From: Sega Visions (May/June 1992)
How did you two get started developing video games?
Prior to ToeJam & Earl, I was working with Electronic
Arts on games like Star Flight and Star Flight
II. After these in-depth games, I wanted to develop a
game that would be lighthearted and fun. In college, I studied
biolinguistics which is how animals, like dolphins, communicate.
When I graduated, I took some time off and got a job developing
Mark: I graduated with a degree in Computer
Science from the University of California at Berkeley. I always
planned to work as a programmer. ToeJam & Earl
was the first game Greg and I worked on together, even though
we've been friends for years.
Where did the idea for ToeJam & Earl come from?
Both Mark and I enjoy listening to funky music. After finishing
Star Flight II, I was in Hawaii on vacation. While I was relaxing
on the beach, I came up with the idea for ToeJam & Earl.
I guess I still had spaceships and aliens on my mind. After
creating the characters, the plot for the game came together.
Are the ToeJam & Earl characters modeled after either
I don't think we started modeling ToeJam or Earl after ourselves,
but as the game evolved, I decided that Mark is ToeJam
and I'm Earl. We had to develop the characters in
detail, and I think they have many aspects of our personalities.
Mark: I think
it would be more accurate to say ToeJam and Earl are two different
aspects of Greg's personality. Greg originally came up with
the idea for the game and the characters.
In what ways is ToeJam & Earl an unusual game?
Aside from the characters having their own personalities,
we tried to make the game funny to watch as well as fun to
play. We wanted a game that was original, easy to understand
and that offered an immediate response to the player's actions.
This makes ToeJam & Earl very different from other video
games on the market.
Mark: We really
wanted to design a two player game so Greg and I could play
against each other. We consider ToeJam & Earl to be a
two player game with a one player option. If you haven't seen
this game in the two player mode, grab a friend and give it
What can you tell us about the sequel to ToeJam & Earl
which you are currently working on?
ToeJam & Earl are invited back to earth to give a rap
concert. Unfortunately for our heros, a boogie man steals
the compact discs which are necessary for ToeJam & Earl
to perform the concert. The object of the game is to search
for the CDs on many different levels. The game will look different
and offer a larger variety of gameplay experiences. There
will be many new places to explore.
Greg: We are
planning various world environments and many more default
items which ToeJam & Earl will be able to use all the
time. We've also created many new items and plenty of new
S.V: Will the basic gameplay of the sequel
No. ToeJam & Earl 2 (working title) will feature
fixed worlds, not randomly generated ones. This allows us
to offer more detail and more secret places to explore.
S.V: When will the sequel
It takes us nearly a full year to complete a game like ToeJam
& Earl. For the sequel, we're getting more help, so it's
going a little faster.
not sure exactly when the new game will be released, but we're
working hard to complete ToeJam & Earl 2 in time
for Christmas 1992.
S.V: Aside from ToeJam
& Earl, what other games do you enjoy?
We really like Road Rash and Sonic the Hedgehog
on the Genesis.
Suppose someone has an idea for a hot new video game, what
should they do?
If you want to create video games, I suggest you first finish
college, because you must have a computer or technical background.
Greg: An artistic
background is also helpful, especially if you're not technically
orientated. If you have an idea for a game, develop a demo
on a computer. No video game publisher wants to hear just
an idea. They always want to see a working prototype of the
game. If you don't have the knowledge to write a game on a
computer, put together a team of friends who can help you.