Clark Otto, Jr. Interview|
(Hobby Programmer of Draker Quest 2, Fat Axl, Roof Pooper, and MANY more)
by Silverback (Jon Stoll 2)
Back in December of 2021, I sent FrankoDragon (Clark Otto Jr, creator of 7800 homebrew games such as Roof Pooper and Draker Quest 1 and 2) an email with a few questions for him to answer. I wanted to create a website and do sort of a developer spotlight on those that are keeping the 7800 alive and thriving. The website is not quite there yet, so thank you to Funkmaster V for giving me a place to post this for all to enjoy! So... enjoy!
Q: How did you get started making homebrew games for the Atari 7800?
FrankODragon: There was a thread on AtariAge years ago about a former member whom lied about asking for donations because he wanted a Hello Kitty bike for his "daughter". But other members found out what his true colors were. His avatar was TJ Hooker (Shatner) so there were a lot of hilarious posts of Shatner riding a Hello Kitty bike. I thought about making a hack of a sample game with all that silliness called Shatneroids using 7800Basic, a very brilliant program that makes it easy to code games instead of using confusing assembly language.
Q: Which of your games are you most proud of and why?
F: Draker Quest II. I never thought any of my games would win third place from an independent homebrew YouTube channel for Best Atari 7800 game of the year. It also used a password system that took some time to make but it worked pre!y well.
Q: What are the challenges in programming for the 7800?
F: I was never good in algebra or any other kind of complicated mathematics. I stll sometmes don't understand what's going on with all those equations. It does take a while to get the gist of something. For instance, I was dumbfounded how bankswitching worked until something clicked and now it's pretty easy to understand. One thing I stll need to perfect is how to use the AtariVox module to save and load progress for games such as adventure and RPGs without the need of passwords.
So far, it's stll trial and error.
Q: Do you have any projects that your currently working on that your particularly excited about?
F: I have a few projects I have been working on, including one large project. Some of the other projects have been on the back burner for a while. But I'd like to get them going again when I have the tme.
Q: I love the humor of your games. It seems like you get a lot of inspiration maybe from life or internet culture. Is that true? or do you get your ideas some other way?
F: I've had someone from AtariAge give me ideas for crazy games such as a fat guy wanting burritos so you have to throw him a burrito while working in a warehouse avoiding all kinds of obstacles. Other games can be a!ributed to memes such as Fat Axl aka Axl Rose when he complained to Google about deleting all the images of him being fat.
Q: How does somebody come up with a game like Roof Pooper? It's fantastic and so funny, and plays very well, but it feels like something you would joke about creating and maybe it would stop there. What made you want to see it to the end?
F: Roof Pooper was a simpler version of another game titled, Muddy Heights without all the physics of turds falling from a roof. Its a kind of a revenge game. If someone had a bad day, he could play Roof Pooper and poop on all the clueless pedestrians but not the cops. There had to be some skill in the game otherwise it would get boring very quick.
Q: If you could make your dream game for the 7800 regardless of if it's within the consoles limitations or not, what would you make?
F: I've heard about the game, Rikki & Vikki and how it really pushed the Atari 7800 capabilities to something nobody has ever seen before. I would love to make some sort of game that uses the same capabilities as R&V.
For more on Frank O Dragon's projects and games, keep checking our news for the latest homebrew quips, reviews and articles. As of the release of this article (April 30th 2022) We've currently reviewed Hearty Meatslapper and the Adventures of Olli Troll. Snoop around the Atari Age 7800 message boards for more clues from the mysterious Clark Otto, Jr.