Interview with V.O.

Published in Domination #11
Performed by Scare

Hello and welcome to this awesome interview. The public attention focuses on a rather unknown scene profile; don't get me wrong, he can be spotted at every reasonable scene party, only he is more situated in the what-so-ever legal scene. Working on games since the early nineties, rising in his knowledge, he sets very high standards to today's game scenery. Since more than 3 years he's desperately working on his so far biggest, and for sure not last project, one big collection of well-designed and user-friendly code, decent graphics and last not least one hell of a story and background. The talk is about V.O. of PLUSH, and the announced game is CRAZY NEWS.

Hi Stefan, nice you agreed on that interview. I'll keep it traditional in the beginning, so please tell us some personals you think are important or extravagant and don't forget to give us your development in this one and only scene.

Well, IRL: Stefan Kluge, born in '77, student of computing science, a big fan of bikes, boobs and bitches, wheelies, drifts and races and mountain biking to the Earth's wrongest places. Ok, something about my scene entry. Centuries ago Cosowi/Plush told me to come to a Plush Party, because he loved my really old game "Kampf der Genies", which was released on the Game On magazine - good old days... At this time I spent my time in some better not mentioned "groups", but a few Plush Parties later I entered this coolest group on Earth.
I started my C64 career with some small games and useless tools. Really no busting stuff, but some guys seem to like old styled games. There are still dudes ringing me up after playing "Kampf der Genies", although it's about thousands of years old.
I'm not one of these "hell I have to be the best best  best one" guys, having fun is the only reason for computing. Attend some Plush Parties and you know what I'm speaking about! Guess nothing will change that in the future. What about a talk in 40 years again?

Could you give us a list of your released games to date?

Not too many...
"Kampf der Genies" - 2nd place in a Game On competition

 "Shopping AG" - hell, this BASIC/Assembler mix entered the Game On charts at the 7th place, higher than Maniac Mansion :-)

 "On Ice" - first I wanted to sell it to Cherry Software, but you know the lamer story of Newscopy and his so called software company.  Hmm, that's all so far.

After having seen one early preview of CRAZY NEWS approximately 2 years ago many dudes wondered who was behind this promising project. I anticipate your game will blast the German market one last time, a review in the German magazine 64'er entitled it as "best simulation" on the C64 ever. What is so special about it and why did it take that long to finish it?

Yeah, it will blast the market, but I hope not for the last time. I.e., have you heard about the Turrican 3 project? It rocks my socks, I can assure you! About Crazy News, I could talk a lot like "really best simulation" and stuff, but if the game is ready it will speak for itself. There are a lot of goodies; the game is a bit like Mad TV or Mad News on Amiga, but better of course - on a C64. 2 Players can play it at the same time on a split screen as enemies or in team mode or 1 Player against the computer.
The game is almost finished, but you know about the fucking last per cent. Last year my time was stolen by the army, and now I'm fighting with my studies. I'm still waiting for the close of the term. You can order CRAZY NEWS at my address for 30 DM.

Do you have in mind to create an English version, too?

Will see, I wanna do an English one, but I will have to spend some more time on it - guess the crackers are too lazy to make a good translation.

That gives me the next keyword. What about the crackers; I know commercial game programmers are not too friendly towards these dudes. Do you have a copy protection in CRAZY NEWS?

Up to now I haven't had real problems with those guys, because I always got paid in advance before the games were sold, so I didn't care about some intro links. I'd really appreciate a cracker who removes a copy protection or whatever and sends the crack to the coder of the game at first, waits some months for that the game gets sold and then spreads his work. Just to show that he is able to. Kinda sports, I mean.
However, you can't take all crackers for one, there is nothing lamer than the just intro-linking, bug-involving, first-releasing guys, but it's really cool to improve an old game like making it REU supporting. There aren't many of the charactered, talented legends of the elder days around. Most of today's crackers are Action Replay crackers who reach their borders by one-filed games. I remember a top spot cracker who wasn't able to release "Shopping AG", which doesn't have any protection.
CRAZY will have some protection, but the best one is the size of the game. IMHO, in a good crack the translation shouldn't be missed, and who is * crazy * enough to translate this giant project?
And, by the way, I can't imagine that anyone is too poor to buy a game for 30 DM, and believe me, you will love the manual. So I'm not anxious of some cracks. A bigger problem is that there are for sure some lame crackers who let out some graphics, involve bugs, crash the end-sequence and stuff, just to bring out a crack - and other dudes think the game coder is the one to blame.

Apart from all this commercial stuff you are a scener and you didn't only produce games, but also contributed to the bread case in other ways...

Hmm, of coz parties are cool, but I guess I'm too lame to code some demo parts. Watching demos on the big screen and crying into PC lamer's ears if a donut starts to rotate kicks, too. I remember I took part in a gfx compo some time ago at the Convention '96. The compo wasn't split into different systems, so you had to beat the true-colour render stuff of the PCs and Amigas. Well, I made 3rd there with a biker pic in Koala format (the location was kinda biker-club, guess that was the reason).

Your handle, V.O., is there a story behind?

It would take millions of years to tell it completely, but to shorten it: In all my games there are 7 old, big boobs loving, partying [V]illage [O]ldest. That's it.

Scene-wise and privately, what are your favourites?

game: hell, hundreds of - MANIAC MANSION, JUMPMAN JUNIOR and lotsa more
coder: THE MASTER was funky
graphician: ELECTRIC's chix are like dick-busting
musician: what about JEROEN TEL
demo group: PLUSH sounds cool, eh?
swapper:  I never really cared about the way I got my stuff
cracker: what the hell is a cracker?
cracking group: what the hell is a group? 0 - ok, the newer ones who improve old games have my sympathy
magazine: REVEALED was cool for coders

The really interesting stuff...

food: PIZZA, or what the hell did you think?
drink: O-SAFT burns your arid throat, and COFFEE of coz
actor/actress: MEL GIBSON, LOUIS DE FUNES and of coz SOPHIE MARCEAU!
girl: check out Sophie's face, Sophie's body, Sophie's
moves... wow, guess I'm dreaming...
music: elder stuff like ROCK 'N ROLL, CLASSIC is cool too, and all the C64 TUNES
TV series: V - THE VISITORS, was that cult!?
magazine: all motor- and mountain biking stuff
book: hmm, the only book I read during the past 10 years was like "Ottman, Widmayer: Algorithmen und Datenstrukturen" and it wasn't that interesting, but wait - what about the C64 manual, it was great!
webpage: check this out...

What do you say when I say...

Funtus McTuntus:  Old McEgghead
Army: I never lift up the soap!
Party: PLUSH!
Drugs: Pulp Fiction rulez, Bob Marley lives, legalize it (but who really cares about the legality...)

One might be keen on getting in touch with you, some may have questions, and others could want to order your game...

Reach me at:
Stefan Kluge
phone: +49/341/422XXX
 (V.O. Productions homepage)

Any last comment, advice or just some greetings..?

Greetings to Russ Mayer and all the patient customers who are waiting for CRAZY NEWS. Coz 8 bits are still enough...

Many thanks for sharing your personality with us.

You're welcome.


Wasn't like a real business interview, but different to former times the game producers of today are sceners and no bored commercial programmers who do it all for the money. Be sure to catch V.O. at the upcoming Mekka+Symposium and don't forget to order CRAZY NEWS. I'm really curious who releases it as first. Some known German cracker already stated: "I do crack CRAZY NEWS, also if I have to take a holiday for it!" - As usual, time will tell.

Scare / Active, January 1998