Monday, 12 November 2012

From The Archives: Cascade Games - Extra Interview

Tony Warriner worked at Cascade for just under a year between 1988 and 89. After leaving, he went on to form Revolution Software with Charles Cecil and Noirin Carmody. I interviewed him for this month's Cascade From the Archives (Retro Gamer issue 109) but unfortunately couldn't find room in the final edit for his contributions. So here's the interview in full.

Hi Tony. How and when did you first start at Cascade? I started work there in, I believe, 1988. As far as I remember, there was an ad for programming jobs, so I thought I'd give it a go. I turned up for an interview with a handful of cassette tape versions of games I'd already coded, and they rang me to offer the job before I had even arrived home.

Which games did you work on and how did you come to work on them?
I only worked on 19 Boot Camp, specifically a couple of the Spectrum mini-games in that package.

What was your view of the industry at the time?
I think fairly positive. I was pretty young, and hadn't really figured it all out, but games seemed like a pretty good thing to be doing. There was a strong belief that you only had to produce something pure and good and fame and riches would flow - not dissimilar to the and app store gold rushes that we witnessed more recently.

And Cascade itself (including its offices, personnel)?
It seemed ok. There was a strange mix of very formal, almost Etonian top down management, alongside the creative all-in-it-together buzz of the development team. To be honest, we didn't see the company owner(s) very often. When they did turn up it was like a royal tour.

Were you involved with Cassette 50 and what was your opinion of it?
I wasn't involved with that, but I understood that it made a lot of money and set the company up.

How do you look back on your time there?
Very positive, as the dev team were very close. It was fun and vibrant, even though, towards the end, the corporate side seemed to be disintegrating. I still talk to the people I'm in contact with.

Do you know what happened to 19: Boot Camp part 2?
I really don't. As I understood it, 19 was the first game in a four product deal with Activision though.

When did you leave Cascade and why?
I left after nine months or so. There was a general feeling amongst the devs that we were being held back, creatively, and that we should regroup and create our own games. However, it wasn't a very well organised retreat, so the team pretty much ended up disbanded and doing separate things, which is a shame. Perhaps we needed a business-savvy leader, after all.

Do you know what happened to Cascade in the end?
I think they kind of pulled it back together again, and tried to do 'proper' software. Maybe they did this for a year or two before it disappeared completely.

Do you have any favourite games from Cascade?
19 Boot Camp of course! It actually wasn't bad - a lot of careful crafting went into it. The team were steadfast in their desire to do it properly.

If you have any other stories or memories that you think would interest readers please let me know.
Most of my memories of the time are based on the dev team culture we had there. Anything good, or difficult, was "tweeky" - a term I still use to this day. I recall that egg mayonaise sandwiches were mandatory and the beer of choice was Youngs No 3. Speaking of which, on return to Hull, I invested much time tracking down a pub that sold Youngs beer. Eventually I succeeded and walked, as in a dream, to the bar. I looked up, and it was the same barman as the pub we frequented in Harrogate.

My thanks to Tony for his time  - keep up the good work mate!

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