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Eugeneology: An Interview with Eugene Jarvis
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Eugeneology: An Interview with Eugene Jarvis

May 18, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 7 of 7


Do you find that people know you more for your legacy stuff than for your current work?

EJ: You know, I think so.

Does that bother you?

EJ: It's funny. As people get older, they always think of the games of their youth. It's kind of like the songs of your youth. The whole video game thing was new in the '80s. It was like the birth of rock'n roll, or the birth of cable TV. It was a big deal, and it made such a huge impression. Some of the newer kids who are a fan of the Cruis'n games I did at Midway, or The Fast and the Furious, Target Terror, or Big Buck Hunter, will remember those games. It's like a generational thing. You remember the games from your youth. A young kid who is into The Fast and the Furious might not have even heard of Defender. It's just like, "Whatever."

Some of us are snobbish and don't approve of people not having heard of Defender, but I guess there's nothing you can do about that. Except with the Xbox Live Arcade and the Virtual Console with all the old stuff coming back.

EJ: That is cool. I always think that MAME has been a wonderful thing, too, in preserving the heritage of games. Graphics have moved on and gameplay has moved on, but it's fun to see and play [old games] and see the history of the business. It's a history lesson that's great entertainment in its own right.

What do you enjoy about making games that's made you stay in the business? It's still a hard market.

EJ: It's a challenge. It's a challenge of making something, putting a smile on someone's face, or seeing a kid get excited about your game. There's nothing better than seeing some kids playing Target Terror and laughing when you shoot a guy in the balls and he crumples over. For a designer, that's the ultimate reward, seeing people enjoying your game and fighting over who puts in the next quarter.

Ultimately, it's all about shooting guys in the balls.

EJ: [laughs] But yeah, that's the challenge. I think in the back of the heads of all game designers, once your design becomes a reality, no matter how good it is, [you want to make it better]. I mean, look at Will Wright. The guy has done SimCity and The Sims, and other amazing stuff. But now he's killing himself doing this Spore game. He wants to do the ultimate game. It's not enough to have 10 million people playing his games, he wants 100 million people playing his games. It's that never-ending challenge to make the killer game.

I feel like everyone's too afraid of sensationalism these days.

EJ: I think the problem is the budget. The smaller the budget, the more outrageous you can be. It's like with the big-budget Hollywood stuff; it's typically not that controversial. It's the lower-budget films that will take the risks, and it's the same thing in the games business.

I love doing this (game) stuff, and I always want to do something that will push it further and further. I'm always trying to duplicate the success of Defender. It's like I'm kind of doomed to never have that level of success again, and I keep dreaming.

It's possible! There aren't a lot of guys out there willing to push the envelope, and you seem like you're still ready to do it at some point. I'm still waiting to see what you come out with.

EJ: Alright, hopefully I won't disappoint you!

Article Start Previous Page 7 of 7

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