Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Interview with Paul Andrews

1. Hello and welcome from us at BlitterWolf. For our readers could you tell us your name, country and occupation please?
A. My name is Paul Andrews, and I am one of the directors of Retro Games Ltd, based here in the UK

2. When was your first experience with computers and what were your thoughts?
A. Well I almost had a ZX81 but upgraded it overnight to a 48K Spectrum, but I have been using computers of either mine or my friends and family since back in that period, from the Vic20, C64, BBC and many more, I was part of the generation which grew up in their early teens using computers for the general public for the first time

3. How many, as we call them now, retro systems have you owned in your lifetime?
A. I used to run a retro game online store called Retro Trader, which in its day was the most visited online store for retro games, back in the early internet days, so I can safely say I have pretty much owned most computers and consoles at some point in time!

4. What drew you to the commodore brand and specifically the C64?
A. The C64 was the biggest and best of the computers of its day with some of the coolest graphics and sounds for that period in time, people love it still and so do we!

5. What made you decide on the kickstarter route to fund the new machine?
A. We thought we would test the market and see if people had the same passion for THEC64 as we did, and we did raise $100k on Indiegogo but based on reactions from that, based on what retailers wanted also, we decided the best way to make it happen was to initially create the mini, and then do the full sized version, but to thank Indiegogo and pre-order backers we are giving them a mini as an extra free gift as well as the full sized version ASAP after the mini as well, so I think we have managed to not only fulfil our promises but also be one of the first if not only crowd funders to give massively more than people paid for as well, even if it took us a bit longer than we original anticipated.

6. Could you give some of the specifications of TheC64 and are there any that couldn't be added?
A. Well apart from coming with 64 preinstalled games the really cool thing is that you can also access BASIC and have a go at programming on it as well. This also means you can access external files and games and so on via the USB/Basic function as well. You can plug in an external USB keyboard and program or even use the internal virtual one if you like. We have tried to make it as good for as many types as users as possible.

7. Who decided the number of games and which games to be included on TheC64?
A. It’s the THEC64, it just had to have 64 games on it right!

8. How long has it taken from initial idea to March 29th 2018, release date in UK?
A. It has literally taken us from Q2 2016 till now, it’s a long complicated process and don’t forget we are not just supplying to backers, we are also doing a full rolled out global release so it’s been a massive operation, which apart from the core team of myself, Chris Smith and Darren Melbourne, literally has had tens of people working hard non-stop on this to make it happen on a global scale.

9. What other hardware do you have in the pipeline?
A. I can’t say too much just yet, but let’s just say we have multiple licenses already signed to us, further ones in discussion, and we are very excited and think you guys will be as well when it’s time to reveal what’s next.

10. Have you ever been a member of an computer group and if so when and where?
A. Not a formal one, but many, many nights of my youth were spent with my friends playing and using computers.

11. What are your thoughts about what happened to Commodore?
A. It’s sad to see any brand fragmented, or not carry on as it might of, but in our own way we hope we are keeping it all alive for fans still.

12. Did you have your most favourite played games on Commodore hardware and what were they?
A. On THEC64 we have tried to include some of the best and our favourite games for the system, and also tried to have a variety of them as well. But the fact that external files can be accessed by THEC64 allows for further fun for everyone as well.

13. Best hardware system of all time for you?
A. That’s hard to say, as there have been so many good systems, maybe I can cheat here and say The Jupiter Ace, as I own that brand!

14. Best game of all time for you?
A. Again hard to say, but possible manic miner purely as it set all new standards back in the day and created a bit of a classic that most people remember no matter what computer you had.

15. Do you have a favourite computer magazine past or present?
A. Probably two, Crash, and Zzap.

16. What are your thoughts on other recreated retro platforms such as the Spectrum Next?
A. I know the guys, and have met with Henrich a few times, they are doing a great job, and think it’s a great machine, and of course designed by Rick so it couldn’t get much better in its design!

17. Now with new retro machines being sold again, have you noticed an increase in demand for your products?
A. Nintendo have set the bar quite high with their mini consoles, but I truly believe we have done a great job with THEC64 mini, and the reaction on the whole has been great from the public, time will tell of course!

18. Are there any planned updates for TheC64 in the near future?
A. Yes firmware updates will be available on an ongoing basis ASAP as well.

19. Do you have any thoughts on creating further hardware or software that you feel might please the retro community?
A. We have a lot planned and we are already working with a range of software developers to create new games for older systems, so its something we are already on the case with.

20. Have you anything further to say about your future?
A. We have a lot of plans, and hopefully with the support of the public and the retro community in general we hope we can make a lot of people happy by bringing them products they will want and will love, please keep watching! 

Michael Holmes

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