game, and call them to ask permission to officially develop the game.

At the moment, we obtained permission/copyrights for Hover Bovver, Gridrunner, Attack of Mutant Camels, Defender of the Crown and Monster Masher. Many more are under discussion with softcoms: I can say some titles, but please consider those are still "marketing in process": we may start working on them, or we may not. Some titles are: Lode Runner, MULE, Archon, The Pawn, Quest for the Rings, Civilization. There are several more that I'm not allowed to speak about at the moment.

Of course we do not intend to develop only classic games: we are interested in new game design, and that's why we affiliate with the Minigame Compo, to push people propose their ideas.

MT> How many people are working with you on this project?
VP> The people that worked on this project from the beginning are just me and Pierluca Bianchi. We take care of the web site, news, graphics, marketing and legal issues.

A few months after opening, we started a constant collaboration with David Harley, who provides me with much info, mail contacts and the extraordinary contents of the Intellivision Library that we plan to integrate in the web site. This guy is a never ending help for me. This is all.

Off course there must be people to develop: for the game development, I have daily contact with several programmers, that will work on the games according to their time schedule: my role is to find interesting project to propose them. We also started a collaboration with Intelligentvision for the hardware issues, and this was somehow mandatory since those guys, and J.Zbiciak in particular, are simply the major expert worldwide about eprom assembling for this console. For so few people there is a huge amount of work to do complete, but we are passionate and we believe in this project.

Have questions? E-mail Valter
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PREVIOUS 2003 INTERVIEW

MT> There have been many new releases recently for multiple classic consoles: Vectrex, Atari 2600, Colecovision, Odyssey2, Lynx, and the Jaguar. The Intellivision seems to be untouched until now. Why do you think this is?
VP> Most of the releases we are speaking about come from single person that makes games on theirown, in a "garage style" setting. They are strictly interested in the system they appreciated more when they were just game players. To program an Intellivision board is not so easy and people who weren't involved with it are more attracted by the system they had in youth. Well, I should say the same for me, relating to Intellivision, which is my preferred system of any time... Some time ago I did ask Sean Kelly, producer of the multicarts, and John Dondzila, maker of new games for Vectrex and Colecovision, if they planned something for Intellivision, but they answered that they are not intending to do so. The making of an Intellivision cartridge seems to be a bit more technically difficult and a bit more expensive.

The Lynx and Jaguar market is different, by the way, and supported by professional software houses that sold games to enthusiast collectors for higher prices.

I hope to push a similar market for Intellivision, but for a lower price. To be honest, I dream to see Intellivision's products and other classic systems come back to shops sometime in the future, when the retrocollector mania has grown enough out there.

MT> You've been personally collecting classic games for over a decade. What renewed your personal interest, and is it this hobby that inspired you to start the makeINTVgame! project?
VP> My interest to videogames never stopped. I'm still collecting new systems like N64, Saturn, Playstation and Playstation2. I'm really excited by the Playstation phenomenon, which is the first example of a "social ring, made up of people of very different ages using same language and getting closer each other.

My inspiration for this project, and other future projects, is mostly my retrocollector background. I admire people that do not forget the past -- when this industry was not just a billion dollar market for big companies, but a new, undiscovered world, and the place where people like Jeff Minter, Ron Hubbard and David Crane could express their genius. I feeI I should contribute to this idea.

MT> Valter, you are a computer science engineer. Does this qualify you to create new Intellivision games yourself? Do you have any plans of creating games for the Intellivision, or do you plan to operate makeINTVgame! by having software houses create the sole programs?
VP> Yes, I have some technical knowledge, and many ideas about videogames. I see most of games today as boring and not original at all. That is why I'd like to be game designer. If you think about this, you can see the majority of products use older concepts coming from the Amiga or '80's golden age.

Few companies, like Sony Japan or Activision, sometimes test the market with new approach.

I think classic systems are the best to develop new ideas. You cannot spend large portins of time for graphics or music, since you do not have huge memory to use. You have to spend time creating brilliant gameplay. I want to make Intellivision games myself in the future, but right now it is much more inportant for me to push software houses create them. I have to understand how far we can go.


MT> Currently, makeINTVgame!, is in the early stages. Meaning, surveys are being taken, and developers/publishers are being gathered. Any approximations as to when an official statement will be made concerning definite plans?
VP> This is really up to Intellivision owners. I need hundreds of signatures to convince software houses start developing. They need to know they are not spending time without having a return on their money back. This should appear very difficult to do, but I have many ideas to push the project, and I'd like to involve non-professional programmers making rom games and ask software houses to produce them in cartridge. makeINTVgame! should be a game promoter and game tester. If the software houses can get "ready to use games" the cost of development will be reduced approximately 40%.

MT> Will the new games consist of original new titles, "clone" games, or altered hacks of existing games? Or a combination?
VP> New games, and some clones should be done, since some interesting games were never released for the Intellivision (I think about Activision's HERO, for example)

MT> Is there a targeted price point for makeINTVgame! brand games?
VP> I believe the target should be $25, but in the beginning the price will be higher..

MT> You are also a rabid fan of the most popular sport in the world - Football, known in the states as Soccer. Any plans on creating a superior version of this fine sport for a future Intellivision release?
VP> I was surprised playing World Cup Soccer for Intellivision. It is quite a great soccer title and probably the best penalty simulation ever. I think what lacks to Intellivision is a Dino Dini's Kick Off style soccer game...

MT> Whom should one contact if they choose to offer help or interest in the makeINTVgame! project?
VP> Contact me, Valter, at vprette@hotmail.com

If you want give your signature go to the makeINTVgame! Webpage and JOIN the project.

Thanks to everyone who will help me and thanks a lot to you for this interview.
                                      
MT> Of course, and thank you!


Good Deal Games wishes Valter Prette the best of luck and success with this venture.
Help show your support, and perhaps with the strength of numbers,
We'll be playing new titles on our antiquated Intellivisions, soon!

Upon Fruition, Good Deal Games WILL BE STOCKING makeINTVgame! titles!

 

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