For our series of interviews with people from various websites related to the unseen development of videogames, this time we got in contact with CRV, founder of the Game Developer Research Institute, an organization dedicated to researching gaming companies and their employee. With over 100 company entries and over 25 interviews, the GDRI archive is one of the best place to learn more about obscure studios and their works. In this unseen interview we talk about the GDRI site, contacts with developers and games preservation.
U64: Thanks for your time Smsgenny, would you like to introduce your site to our readers?
CRV: GDRI (Game Developer Research Institute) is a website/organization started back in 2006 that is dedicated to researching the companies and people involved in game development. We try to figure out who did what
U64: Why did you decide to open an archive about popular and obscure developers?
CRV: Well, I wouldn’t say we have a lot of popular developers. The primary reason the site was started was to find out more information about contract development companies that received little or no credit. That has been our specialty.
U64: How did you get in contact with those developers?
CRV: Mostly through e-mail. We’ve talked to some developers through the Japanese social networking site Mixi and YouTube. We’ve also asked questions to developers who’ve posted on forums.
U64: Is it hard to organize / moderate a wiki based site?
CRV: It’s not that hard to moderate the site since there aren’t many people on it. Organizing is another matter; there’s just so much stuff.
U64: Do you think that’s could be useful to preserve some media and info about games that we’ll never be able to play?
CRV: Yes. Not only is it a subject of interest to myself and others, but it is a part of video game history and should be researched.
U64: Do you have any favourite game?
CRV: I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite.
U64: Do you have any favourite cancelled game?
CRV: I like Telepathy for the Atari 2600. It was a demo for the ill-fated Mindlink controller, but I think it stands up on its own. It looks good, sounds good, and it’s fun. I also like Drac’s Night Out and Time Diver: Eon Man for the NES.
U64: How do you see the gaming market in the current economic crisis?
CRV: I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on today’s gaming market, but to relate this to GDRI, I would assume economic downturns make outsourcing game development a more viable option.
U64: In some of GDRI’s interviews we can read about previously unknown canceled games that could have been forgotten without your researches: did you ever try to ask to developers to share some media (screens, videos, concepts) from those unseen projects?
CRV: I don’t recall asking to actually see anything. I guess I don’t feel comfortable doing that despite my “If I don’t ask, I won’t find out” attitude/OCD (the latter of which I think causes me to ask a lot of questions). I usually leave it to the interviewee to want to show me stuff.
U64: Do you know if there’s any Japanese website that try to preserve the history of gaming development in the same way as GDRI or U64?
CRV: I suppose Developer Table, the original inspiration for GDRI, fits the bill. It’s basically just lists of companies and their games.
U64: How do you see the future of gaming preservation? It seems that right now most of the work to save the history of gaming development is produced online, by fans, collectors and independent gamers.
CRV: That’s true. It would be nice to see a university or something step up and do something, but I don’t foresee that happening in the immediate future. I’ve imagined GDRI becoming an actual organization.
U64: What do you think about U64? How could we improve the current Unseen Archive?
CRV: I like it. I can’t really think of anything that could be improved.
U64: Do you think game developers should be more open about things and or concepts that never made it to the final product? As sort of a tip for indie devs who would benefit from learning the mistakes of their idols in the field?
CRV: Yes. More openness is good.
U64: On a more general note, do you think comparisons in ideas such in this would benefit the gaming community as a whole?
CRV: Couldn’t hurt.
U64: Well, that was the last question, thanks again for your time! Is there any messages you would like to tell our readers?
CRV: Please visit and browse GDRI and please contribute.