Old School Gamer Magazine chats with Strictly Limited Games Co-Founder Dennis Mendel to find out how his company got its start and why preserving classic video games is their highest priority.
Bringing back games the likes of Tokyo 42, Umihara Kawase and a lost game never published before from Ryuichi Nishizawa, Wonder Boy creator, and these guys certainly have their hands full.
About Strictly Limited Games:
Strictly Limited Games is a German publisher specialized in the production of limited physical editions of digital download-only Indie- and AA-Games. The company was founded by Dennis Mendel, a former scholar of game studies at Fraunhofer (focusing on game preservation, gaming literacy, and media effects) and past employee of Square Enix as well as Benedict Braitsch, a student of media science. They both are devoted collectors of video games with a joint collection of roughly 7000 digital and physical games for all current and past gaming platforms.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How did you guys get started in gaming?
Dennis Mendel: Benedict and I we are both collectors of video games since childhood. My first love was the Mattel Intellivision, then came NES, PC Engine and I slowly started to realize, that gaming is something that will accompany me for the rest of my life.
Benedict started with the NES but later on turned towards PC gaming. He is focused on collecting as many games on steam as possible.
OSGM: Why bring back these old games?
Mendel: These games may be old, but they are still good. In my opinion, a 3D game ages more quickly than a 2D Game.
Besides that, even though the controls are simple and the game mechanic is easy to understand, it is difficult to master. Most if not all modern games are based on these classic games in one or several ways and we can learn a lot by looking at them carefully.
OSGM: What else makes you different from other developers and publishers working solely on remasters and ports?
Mendel: I’d say the more the better for the customer. There are so many great games that deserve to be preserved in physical form and one company alone just cannot take care of them all. Each company sees games from their own subjective perspective so it is important to have many different perspectives.
Of course, it is competition, but who knows, maybe one day we can work together to achieve even greater things.
Basically, we want to publish great games and realize our ideas and dreams – this is the main motivation behind this.
If we see a game that we like or if there is something we can do to bring a lost game back to the light, then we feel it is our duty to take care of this.
OSGM: What made Umihara Kawase worthy of being brought back?
Mendel: It’s one of the prime examples of a game being easy to get, but difficult to master. I enjoyed playing this game on Super Famicom in the early 1990s and I still enjoy it on my PS Vita now – it’s great to see how Kondo-san and Studio Saizensen still love this game and we feel very honored to work with them together in order to make a physical English language release for PS Vita come true.
OSGM: What’s next?
Mendel: We hope that people will like what we are doing. We have many plans and we will share most of them next year with all fellow gamers and collectors. We’ve already announced that we will be publishing for Nintendo Switch next year. In early 2018 we will release Sayonara UmiharaKawase ++ for PS Vita and 99Vidas for PS4 & PS Vita. Who knows what will be next.
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the upcoming book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.