Beautifun Games

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The BeautiFun Team Stories - Marcos Sueiro - Programmer - Part I/II

This week we start our interview with Marcos Sueiro, 25 year-old programmer, music and sports lover. But above all, a passionate game developer who is everyday trying to improve his skills as much as he can. In this first part of the interview you will discover about Marcos favourite games and next week we will cover his short but intense career in the video games and IT industry.

Jesús: Where did you grow up and how you got introduced to video games?

Marcos: I was raised in a mid-class neighborhood at Cerdanyola del Vallès, a small city near Barcelona where I still live with my girlfriend. When I was a small kid I always wanted to have a video game console, but there was no way to convince my parents. Until one time we went to visit my uncle, who lives in Madrid, and was really into games. He had a Super Nintendo with Street Fighter, also took me to visit the arcades for the first time, my life was not the same after that trip.

My uncle was the person who got me hooked, and when I got back home I didn't stop insisting my parents until they bought me a console. It was the SEGA Mega Drive (Genesis), I was barely 8 years old but I knew the cartdridges were notably cheaper than SNES ones. The console came with a pack of four games, Sonic, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage and Revenge of Shinobi. Shinobi was the first game that really got me playing for endless hours, the game demaned all my attention, the music had lots of energy. There was a time when I couldn't go out for a long time, so when I came back I played, also when there was bad weather. My mother always says I wear glasses due to that game.

By your words I understand that games weren't so much of their interest, but have your parents ever tried any of them?

My mother has never played a video game and I think that was one of the main reasons why she critizised them so much back then. My father played a few games when the first Playstation came out, mainly racing games like Colin Mc Rae Rally, but in general games were seen as a waste of time at home back then. In the last years, after they saw me studying how hard it is to create them (buying and reading many books about it, etc), they have started to respect them much more. Even my mother is now playing games like Plants vs Zombies or Cut the Rope on her Android tablet.

What did you play with before having your first video game console?

I could say my childhood can easily summarize when I see the park in front of my flat and my school, which was a couple of blocks away from home. I played football with some friends in a small street next home, when I got the console we alternated playing videogames while eating sunflower seeds. It was also very common for us to watch cartoon series as Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, Conan the Barbarian, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, King Arthur and the Knights of Justice, Dragon Ball or Digimon.

And which one of that series marked you the most?

It would be hard to decide among Dragon Ball and Digimon, I loved both. Remember I watched them when I arrived home for lunch during the mid-day and then I headed to school early only to have thirty minutes the daily episode with some friends. I clearly remember the neverending fightings in Dragon Ball, was very curious in the series of that time to see how time passed by really slow. I think in that was improved in the series made during the nineties since they handled that issue much better, but on the other hand, I don't know why I remember the characters of those more primitive series as more charismatic.

Lets talk about your gaming habits in your first years. Did you enjoy more playing alone or with friends?

Except for a few games as Micromachines, Mortal Kombat or Streets of Rage, that sometimes I played along with my brother o a friend, I mostly played alone. It has been only recently when I have started playing with my friends. In the last decade that habit translated into playing shooters everynight with my friends, like Halo 3 on my XBOX 360.

How were you, back at that time, as a student?

I have always practiced some sport or extra activity after the school, soccer, basketball, swimming, even painting and sculpture. In school I was quite naughty, used to have troubles with the teachers but at the same time I passed the exams, that pissed off some of my teachers because they saw how their reprimands were useless. As a funny anecdote I remember me and a few friends threwing down the banister, climbing walls and walking on high and risky places in school,we tried to imitate everything we saw on movies.

We talked about cartoons, but what about movies?

My father and I we used to watch the local Catalan TV where they played tons of American action movies during weekends. Cannot forget classics like Robocop, Indiana Jones or Starwars. Especially I remember how impacting for me Starwars was, never saw such a complex sci-fi universe, the only thing I had to compare it with were westerns of medieval movies. In school we played some of the combat scenes like if it was a Star Wars movie, Han Solo was my favourite character by far.
In recent times, I sometimes stop to think especially about the violence depicted in those movies, Robocop in particular. I don't know how I could put up with such amount of gore in that film. But I didn't care, I jumped on the sofa everytime there was a film starred by Schwartzenegger, Van-Damme or Stallone. I know there wasn't any deep message behind most of those movies, but I loved the character, the music, and the sometimes crappy special effects.

Which music did you enjoy during the that time?

When I was nine I got a Walkman from my family, there I listened the pop of that time, Aqua's Barbie Girl, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, sometimes I wonder how I could listen to such vulgar music, but you know, I had no experience and followed the recommendations of my classmates. After that era I listened to what we called Makina music, that is hardcore, techno and progressive music. Everyone in class wanted to reach the minimum age to enter the discoteques and that was the path to follow. The next era for me was defined by Nu Metal and its powerful guitars, with Linkin Park, Papa Roach, started to listen that kind of music after watching Impossible Mission and buying the soundtrack. That took me to learn to play the guitar and research about some of the most relevant guitar players in the world, discovering their bands I also got to enjoy Thrash Metal, Hard Rock. Nowadays I can listen to everything that has to do with Rock and AOR and sounds nice.

Let's continue with your gaming history. Which platform did you had after Mega Drive?

On Mega Drive I enjoyed Gunstar Heroes, a fast paced wild action shooter with a lot of variety of weapons and scenarios. Sonic had a great music and that speed fascinated me, also the game has a lot of characteristic elements that help me to fondly remember it, like the formula of two stages and a final enemy that needs 8 hits to be killed. The only thing I disliked was the water stages, it was so slow and a bit desperating to handle, also that backwards counter managed to increase the anguish.

Until I bought my next console, a Playstation One, I spent many years of playing arcade games with my friends in my neighborhood. In those places I made a lot of great friendships I still keep until today. Remember in the arcades I saw games I loved and was impossible for me to ever play at home, like Marvel vs. Capcom (1 and 2), King of Fighters 95, Metal Slug, House of the Dead, Tumblepop. I enjoyed a lot the competition with other players to see who can get further with only one credit.

During that time of arcade gaming I had my first computer, it came with Duke Nukem 3D but my father didn't let me play it for many years! He claimed it had too much blood and hated the idea I could throw money at streaper girls, heh. It was funny fact to see that game caming along with the computer as part of a suite of discs like an encyclopedia or other educational discs to learn about maths or nature, etc. But I finally did it, will never forget the day I played Duke Nukem 3D, it was my first FPS and got absolutely shocked. There were tons of freeware games published by Apogee Software back then, Jazz JackRabbit, F-22 Raptor, One Must Fall, Wacky Wheels, Biomenace, Secret Agent, etc. Later on I got very much into strategy games with Starcraft. I loved its atmosphere, was one of the first games with story that I played. Was amazed at its video introductions before each level. My love for Blizzard and Starcraft took me to Diablo, a game that introduced me to RPG elements, without leaving any pinch of action aside.

Also enjoyed the turn-based strategy genre, starting with the first Civilization game, I devoted an incalculable number of hours to it, almost to the obsession. Master of Orion was another title I loved, especially recall the art and detail of each race's background story.

After that era I played tons of graphic adventures as Monkey Island 1 and 2, Loom, Day of the Tentacle. I enjoyed a lot the points where you had to use weird objects from the inventory and go for a crazy solution to solve a puzzle. Several times I ended up phoning a friend to ask about what to do in order to progress in the game.

And finally in 1998 I got a Playstation One, was asking for it since it was launched! I could enjoy Crash Bandicoot 3, Final Fantasy VIII, Legend of Dragoon and many others. I remember something I loved from the third Crash game was that it had not only traditional 2D platforming levels, there were also racing stages and other really original genres mixed in.

I tried to play as many different game genres as possible. Suikoden II is one of the few Japanese RPGs I played and probably the one that I liked the most. There were over 100 characters, a very interesting and intricate story, and some strategic elements in the combats. Was very surprised to see that, at one point in the game, you could conquer a castle once you beated a vampire who lived in. Then you could upgrade that castle, so the game turned into kind of a simulator where you could place workers, and they unlocked really funny mini-games.

Since that time when I played on PS One, I'm convinced that consoles are better for me than PC as a gaming platform. I think this opinion has been mainly biased because I didn't have enough money to update my PC and this outdating/obsolescence issue is much of a smaller problem with consoles.

In the last years, I want to remark the XCOM remake, which has been the resurgence of the strategy genre for me, I think many people will see it that way, especially when you played the original XCOM. Bought it on console, but I found it much cheaper on PC and bought it again because it was cheaper if you wait a bit.

I see one of your favourite genres has been FPS, what do you feel about its evolution after all this time?

When I started with FPS, it was my favourite genre, Duke Nukem 3D, then Half Life, Counter Strike, Unreal Tournament. Those multiplayer experiences at cyber-cafes defined what gaming was for me. 
Nowadays things have changed a bit, the amount of titles I find interesting have decreased a lot. I would love to go enthusiastic again, but is hard since most of things I see from big studios is something that has been done already and is hard to find something fresh. A few exceptions I felt in this genre during the last decade were the sagas of Halo, with that open world feeling, and Bioshock, with a very deep immersive atmosphere.

Nevertheless, there is some hope in the indie scene, last FPS I beated was Outlast, a survival horror made by a small team with a huge degree of dedication, very recommendable.

You can get in touch with Marcos on Twitter, he is @Sueythelaw

We will post the second part of the interview soon, stay tuned!

Interview done by our Community Manager /PR @JesusFabre


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