Skip to main content

Graduate's retro creation takes gamers back to the '90s

Thursday 27 September 2018

A GRADUATE is taking the gaming world back to the ‘90s after creating the first new game for the SEGA Mega Drive in two decades.

Matt Philips, who graduated from the University of Salford’s Video Games course, has fulfilled a lifelong dream by created his own retro game for the classic console – which was discontinued more than 20 years ago.

Tanglewood, which sees players controlling a young creature called Nymn as it navigates a dangerous fictional world, is now proving a huge hit with gamers keen to recreate the golden age of games like Sonic The Hedgehog.

Matt ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to get the project off the ground, programmed the game in his studio in Sheffield using coding processes and equipment from the early 1990s and even approaching factories in China to have his own cartridges specially built.

The game, which can be played using the original consoles or ported it onto modern PCs using the Steam system, has recently won a host of industry awards.  

And Matt, who has previously worked for games designers Traveller’s Tales and Crytek UK and helped develop several Lego games and Homefront: The Revolution, now makes a living from his retro creation.

He said: “This is something I wanted to do since I was a kid. The Mega Drive was the first console a played as a kid and it was what I grew up with and what made me realise I wanted to be a games designer. It’s only been in the last few years I’ve had the time to be able to do this.

“I came to Salford because at the time they had the only course using the programming language that was most commonly used in the industry. It was a good all-round course and it stood me in good stead to go on and do projects like this.”

Sega originally released the Mega Drive in Europe in 1990 and the Japanese firm went on to sell more than 30m consoles around the world before they ceased production in 1997.

I would strongly recommend any gamer to buy not just a great game, but a real piece of history.

Dr Umran Ali, Senior Lecturer in Creative Media at the University of Salford, said:  “Matt was a passionate and talented student, and I'm not surprised with his success which illustrates how our graduates are at the top of their game as innovators.

“Retro-gaming has had a huge resurgence and Matt has been a real trailblazer with Tanglewood, going to huge lengths to make sure every element of the game’s design and production was as authentic as possible. 

“Tanglewood is unparalleled in its technical and creative achievement. As a life long SEGA fan, I have my copy sitting in my collection, and I would strongly recommend any gamer to buy not just a great game, but a real piece of history.”