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Interview #018: Andrew Newey - Sidebar Games

Fore! Ever since this title was first announced in 2017, Golf Story has been one of the top #nindies titles on the Nintendo Switch eShop. Even better, a physical release is coming on September 28, 2018, courtesy of Limited Run Games. Come learn more about the studio behind this RPG gem and get ready to hit the green!

Download Golf Story from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy (from 09/28/18-10/12/2018) the physical version from Limited Run Games here.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Andrew and I worked on Golf Story, which is the only notable thing I've done up until this point.

What was the first console and game you remember playing?

I have some vague memories of playing Super Mario 3 on the NES. I don't remember much except falling down the hole repeatedly. My other memory is the very first stage of Super Mario 64. So I guess I bonded to various depictions of Mario from a young age. It would explain a lot, actually.

What is your fondest childhood video game memory?

Playing Paper Mario on Gamecube. I loved how every area and character was completely different and you never knew what was going to happen next. As I was getting near the end, I purposely tried to play slower because I was sad about the prospect of not having any new areas to find. Sadly, it came to an end eventually, as all Mario games do.

Before we talk about your studio's debut title, Golf Story, can you share a little history as to how the Sidebar Games was formed and who is on the team?

We are two people who created the company of Sidebar Games to release the game under. In the beginning, it was weird being referred to as such since we had just created the company a couple weeks prior and didn't identify with it in any way yet.

Golf Story is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch. At the time of the game's release on September 28, 2017, the Switch was still in its first year. Was there anything specific about the console that appealed to you over the others on the market?

The #Nindies movement was forming around the time and it seemed like a good place for new developers to go. Nintendo also encouraged sending unsolicited tweets with your game ideas, and that's actually how we got accepted as Switch developers. We were also making the game for Wii U at the time, so it seemed like a natural progression.

For those that have yet to step onto the green, could you briefly explain the story and gameplay?

You play as a golfer who decides to chase his childhood dream of becoming a professional golfer at around age 30. The gameplay consists of hitting golf balls at pretty much everything you come across in order to impress people and improve at golf. And you get to play some regular golf courses too.

What was the inspiration to create a golf RPG?!

I like to have a story mode in pretty much any kind of game, so the RPG and story part was decided before the golf. I think golf lends itself to a lot of different types of challenges more than any other sport. And golfers are very opinionated about golf, so that leads to interesting situations as well.

GALF! Within Golf Story is a complete NES inspired golf game called GALF. Please tell us more!

I went through a period of seeking out and playing various second hand NES and Super NES golf games and accidentally developed an appreciation for them in that time. The GALF mini-game started off as more of a launch monitor which would reflect a real-world shot with retro graphics, but then we decided it should just be a real game.

Exactly one year after releasing on the Nintendo Switch eShop, Golf Story is getting a physical release via Limited Run Games on September 28, 2018. How did the two companies come together and how long has this been in the works?

They contacted us around the time the game released, but we had agreed to do something with Fangamer already so we had to say no. Later, the two companies decided to work together so we got to have both versions. I was very pleased when this happened as I had seen a documentary about Limited Run on YouTube a couple years earlier and was a fan.

How exciting is it to see your game not only get a physical release, but a Collector's Edition with exclusive content from Fangamer?

It's pretty exciting. Fangamer was keen before the game even came out so it has been planned for a long time.

Are you able to tease your studio's next project?

No, it will have to remain top secret for now. However, I will say that I'm quite excited about it and I think it's a bit different from what you normally get with this type of game.

When it comes to the Nintendo Switch, is your preferred method of play handheld or docked?

I think I play games docked most of the time, but I like to have it handy for browsing the eShop in portable mode.

Besides your own, what game(s) are you currently playing and which ones are you looking forward to?

I’ve been playing 7 Billion Humans, it’s a great game. This will probably sound boring, but I'm anticipating getting the new FIFA game. I realize FIFA is known as the yearly E3 reveal that everyone dreads, but I like it as of a few months ago.

Finally, is there anything else you'd like to share today?

Please look forward to the physical Golf Story release and eventually a new game from us.

Download Golf Story from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy (from 09/28/18-10/12/2018) the physical version from Limited Run Games here.

Follow Sidebar Games


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