Eurogamer: As a fan of Defender and Robotron designer Eugene Jarvis, you wrote on your blog during development that you approached things from a perspective of What Would Jarvis Do?
Jeff Minter: [Laughs] Absolutely. The whole thing came about because I'd been invited to a R3play retro expo event in Blackpool. I promised I'd have something to show when I went up there, and realised I didn't have anything to show.
So I thought, I'll stick some stuff in a game engine and get something going to show there. The whole theme of doing things in a very retro style seemed to sit with that exhibition I was going to.
At first I was just thinking of doing the one game, but it started to look really nice. I really liked how the Atari VCS graphics were looking on the iDevices. Even though they're chunky graphics, when you make them glow with the feedback effect it starts to look really cool.
So I thought, why not make a series out of this and do various versions of iconic old hardware styles? A lot of people remember those things quite fondly, so you get to play with the same styles but without having to suffer the same limitations of that hardware.
In making them, I was just trying to think as a designer of the day would have been thinking. You know: what kind of games would have influenced a designer making a game back then, and how you could fit those influences together to make something which obviously evokes certain other games but is its own entity in its own right.
I think a lot of people were doing this same process even back then. If you think about Eugene Jarvis himself, I'm sure he must have looked at Berzerk before he made Robotron. But he had a bit more power than Berzerk had, and a crazy imagination for putting loads of shit on the screen, and it came out as Robotron.
I think it was a process that was quite common back then, and I just basically wanted to do the same thing now.
Eurogamer: Is it a useful process to design in character, to try and channel another designer's ideas?
Jeff Minter: It's interesting. These days I tend to be a little less brutal than Eugene was, but what I want to give people the feeling of is that wonderful feeling of when you were actually mastering one of Eugene's games. That feeling you got when everything was kicking off, and there were explosions going off everywhere.
But I wanted to make that more accessible to people who would perhaps be rather more intimidated by his stuff.
Eurogamer: You've announced on Twitter that you're working on the next Minotaur game: is there anything you can say about it yet?
Jeff Minter: It's not going to be that long before I reveal it, as I only intend to spend about a month on each of these projects. I don't want to give away just yet what I'm actually going to be doing, as I want it to be a bit of a surprise. Again, though, it's based on certain iconic old hardware, and there's one particular old game that it's themed around.
I'll be releasing a couple of little spoilers in a few weeks, but I want to tease people with it now. Now I've managed to get a bit of attention for the Minotaur project, I should probably tease people.