An Interview with Sam Dyer


Sam Dyer has recently launched is newsest Kickstarter campaign which is live now at , and as we speak the campaign has already been funded and is on its way to hitting £100k and another superb stretch goal.

We fired a handful of questions at Sam and got some pretty intresting answers and a little more insight into what goes on now Bitmap Books is doing so well.

1. Why the Master System in your book range?

Because the visual compendium range of books will be covering the key computers and consoles and the SEGA Master System plays a big part in the history of video games. It may not have had the popularity of the NES, but it’s widely acknowledged that without the Master System, there would be no Mega Drive as we know it. Legendary developers such as Yuji Naka and Rieko Kodama cut their teeth on the Master System/Mark III and SEGA really got to grips with converting their arcade games to the home console market. Characters such as Alex Kidd were born on the Master System and iconic franchises such as Phantasy Star made their debut on the system.

2. How long have you been planning this book?
For the last 12 months, which included the negotiations with SEGA at the beginning. Having the book officially licensed has meant access to some great assets and some otherwise unreachable interviewees.

3. How do you feel while designing each of your books?
I tend to immerse myself within the given system during the development of any book. It’s hard to say how you feel because you’re so 100% focussed on the task and the main focus is meeting a set deadline. It’s not until the book is finished that you can take a step back and feel proud and have a sense of achievement.
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4. How do you feel when you see your campaign fund so quickly?
Very grateful. Grateful for the amazing support and trust placed in Bitmap Books. I never take ‘getting funded’ for granted so when it happens it’s an amazing feeling.

5. How much have the success of your books impacted your life or career?
It’s impacted my career because it means that I’m now dedicating a certain amount of my ‘work’ time to designing the books. This is very exciting because I’m getting to work on something I’m truly passionate about. The outcome of this also means that life is good, as it would be for anyone that loves their job.

6 What is it about the Master System console you love?
For me, it feels British. Everyone I knew had a Master System as their first console after discarding their 8 bit home computer. In Britain, we really embraced the Master System and it feels like part of our culture. I also love the visual look of the games. Nintendo fans will disagree but it has superior graphics that the NES that were brighter more defined in some games. It has a mall but varied library of games with tons of arcade conversions that on the whole were pretty impressive. Back in 1987, to be able to play a version on Hang-On or Space Harrier in your front room, was a huge deal.
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7. When you first had the idea for the books has the idea changed much over the years?
Not hugely. The visual compendium range of books have stuck to their core ethos. They’ve got grander (more pages, bigger written features) as the popularity has grown, but the core idea has remained the same. I guess the biggest change has been that we now publish other peoples books (Artcade for example) and also also design stand-alone books such as NEOGEO: a visual history. But, the core focus is always the visuals and high-production standards for the print and finishing.

8. Do you get asked to do alot of shows or to do interviews?
Not hugely but it’s nice to get involved when the opportunities do arise.

9. Are you busy Inbetween campaigns?
Always. It’s a constant balancing act between the current book, future books, design freelance and being a good husband/father. I always try to get the balance right!
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10. What's next for Bitmap Books! hint !?
We’re launching The Art of Point-and-click Adventure games in early September. Although it’s unconfirmed, I’d very much like to follow the Master System book up with a Mega Drive/Genesis visual compendium.
Thanks Sam!
You can back the Kickstarter campaign here
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