Q: When you made the maps, were you an employee of Sega at all, or just a fan playing the games?
A: I had always aspired to be an employee of Sega, but I was just a player enjoying Phantasy Star.
Q: What prompted you to make the maps, and then how did you get them to Sega?
A: I basically used simple quad-rule graph paper to make the maps, each forward step being one square (though moving through a secret door actually moved you two squares). I was not asked to make them by Sega, I just made them to make the game easier for myself. Since I had developed a loose friendship with one of the counselors at Sega, I sent copies of all my maps to her.
Q: The maps obviously looked computer-generated. What software did you use to make them?
A: I used MacPaint. It was one of the first drawing programs for any computer, and had a simple grid built in which I turned on to keep the squares uniform and match them up with my hand-drawn maps from the graph paper.
Q: You don't happen to still have the original files, do you?
A: I wish I could offer you a copy of the complete set, but I don't have the old Mac files they were saved to anymore.
Q: Did you ever have any idea just how helpful those maps were to so many people? Complete video game "hint books" may be common today, but back in 1989-1990, players were completely on their own save for 1-800 (or 1-900) hint lines.
A: I had some idea, particularly when a professional photographer who also lived in Chicago contacted me after my friend at Sega sent him one of my maps. I sent him copies of all my maps for his sons to use. He sent me back a nice set of screenshots he took with special lenses on his camera so the images wouldn't show scan lines.
Q: What did you think of the other games in the series?
A: I played Phantasy Star 2 and 3, but I didn't enjoy them as much as the original since Sega removed the 3d dungeons from the sequels. They were harder to map out yourself, which was probably their plan, since most developers nowadays want you to spend the extra money on hint books.
Be careful out there!
|Please send all comments and feedback to mike at ripplinger dot us|