Bernie Stolar & Jordan Freeman (ZOOM) – Interview

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These guys need no introduction but I’m going to do it anyway. Without Bernie Stolar there wouldn’t be half as much stuff for us retro gamers to even talk about! Needless to say we think he’s found his perfect match in Jordan Freeman and their ZOOM Platform has us smitten. Adrian managed to catch them for a rather lengthy chat, so sit back and enjoy…

 

Gentlemen, thank you for your time today.

Jordan Freeman: Thank you, we appreciate the opportunity.

Bernie Stolar: Likewise.

 

Well for starters, how did you both get your start in games? Jordan, why don’t you go first, you’re a pretty young guy, how did you meet Bernie?

 

J: Thanks. Yep, I’m 24 years old and I started my first business at 14, fixing computers locally in Arizona and as an AVG Anti-Virus reseller. From there, I started a competitive gaming platform (Head 2 Head Gaming) where users could win prizes. At 16, I began cold-calling game publishers to offer my “re-mastering” services. This is how I met Bernie Stolar. After cold-calling him to join my team as an advisor and getting a positive response, I spent all the money I had to fly up to San Francisco and meet him. After 45 mins or so, he tapped the table and said “I’m in!”

B: (Smiles and nods)

 

So, how did you get funding to launch ZOOM Platform?

J: ZOOM Platform, and all my other ventures, have been entirely self-funded and self-managed. I made sure everything was built and has continued to be built with my own funds. I’m proud of the fact that I have never had to work with a VC. I also had to establish my own reputation with “white-label” re-masters and other business dealings in games, music, and film before asking individuals like Bernie Stolar and Bernie Gilhuly to join my Firm officially.

B: (Smiles and nods again)

 

Wow, that’s incredible! So, who inspired you to get into games?

J: I’m very proud to be working with and partnered with the two people who inspired me to get into the games industry. Mr. Stolar right here and Scott Miller of 3D Realms. Bernie was one of the key guys behind PlayStation and responsible for bringing us Ridge Racer, Battle Arena Toshinden, Oddworld, and Crash Bandicoot among others. Then, he was the guy behind the Dreamcast, which pioneered console-based online gaming with DLC years before Xbox Live. On top of that, you wouldn’t have Visual Concepts/2K Sports without him either. EA’s decision to not support Dreamcast, created their biggest rival. After working with Sega on Dreamcast, they eventually went to Take Two/2K. Scott Miller essentially created digital distribution, episodic gaming, and the game demo in the 1980’s way before anyone else. Even the concept of games without “lives” can be traced back to him. He figured all this out on Bulletin Board Systems and created the shareware business model, absolutely incredible. With Apogee/3D Realms, he co-created major franchises like Duke Nukem, Max Payne, Prey, and Wolfenstein.

 

That’s amazing! You must be extremely busy too, I noticed you also handle strategic partnerships and web design for a band called “The Last Internationale”, I will touch on that later, for now, tell me more how you meet all these people?

J: Cold-calling. That’s how I met Bernie, how I meet everyone. That or cold-introductions in person, cold emails, anything cold (laughs). Just have to research contact information online and then have an elevator pitch ready, in other words, here’s how I can be of assistance. Just have to come across professionally and that you know what you’re talking about, do your research before, nobody wants to hear someone just winging it. I used to be worried about revealing my age though, so I made sure I impressed people enough via email and on the phone, I’ve always had a deep voice that sounded older, before meeting them in person. You mentioned “The Last Internationale”, they are an incredible rock band, Delila and Edgey are some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met. Delila has an extremely powerful and sultry voice that combines Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Chrissie Hynde, and Bonnie Raitt. Edgey is one hell of a guitarist who is very blues-inspried and can play Elmore James, Muddy Watters, and Howlin’ Wolf licks like nobody’s business. We were introduced thanks to Scott Weiland, another one of my heroes that I had the pleasure of knowing and was going to work with for a game soundtrack, may he rest in peace. I’ve since introduced TLI to Scott’s producer, Doug Grean, among other strategic partners, and the band should have new music out very soon. I also got them signed up to do custom songs for both an upcoming movie and upcoming video game.

 

Awesome, we’ve heard rumors that you developed a game concept for Pierce Brosnan for Sony’s PS4, is this true and is this what those songs are for?

J: The movie and video game are unrelated. The game is something being made in-house with a partner. I want to give credit where credit is due though, I developed the concept directly with Pierce Brosnan and his wife, Keely. There was a lot of back and forth creatively through various conversations and our partner absolutely loved the concept. That’s all I and we as a Company can really say at this point. We’re also working on a unique game based on a popular Sci-Fi/Horror film franchise. We are working on this game with the very talented Michael Murashov and his company, Sigma Team, what an amazing crew! You should also expect to see our dear friend and longtime supporter, Christian Erickson “Lance Boyle”, in both those titles as well as the MegaRace Reboot. Long story there, but, that is coming, we’ll tell that story soon. Christian and his manager Cindy are incredible, they’ve always been there for ZOOM and I want to make sure Christian is in every ZOOM in-house title, kind of like Alfred Hitchcock is in all of his films. (smiles) You know, I’ve met a lot of great people in Hollywood over the years that I have a lot of respect for and even go to for advice, Ramon Estevez (CEO of Estevez Sheen Productions behind shows like Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management”) for example, great guy. There is a lot going on behind the scenes including a complete ZOOM Platform re-design, here let me show you a preview and here are some screenshots for your article. We will be revealing a lot very soon, there is a lot going on behind the scenes.

B: That is a gigantic understatement. (smiles)

 

 

Wow, I bet those will all be very cool titles, please keep us posted, it sounds very exciting. Bernie, please go into your backstory now.

B: Well, I’ve been in the video game business for over 30 years now. When I first got out of college (UCLA), I started working in the magazine/newspaper business. It wasn’t until 1980 that I started my first video game company, Pacific Novelty Manufacturing. I co-founded that company with Brian Semler. To go a little more in-depth, I got an undergrad in Economics from UCLA and continued there to get my MBA. Right after school because I wasn’t sure what else to do, I started my own magazine called “Coast Magazine”, which I later sold to New York Magazine Corp. I then decided to move to New York to sell advertising space. I really had no clue what I wanted to do. Then one day, as the game industry started revving up, Larry Siegel, my fraternity brother, who was working at Stern Electronics in Chicago building pinball machines and arcade cabinets reached out. He told me, “Bernie, you should move to LA and start a company with my brother. You guys can get into this business”. I decided to take his advice and make the move. That’s how I got started in video games. He also put me in touch with the Tramiel family, you know Commodore and Atari, and that’s how I met them.

 

Very interesting, what happened next?

B: My first game company, Pacific Novelty, put out a game called Shark Attack, that was my very first game. Had an interesting situation due to JAWS where we were told by some Hollywood guys that we’d be forced to pay royalties, I negotiated that we’d only have to pay after a 1,000 units. I didn’t appreciate their attitude, so later I let them know we ceased production at 999. The next game we made was called Thief, a unique puzzle game with a Pac-Man feel. After that, we came out and launched NATO Defense. We also made a computer portrait machine. We eventually sold Pacific Novelty to Atari. At the time, I thought it was the perfect move, it wasn’t. We sold the company to Atari, when it was owned by Time Warner. The deal was for stock, a year later Atari went bankrupt. At that point, I had no job and no company. So, I decided to start a new company called Amitron. Our business model was to import circuit boards from Japan to simply swap into coin-op machines that were not making any money.

J: Essentially, the NEO GEO MVS model before it existed.

B: Yeah, pretty much. (laughs) One of the first games I brought in was a game called “Mr. Do!”, which I licensed to a Japanese company called Universal Games. I then later sold that company to Atari which was under new management. It had been taken over by the Tramiel Family of Commodore and so I went to work for them as President of Atari.

 

So, what were your duties at Atari?

B: I was involved with the development of product, mainly the Lynx, which at that time I believe was the best handheld system available. I feel it was superior to even what Nintendo had at the time. It was extremely frustrating though, because Atari hardly had any budget for anything. Jack Tramiel was not funding a lot of product. He was all about hardware, not software. The thing is though, if you don’t have the software to back-up your system, the hardware will fail.

 

So, when did you make the jump to Sony?

B: Well, Atari was just introducing Jaguar, and Trip Hawkins was launching the 3DO platform, when I was contacted by Steve Race at Sony regarding PlayStation. I felt that would be a better place for me to be, so I left Atari for PlayStation and became their Executive Vice President. Steve was President of PlayStation. At the time, Steve reported to Ólaf Jóhann Ólafsson of Sony overall.

 

So, once you were on the PlayStation team, what were your duties? How far along were they?

B: They were adjusting the hardware for final revisions. It was late 1993/early 1994. It was just before CES in Chicago. Sony was negotiating with Nintendo about a joint venture, you see, the PlayStation was actually supposed to be a peripheral add-on for their Super Nintendo console. Nintendo decided to go with Philips though without telling us and that really pissed off Ken Kutaragi. So much so, that Ken walked away from the deal, and talked to Norio Ohga, President of Sony overall at the time, said we should just make our own console instead. It was Ken’s idea in the first place to do PlayStation, and Mr. Morita, who was then the Chairman of Sony, he came up with the PlayStation name. At that point, we decided “let’s do this, let’s win it all with the best hardware and best software.” I think Ken was pretty happy too, he had a vision and now there would be no compromises. He knew it would work.

 

 

Wow, what a story. What happened next?

B: I rounded up as many third parties as possible with my team. It wasn’t that hard actually, people looked at what we were doing and believed in us right away. Sony had really thought this through and I think people could tell. I loved working with Ken Kutaragi, incredibly intelligent and incredibly talented. That’s the kind of person I enjoy working with. (Smiles)

 

So, what made you move on to SEGA?

B: That all happened in the winter of 1996. My boss, Steve Race got fired. Micki Shohoff, who ran Sony North America overall also got let go. Ólaf, was fired too. It was not good. Miriama from Sony Music then flew from Japan to interview the rest of us in the US PlayStation office, it was obvious what was happening, despite PlayStation’s success in the US, they no longer wanted the original team that built the launch there. It was obvious they wanted the Japanese office to have full control. Kaz Hirai, also from Sony Music and Miriama’s protégé, was brought in to take things over. As you know, Kaz Hirai today is CEO of all of Sony. I had a strong intuition that I would be on their replacement list sooner or later. Hayao Nakayama, then Chairman and co-founder of SEGA, personally asked me to become President and Chief Operating Officer of SEGA’s American office. I had one condition, cancel the Saturn and allow me to personally design a new and better console. Nakayama-San agreed to my terms and I joined the folks at SEGA. Less than a month after I left PlayStation, everybody who was on the original US PlayStation launch team was fired, including my friend, Jim Whims. I think they knew software was already coming in fast thanks to what we built and they thought they could just maintain it, and they did.

 

How were things at SEGA when you started there?

B: Excruciatingly difficult. SEGA had lost close to a billion dollars the year before. They had eight pieces of hardware going concurrently. Let’s see if I can even remember them all: The SEGA CD, 32X, Genesis, Nomad, Game Gear, Pico, and in some countries they still had the Master System. They had greatly overextended themselves. We got PlayStation going with a team less than half their size. I took SEGA from about 300 people down to around 90 people. I also felt they needed a whole new marketing and sales approach. For that, I brought in Peter Moore, who came from the Reebok shoe company. Peter was in charge of Reebok’s soccer gear, he had a great feel and insight for branding. I also brought in a guy named Chris Gilbert, from Cerwin Vega Speakers. He knew retail sales like Peter knew branding. Peter Moore went on to work with Microsoft with Xbox and now is the Chief Competitive Officer and head of eSports at Electronic Arts. I’d say I picked the right guy there. Chris is now Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing for NAMCO BANDAI. I firmly believe we had an incredible team for the Dreamcast launch. A great product needs a great team, we had both. I went out and hunted for these types of individuals. Honestly, the people that were at Sega when I first got there, well, I don’t believe they had the ability to step up and be winners. I only work with winners. You have to work with people who are both intelligent and hard working, they have to believe they are winners too in order to become winners. It’s no different than if you’re building a sports team. You want the best and the brightest available, and that’s what exactly what we had at SEGA. At the same time, I had a number of very loyal people that then left Sony to come work for me at SEGA. Both Steve Ackeroyd and Shuji Utsumi were in business development at Sony, they came to work for me at Sega, we had all had a mutual respect and vision. Gretchen Eichenger was in Third Party at Sony, she left as well to join me at SEGA. We had an amazing team that really delivered and drove the product.

 

 

So, what was your vision for Dreamcast going forward?

B: I believed that the future of games was not DVD, it was merely a stop-gap, it was going to be massive multi-player online gaming with digital downloads being the main delivery system of the future. I was a big believer in that and still am. I saw network play and the Internet evolving and I knew cloud gaming was coming, look at what Dreamcast could do with its modem, we were way ahead of our time. That’s why we built Dreamcast as the first online multi-player gaming system in the console space. A lot of people wonder though why SEGA did not include a DVD player anyway, fact is, SEGA could not afford it. Online was our future and what would define Dreamcast in the marketplace. We were in talks with Blizzard about World of WarCraft, I was also excited about the open-world of Shenmue.

 

There is a rumour though that you banned RPGs from the Saturn, did this affect the Dreamcast as well?

B: Pure fantasy and fallacy. I think that was a rumor that was spread by a certain third party developer that I didn’t think had good product. His product wasn’t approved for the system, it just wasn’t fun or interesting, well frankly, it just wasn’t good overall. I think that third party publisher made a statement saying that I didn’t approve it, because I didn’t believe in RPGs, but that’s not true. I fully supported RPGs on all consoles I was a part of plain and simple.

 

Do you remember who that publisher was?

B: No, I’m afraid not. The name just escapes me, I wish I could remember, I just can’t.

 

What about your rumoured Five Star Policy at SEGA?

B: To be honest, I don’t think there was an actual policy per-say. However, whenever approving titles, they needed to be fun with good gameplay mechanics, crisp graphics, nice sound and whatever else fit well within what the game was supposed to be. We didn’t have strict rules or anything, you basically knew though pretty quickly by looking at and playing a game, if it was good or not.

 

So, why did you leave SEGA?

B: Well, Mr. Nakayama, who brought me in to the company in the first place, he was forced out of the company by Mr. Okawa, who at that point was the largest shareholder. The bank that he was the head of owned the majority of SEGA’s stock. When Nakayama was forced out, Okawa came to me when we were launching the project and wanted to change the launch date for Dreamcast among other things. He really wanted SEGA to just be a software company. We had a parting of the ways and I left SEGA.

 

Do you think SEGA is done? How do you see their future now in 2017?

B: I think SEGA will keep going. It’s a lot like Nintendo, I see a lot of similarities. For example, Sonic and Mario are very similar. Look at how they are being licensed in different formats, etc. That’s how they will survive for now. When PlayStation started, they didn’t have a mascot like that. I discovered Crash Bandicoot, and I’m the one who licensed that for Sony, and brought that game into PlayStation which took off immediately. It was one of the best products ever on PlayStation and still is. I firmly believed in those guys, Naughty Dog is incredible. They have an incredible resume, they’ve done so many games. Look at the Uncharted franchise. Jason and Ruben, the whole team, incredible folks.

 

 

Agreed, very cool indeed. You were also President of Mattel’s Interactive Division for a while, can you tell me a little about that?

B: Yes, that time was very short, unfortunately. Jill Barad had just bought The Learning Company with the board’s approval. Right after I joined, Jill got forced out, and the board of directors came to me and said “we need you to turn this around and quickly”. My response was: “Mattel has a real mess on their hands here guys. EA has 700 employees. Mattel has 3,000 employees, so that means I have to get rid of over 2,000, and I don’t know who has contracts and what the terms are. Worse yet, we have 20 offices, and I only really need 2. This will take two to three years to turn around at least.” I looked at their numbers, they didn’t even realise this, but, they were losing a million dollars a day. They asked me how on Earth I knew that. I told them, “Well, I did a forensic audit. I don’t know what you were thinking when you bought this company, but you were the ones who approved it. You should never have fired Jill. All of you guys should have been fired instead. You’re the board of directors.” I told them frankly, “Let’s just take the company and shut it down and call it a discontinued asset. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this.” They told me, “See if that makes sense. If we can do that, that’s exactly what we’ll do.” They told me to do whatever I had to. I labelled the company a discontinued asset and got rid of it for them. I licensed out IP to publishers like THQ and Vivendi. The only game I really developed in-house at Mattel is Barbie Horseback Riding which is the first time that ever happened. The Barbie Horseback Riding game sold over a million units on PlayStation. That shows you both the strength of the Barbie brand and exactly how you build and promote it as a game.

 

Very interesting. Do you and Jordan share the same vision for ZOOM?

B: Yes, exactly. We both see the next step as distribution on set-top boxes and in our original in-house content. That’s been Jordan’s vision from the very beginning. He’s planned everything out, he’s very forward thinking. Many people have dreams and plans, however, much like myself he simply turns those into schedules and checklists. The ZOOM Platform site re-design will be a major step forward, so many upgrades and it’s very sleek, it will be incredible come re-launch. These games currently in development will be the most fun and entertaining new franchises around and they will be experienced on ZOOM Platform as well as PlayStation 4 and on iOS/Android mobile/tablet devices.

J: We’ll also be bringing some classic arcade racing and battle games back this year too. Some of my all-time favorites from two of my all-time favorite consoles, the Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast. San Francisco Rush 2049, BattleTanx, BattleTanx: Global Assault, Thunder Tanks and MegaRace 3: Nanotech Disaster from PlayStation 2, and more – I’m telling you, 2017 will be the year we make 4- player split-screen great again! (smiles)

 

Well, it looks like 2017 will be an exciting year for you guys!

J: For everyone we hope! (Smiles)

B: Yep! (Smiles)

 

How did you end up working as Google’s Games Evangelist?

B: After Mattel, I helped start a company called AdScape Media that did in-game advertising. I started off as Chairman of the company, after which I became the CEO, then we sold the Company to Google in 2006, and then got involved with helping develop Android from 2006 to right around the end of 2007. There was not much interest in games at Google at the time. I talked to the CEO, Eric Schmidt, and said, “Why don’t we put advertising in all these games and give them away for free online?” He replied “We’re not in the game business.” I said, “We’re not going into the game business. We’re not developing games. We’re taking games from publishers and streaming those through our online network.” He wouldn’t do it. That’s when I knew I should leave the company. I started helping them evangelize, but I knew there was no future for me there. That’s when I started getting more involved in start-ups like ZOOM Platform.

 

I see. So where do you guys each see yourselves in five years time?

B: I’ve spoken to two individuals about this, Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch. They’re both in their 80’s. They’re both multi-billionaires. They certainly don’t have to work, right? And they’ve both said to me, “If you retire, you die.” I believe that. My father, when he sold his liquor store and stopped working, passed away three months later. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I’m not going to stop”.

J: Retired. Living on a private island in the Caymans. Hopefully with someone special and my dog. We have different philosophies on this one.

 

So, how would you describe ZOOM Platform?

J: ZOOM’s mission is to design, create, and publish traditional and interactive entertainment with a Generation X trans-media appeal. ZOOM’s products are distributed digitally via, ZOOM Platform, along with non-exclusive third party content from both major publishers and indies with a catalog spanning the classics to new releases. Essentially, a portal for both re-masters of classic games as well as original content which appeals to the same audiences, both Gen-X and those like me that are into Gen-X content.

 

So, tell me more about your game re-mastering services and how you got ZOOM Platform started, its early days, etc?

J: Well, I had cold-called/cold-emailed a ton of game companies and made some great relationships in 2008/2009 for re-masters with 1C Company, Anuman Interactive, Akella, Digital Game Factory – now Merge Games, Fresh3D, Rebellion, Running With Scissors, Sigma Team, TopWare Interactive, Wargaming.net and many others. I kept those contacts and continued making more and this is all before I even had brought the Bernies on. The thing is though, I always wanted to start my own platform, rather than just publish on others. I always assumed I would need significant funds though. Eventually, I said to Bernie we really should build our own platform and he agreed. So we started looking for funding, I drew up a whole business plan, built a prototype, and we literally wasted an entire year talking with VC types who just didn’t get it. Their whole thing is always Stage E, lets invest a bunch of money in something that was a fad five years ago. I personally can’t stand VCs, mostly just nepotism, it’s a depressing world for real garage entrepreneurs.  So finally, after one particular conversation with a VC who told me “you have to be born into money if you want to be running companies and frankly someone should be honest with you that your baby’s ugly and you need to work for other people, tough sh__” My response was “Oh yeah, I’m gonna do it myself and shove it right up your ass!” I immediately called Bernie and said “I’m just gonna build it myself!”. He said “Alright, do it!” So, I did. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you my budget, we achieved the impossible, I’m extremely proud of that. Thanks to that cost cutting, we were profitable in the first few weeks and have been ever since! I also put together a lean and fantastic team that I still work with to this day on the site including the upcoming re-design, the installer suite, everything. We are a small group, however, we are all located in different parts of the world, it’s a very ad hoc work environment.  Thanks to how the internet has evolved though, programs like TeamViewer, Skype, Viber, etc make it really easy and everyone can work effectively on their own time schedules. Its fantastic really and we all have a common goal as well as ownership interest in the company. That’s what motivates us all, we are all in this together as a team.

 

Wow, the way you tell that story, you sound like a much older guy who’s been there done that, you learned a lot in a short time. You seem very determined and enthusiastic yet you also sound very experienced and mature.

B: That’s him. He knows what he wants out of life and how to get it. Jordan is very confident and driven.

J: Thanks guys. I knew exactly what I wanted to do at a very early age and got started young. I was writing business plans and game design ideas in second grade. School and social things were difficult because of this, I didn’t really fit in well and it was very hard to connect, I was always thinking about life differently than those my age, I still do. Right or wrong, my mindset personally and professionally, is usually a decade ahead or so.

B: Yeah, he’s very ahead of the game, so to speak. (Smiles)

 

 

Makes sense to me. So, how did ZOOM Platform eventually launch?

J: Well, on April 15, 2014, I announced ZOOM Platform publicly for the first time and that Bernie Stolar and Bernie Gilhuly had joined the team. ZOOM Platform was officially founded as a subsidiary of Jordan Freeman Group earlier that month.

On April 22, 2014, ZOOM Platform soft-launched with four first-party titles we had already done/re-mastered: The MegaRace Trilogy and Mr.Travel.

On September 9, 2014, ZOOM Platform officially launched its portal with support from the following publishers: 1C Company, 3DDUO, 3D Realms, Akella, Anuman Interactive, FireGlow Games, Fresh3D, Jordan Freeman Group, KISS, Lace Mamba Games, LayerCake, Majesco, Merge Games, Oddworld Inhabitants, Pumpkin Studios, Rebellion, Remedy, Running With Scissors, Sigma Team, TopWare Interactive, Wargaming.net, and West End Interactive.

ZOOM Platform’s current list of publisher partners includes: 1C Company, 3DDUO, 3D Realms, Akella, Anuman Interactive, Cinemaware, Codemasters, Daedalic Entertainment, FireGlow Games, Fresh3D, Funbox Media Ltd, Humongous Entertainment, iEntertainment Network, Image Space Inc, Jordan Freeman Group, KISS, Knowledge Adventure (JumpStart), Lace Mamba Games, LayerCake, Majesco, Merge Games, Oddworld Inhabitants, Prism Entertainment Inc, Pumpkin Studios, Rebellion, Remedy, Running With Scissors, Shiver Games, Sigma Team, SNK Playmore, TopWare Interactive, UrbanScan, Wargaming.net, and West End Interactive.

 

Amazing! Now tell us about the exclusives, etc! I assume the Sept 9 launch was because that was when PlayStation was launched in 1995 and Dreamcast was launched in 1999, the memorable 9.9.99 for $199 hmmm?

B: Exactly! Came down to the wire too! (Smiles)

J: Yep, we did it though! Its in the history books now! (Laughs). Well, Mr. Travel was originally developed as educational business software by French company, LayerCake, for the French government. French co-developer, 3DDUO, saw the potential for the learning software to be turned into a casual PC gaming title and reached out to me directly to assist in its conversion and publication. In addition to the digital release, a physical disc-based copy of the game was released exclusively on Amazon.com and ZOOM Platform. That was my first physical release ever with my logo on the cover, spine, and back of the box. I was and still am very proud of it, so much so, I framed the first copy I got.

I also had made a great personal relationship with Russian developer, FireGlow Games. The Sudden Strike franchise was part of our official launch lineup too. Their Sudden Strike series is a collection of real-time tactics (RTT) computer games set in World War II. The following Sudden Strike titles are available on ZOOM-Platform.com from FireGlow Games: Sudden Strike 1 Gold + Forever + Total War Addons (1 and 2), Sudden Strike 2 + Total Victory, Sudden Strike 3: Arms For Victory, Sudden Strike: Iwo Jima, Sudden Strike: Normandy, Sudden Strike: Resource War, and Sudden Strike: The Last Stand.

I made some great friends at Running With Scissors too, Vince Desi and Mike Jaret are awesome guys. They live and work just two hours south of me in Tucson. The ZOOM Platform Edition of POSTAL 2: Complete features the 2014 (Patch 1415) build along with the original version of POSTAL 2 with the following expansion packs and mods pre-installed: Share The Pain, A Week In Paradise, Apocalypse Weekend, POSTAL Christmas, and Eternal Damnation. All versions of the game included in the bundle come with widescreen support. This was a terrific launch title for us. I’m always excited to see what those guys are working on.

 

 

We also had FOX and Rebellion’s Aliens Vs. Predator Gold Edition at launch and still have it. Its been updated to run on modern PCs and laptops using DirectX 9.0c and includes support for the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows.

I first discovered MegaRace 1 on my family’s Packard Bell computer, it was actually the first game I ever played. That computer came bundled with a lot of great software, including some of the other first games I ever played from Knowledge Adventure and Humungous Entertainment. I couldn’t believe no one had re-mastered these great titles yet, I wanted to make sure the next generation of kids could experience them. So, I personally reached out to JumpStart (who owns the rights) and a few months after the ZOOM Platform launch, on November 25, 2014, five Knowledge Adventure titles were re-released digitally as DRM-Free exclusives on ZOOM. The five titles were: 3D Body Adventure, 3D Dinosaur Adventure, Dinosaur Adventure (Original), Space Adventure, and Undersea Adventure. Then, on March 6, 2015, another Knowledge Adventure title, Bug Adventure, was re-released, again as a ZOOM Platform exclusive. We have gotten an unbelievable reaction to these titles, apparently I’m not the only one feeling nostalgic, which is a very good thing for a variety of reasons! (Smiles)

Next, on November 24, 2014, we re-released Image Space Inc.’s Zone Raiders. A futuristic hovercar racing combat game set in a 3D environment. This was the first of many times when all our competitors said a game would be technically impossible to run on modern machines. I convinced those guys to give me a chance and thankfully they did, I can’t thank them enough. I didn’t know if we could actually pull it off though, my thought was close the deal and figure that out later. (Laughs) And guess what, we did it, and it didn’t take us very long either! (Smiles)

After that, I wanted another “impossible” challenge, so I went out and hunted for that. So, I reached out to Barry Hatch, my good friend at Funbox, another guy I can’t thank enough for the opportunity. Shortly thereafter, on March 12, 2015, Barry and Funbox revealed that we were the only firm in the industry able to successfully convert the Incoming Subversion Expansion Pack for modern PCs. We released it as an exclusive on ZOOM Platform as part of the Incoming Trilogy, which comes bundled with the original Incoming, Incoming Forces, and the aforementioned, Incoming Subversion Expansion Pack.

B: Incoming was a great Dreamcast title too. (Smiles) Jordan simply doesn’t stop, the saying put your mind to it and you can accomplish anything truly defines him. He’s a Maverick like Top Gun.

J: Thanks, Bernie. I learned from the best and very much appreciate the compliment.

B: So, now we come to the big one!

J: Yep! This was another game that our competitors had tried to get working for literally three years with no luck, we did it in five months! On July 23, 2015, we announced our exclusive release of an updated version of 3DO’s classic Killing Time. A horror-themed first-person shooter set in an open-world with Full-Motion Video components. Originally an exclusive for their 3DO Interactive Multiplayer console, it was later remade for Windows 95 PCs and MACs. We did such a great job with that one, we got featured in Retro Gamer Magazine and got a perfect score 10/10 from Jason Bonnar at CGR. Framed both of those too articles too! It was a major hit for us and really helped define us as the guys who achieve the impossible. A huge thanks goes to our deeply respected friend and partner, Adam Hillson! This was another one I had no idea if we could do, but, somehow we found a way!

 

Wow, consider us blown away (pardon the pun). Last thing, which we ask all of our interviewees, if you guys could have drinks with any game characters, who would they be?

Both: Sonic and Crash! Haha!

 

Well, thanks guys, this was fantastic.

J: It was our pleasure, we hope to do it again in the near future.

B: Absolutely, thanks again.

Adrian

One Comment on “Bernie Stolar & Jordan Freeman (ZOOM) – Interview”

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