Despite the cluttered nature of my desk, I’ve always been able to work fine (a question I always get asked) and, no, they are not all Transformers either.
Unlike most collectors, I don’t buy everything; only designs from anime and games that interest me. So my collection is by no means random and I delight in surprising people by explaining the back-story to each of the toys on my desk. Though I spared Tim Sweeney that when he visited the studio, as he’s a nice chap after all.
I’ve always had a populated work desk, with my last job being no exception. As for my favourites, that’s a tough one. Dancougar and Final Dancougar are great, but the massive SDF-1 Macross toy is amazing. I also have a lot of love for my Tetsukyojin toy and Kaneda’s bike from Akira. Talking of big figures, the fullsize RX-78-2 Gundam in Japan would be nice to have too.
My current desk only represents about 10% of my total collection, as I have a lot of toys carefully wrapped up in boxes. There’s also quite a turnover too, as I get newer toys and replace older ones (as I prefer accuracy over nostalgia).
In my spare time I run a mecha gaming site, called Mecha Damashii, and used to look after an original Virtual On cabinet. I also play a lot of mecha games, along with everything else out there obviously, and have won a fair few tournaments over the years as well.
My mecha gaming knowledge as also been helpful in my job, particularly during the two years when I was lead designer on Strike Suit Zero: a space combat game featuring transforming mecha. I came up with the core mechanics and overall design, as well as bringing Junji Okubo and the composer Paul Ruskay on board. However, I left a year before the game was released, so the final game wasn’t exactly what I’d intended. The balancing was off and the mecha had a time limited transformation, among other things. That aside, all my mecha knowledge was very useful in making the game and hopefully one day I will be able to make another mecha game of my own.
In the meantime, enjoy the photos of my crazy desk and don’t mind me as I have more mecha toys to obtain and mecha games to play…
Ollie Barder – @Cacophanus
Senior Game Designer
People Can Fly
The Swedish flag Optimus Prime is holding was a present from Arcade Berg, another designer at People Can Fly. The small Gundam at the front is the Hi-Nu Gundam from Beltorchika’s Children and one of all-time favourite mobile suit designs.
I tend to cluster the toys together, so I thought I should give a top down view. You can just about see the Metal Composite Unicorn Gundam in the centre.
I’m a big fan of Gurren Lagann, so you can see Simon in the Lagann and the final form of the mecha tucked away. I also love Aura Battler Dunbine and the alternate colour Billbine was a limited edition figure. Samus from the Metroid games also makes an appearance too.
Interesting shot this, as it features the Layzner in the centre (a very influential series), as well as the Dougram (that inspired much of Battletech) and the mighty Crossbone Gundams at the rear. The White Dingo GM Sniper II is also from a Dreamcast game called Rise from the Ashes. The little ships either side of the Layzner are the OF-1 Daedalus from an excellent game called Image Fight, which in turn inspired the fantastic Radiant Silvergun.
The shiny blue mecha at next to the monitor is Tetsujin 28-go, pretty much the granddaddy of all modern mecha. In front of that is MBV-04-G Temjin from the first Virtual On, with the Burglary Dog at its feet. I also have the regular coloured Billbine too.
Link is at the front, as I adore the Zelda games , and both Getter Robo and Mazinger Z give him backup from the rear. This version of Mazinger Z is from the new series and it transforms into a giant fist. Overman King Gainer and Xan are also in the shot, as I think both the series and designs (by Akira Yasuda) are fascinating.
The final top-down shot and you can see Sam from Vanquish, the mighty Final Dancougar as well as the YF-29 Durandal with super packs. The blue mecha in the top of the picture is the VF-1J Max Type with super packs from the original Macross. Max Jenius, its pilot, is also one of my favourite characters in all of Macross.