Retro Chats: Getting to Know the 8 Bit Evolution Family!
This month’s interview is definitely a treat! I was able to get a few questions answered by James and the rest of the creative minds over at 8 Bit Evolution. If you never checked out their site before, you should stop reading and open up a tab right now. Are you back? Okay, good. I have been keeping up with them recently and have been very impressed with what I have seen. They specialize in console modding and customization and can do their part in making your retro collection unique!
Retro Dustbin: What’s the story behind 8 Bit Evolution?
James: The genesis of 8 Bit Evolution was entirely by accident. I modified my own Gameboy Advance and showed it to some friends. Right away, I had a few of them ask me to do the same for them. It’s extremely satisfying to breathe new life into old or broken systems, cartridges, consoles, and the like! Our goal is to put out a high quality product first and foremost. I only want to sell items that I would be happy to purchase myself.
RD: Looking back, did you always think that retro gaming would be a big part of your life and career?
James: I grew up on video games. As a fat kid with a tail, I spent almost all of my free time glued to the television, keyed in to channel 3, collecting rings and coins as fast as possible. A big part of my life? Yes! A job? Certainly not, but, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate being part of the retro gaming community.
Steve: I never thought in a million years it would be part of my career. I’ve always been a fan of video games, of course, across all platforms.
Carly: I grew up on a farm, and we weren’t even allowed to watch tv. I never played video games until 8 Bit Evolution, and I NEVER thought I’d be doing anything like this. Now, I catch myself humming Mega Man Bit Brigade covers or shouting with excitement when we’re doing speed runs after work!
Ryan: Well, I never thought I’d have a career at all! Some say I’m a dreamer: I’ve wanted to be a magician, a contortionist, a strolling violinist and a professional mime over the past few years. I’d choose 8BE above them ALL (even together at once!)
RD: Your products all look great! Where do you come up with the designs? What’s the process like?
James: I LOVE handheld gaming, just as much as everything else. I play with handhelds more now than ever. Whether it’s picking up new titles at conventions, or through customer trades on our site, I’ve started down the path of being a GBA completionist. Games provide the inspiration for the most part! The exceptions are abstract designs. Most of the abstract designs come from our own Matty J’s hallucinations. We just listen and paint while he instructs, occasionally stopping to rub his beard for good luck.
RD: Is there a staff favorite product that your team has created?
James: I think we’re all in agreement that our favorite thing so far is not yet released for resale: our GBA Arcade Cabinet.
RD: Can we hear the favorite games of some of the 8 Bit Evolution staff?
NES: Super Mario 3
SNES: Mega Man X
PS1: Final Fantasy 7 or Castlevania Symphony of the Night
XBOX: Fable (or a close second, Halo)
XBOX 360: Dragon Age
Game Boy: Pokemon Blue
Game Boy Color: Link’s Awakening
GBA: Superstar Saga
DS: Final Fantasy 3
3DS: A Link Between Worlds
Steve: Streets of Rage franchise is a long time favorite of mine, I especially love the Sonic in Streets of Rage 3 hack! The Pokemon hacks for Gen 3 are great! Silver & Grandia II are some of my pre-teen angst favs!
Carly: Mega Man Wily Wars, Mother 3, Toe Jam: Panic on Funkatron & Sonic Adventures on DC!
Ryan: I only play Wolverine games, Mario Kart (every generation) & Mario Party. I love sharing milk with my friends, and breaking hearts on Rainbow Road.
RD: What are the next steps for 8 Bit Evolution? Any new projects you would really like to focus on?
James: We have some SUPER exciting stuff coming out. Personally, I’m excited for our new N64 Arcade cabinets!
Steve: I know this sounds dorky, but, I love putting together the instruction manuals. Getting down to the nitty gritty of a game and making it a complete collectors piece is important to me. I NEED the manuals like I need a CRT television to play on!
Carly: I’m really excited for the new box designs we just sent to print
Ryan: I’m really just excited to be a strong contributor to the team. 8BE are like my extended, pixelated family. So much UNADULTERATED LOVE!
Thank you James and the rest of the 8 Bit Evolution team for taking the time to chat with yours truly. Make sure you check them out and follow them on the big wide world of social media. Even if you aren’t ready to make a purchase, check out their blog and their Link Exchange! There’s plenty to do on 8bitevolution.com!