Come and see how good their Art Director looks!
Thu, 24 August 2006
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As a large percentage of you Buttonholer's already know, Hyper magazine provides excellent reading every month. It is also very pleasing to the peepers. For that aesthetic sweetness, we can thank the mag's Art Director, Malcolm Campbell. Malky (as Mr. Campbell is also known) was generous enough to take some time out of his exceptionaly busy schedule to do this Q&A article for us, allowing us to find out a little more about the job he does and the man himself.
Previously at Buttonhole we've featured Q&As with Hyper's Editor Cam Shea, Deputy Editor Daniel Wilks and Game Theory author (& yo-yo slinger extraordinaire) Séamus Byrne. All of those went over extremely well. So here's another one because, as they say, "the fourth time is the even bigger charm" (okay, nobody really says that). Go ahead and read your hearts out, as Malcolm proves he can give great, informative answers and be a really funny bugger.
Q. G'day Malcolm, thanks for doing the Q&A for us. To start things off, please give us some background info about yourself. How'd you come to obtain your position as Art Director at Hyper magazine?
A. I'd been reading Hyper since the first issue and thought it'd be great to work on, so I wrote to Stuey Clarke asking if there were any positions open and luckily ended up doing PC PowerPlay. After a few years of that, and a few months on PC Active I finally landed the Hyper job.
Q. What are your duties as Art Director, what is a typical month working on the mag like (I suppose I'm after a brief job description here)?
A. I have to design and layout all the editorial (non-advertising) pages and covers. Sourcing, colour correcting and pre-pressing images takes the most time, but coming up with concepts for the features is probably the most taxing. Oh, and covers. Covers are painful. Depending on what's happening on other mags I oversee, the first two weeks of an issue of Hyper are pretty relaxed and the last two are hard work.
Q. Any advice you can pass on to folks who are hoping to get into graphic design, or related fields?
A. Go to college. Work hard. Get good at type. Try to get some exercise. Floss.
Q. What are the main advantages and disadvantages you have working with a magazine, compared to a website?
A. Websites don't have colours sprayed across a wide and varied spectrum subject to the whim of their printers. Websites don't have to worry when they get low-res game assets. I was going to say you can't have a leisurely read of a website in the toilet, but I guess with wireless that's not true any more…
Q. Are there any websites or magazines (not necessarily game-related), apart from Hyper of course, that you read regularly?
A. The usual design mags: iDN, Monster Children, Refill. Edge is always good. Japanese mags are a pretty good source of inspiration, especially the non-game-related ones.
|This is not the magazine Malcolm was referring to. |
Q. Of the Hyper covers, layouts etc. you've put together are there any that stand out as favourites (and/or that you are especially proud of)?
A. I was really happy with the Medieval 2 layout in 153. The Rise & Fall of Arcades feature in the issue we're working on turned out pretty rad too. The PhE3r and Loathing feature in 130. Covers...142 was okay, but I'm never really happy with them.
Q. Do you guys get much feedback from your readers regarding the aesthetics of the mag? If so, do they write more to tell you what they like, or to bitch about stuff they didn't care for?
A. Almost never. There was one guy a while back who was doing a design course and mailed me to diss my design pretty hard, which was nice.
Q. What are some of your interests and hobbies apart from videogames?
A. At the moment I'm really enjoying being a dad to my two kids, but when I have time: watching soccer and playing when I can, farming llamas, Lego, undersea exploration and piracy, One Piece manga, sneakers, French music, urban archaeology.
Q. Since you're an "art guy", who are some of your favourite visual artists, from any sort of medium (i.e. painters, anime or comic book illustrators etc.)?
A. Oh man, too many to mention! Richard Diebenkorn, J.M.W Turner, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Designers Republic, Tilt, Eiichiro Oda, Sweden Graphics, Delta, Rinzen, Maniakers, heaps more…
Q. Who would win in a fight between Batman and Daredevil?
A. Batman is all about scaring dudes in his spooooky suit and gruff "I'm Batman" voice but Daredevil is all "I'm not scared of nuffin' or nuffin'" but Batman has a BATMOBILE.
Q. Is there anywhere in particular that you get ideas and inspiration for your designs?
A. The best inspiration usually comes from the material I have to work with. The Classics features are easy because they have all this colourful pixelated art I can blow up. An example recently, the Dragon Quest retrospective: the cool DQ logo determined the shape of the layout, and I had some great Toriyama art to use.
|Any excuse for a DQ pic is cool with me |
Q. What are some of the most difficult/challenging games you've played?
A. All those old arcade games, but they were designed that way. I was playing Side-Arms on the Capcom Classics Collection the other day and couldn't believe I'd managed to finish it when I was 15. it was so unfairly hard.
Q. Which celebrity (or celebrities, if there's more than one) do you hate the most and why?
A. I don't take much notice of celebrities, really, not enough to develop much hate for any of them. Maybe it's an 'ignore them and they will go away' thing.
Q. Do you have a preference for any sort of genre/style of game? Are there are any types you generally dislike?
A. I suck at stealth games - they make me all nervous and tense, which gets in the way of enjoyment for me, and I don't really have time to kill on Final Fantasy games anymore unfortunately. Lately I prefer games about rolling things up in a ball and those in the giant-boss-killing / equestrian genre, but I'll play anything really.
Q. In your opinion, which game developers consistently produce the best quality titles?
A. Capcom! No, not so much lately. Nintendo? Maybe just Miyamoto, but he only makes a game every once in a while. I know: Keita Takahashi (the Katamari guy). He's only made one game, it's been excellent, so he wins the 'most consistent' prize.
Q. What are some of your favourite episodes of The Simpsons?
A. Stonecutters, Homer takes over Smithers job, 22 Short Films about Springfield, the Beer Baron, Homer's pet lobster... the late 90's stuff mostly.
Q. The Xbox 360 is now well and truly launched in Australia, the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii will both be here in the not too distant future. Do you have an interest in any of them in particular? How do you see this latest round in the "console wars" going?
A. I haven't seen any games that make me want to buy a 'next-gen' console yet. I simply can't afford them either, let alone drop 2 frikkin grand on a new TV to 'get the most out of the experience'. The Wii is definitely more affordable and Nintendo's current philosophy is admirable, but I'm pretty cynical about all of them to be honest.
Q. Is there anything, visually or otherwise, you'd like to see implemented in games for the next wave of systems that wasn't possible on the former generation of hardware?
A. I saw some nice depth-of-field blurring on Lego Star Wars II on X360 the other day...Don't you think the next gen character models look scary? All high polygon, high res textures, yet kinda...lifeless. I'd like to see some truly grand environments. Like Shadow of the Colossus but even bigger, wider, even more epic.
Q. Are there any games you love that you feel are highly underrated or not as well known as they should be?
A. I've been playing Sid Meier's Pirates lately and enjoying it. That seemed to disappear from the gaming consciousness almost as soon as it was released. There's so many games like that - just check out Hyper back issues for the 80-87 games.
Q. Who let the dogs out?
A. Garfield, the bastard.
Q. Imagine that - for some stupid reason - from now on you are only ever allowed to play three Street Fighter-related games. Which 3 would you choose?
|Feel his burning vigor! |
A. Yay! Easy question! Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Street Fighter III: Third Strike.
Q. Is there anything you'd like to pass on to all those Hyper readers who also visit Buttonhole (there are plenty of them, believe me!)?
A. Thanks for reading! Pants tres bien!
Our thanks again to Malcolm for his time.
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