Michael Cowden Creator of Super 80s World

If you liked the video games we grew up with and the pop culture of that decade, you’ll love this game. Battle your favorite characters from the era as you run, jump, bounce and slide your way through the 1980s.


Super80sWorld has been in development for the past 18 months. The first five worlds are being released in our initial chapter:

  • 1980 – Arcadia
  • 1981 – 80s Underground
  • 1982 – Neon Streets
  • 1983 – 80s Toyland
  • 1984 – Miami Nice


  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Bouncing
  • Sliding
  • Falling
  • Neon
  • Nostalgia
  • Power Ups
  • Minigames
  • Inside jokes
  • 8-bit Graphics
  • Synthesizer music
  • Awesomeness

Interview by Peter Ward



What is your first gaming experience?
I remember going to arcades as a kid, but the first real memories I have was opening the Atari 2600 for Christmas in the early 80s.  My mother’s boyfriend bought the console “for her” and later told me that he was up playing it all night – only stopping when his Atari thumb went numb.
We had a lot of the classic 2600 games, but my personal favorite was probably Demon Attack.  I still think the graphics and animation look great today.2.where_the_screens_glow_and_the_tokens_flow-3c00d45397f3e8b3131acc033e9e857eacfeed56145f8273a5ff06402b1aa605
What got you into programming games?
I have been doing software development for about 15 years – mostly on the boring corporate side.  I was looking for a serious creative outlet.  My other passion is music.
That’s where the idea for Super 80s World came from.  I really wanted to create a game about my childhood – the whole thing – the iconic sights and sounds, the games, the music, and all the pop culture.  I wanted to relive the decade in multiple levels through an retro-style game.4.on_these_streets_of_rage-21ed842f6484f06982d8f2410ec5e5b3de7c374e71676dbc3fd79cd63e81e5e8
What development tools or coding did you use?
I’m using C# and Unity.

What hurdles did you have making your current game?

For me the art assets are by far the hardest part.  I had been trying my hand at painting for a couple of years before starting the game, but I’m by no means an artist.  I thought pixel art would be easier because of it’s simplicity, but in a lot of ways it’s not.  Animating characters is easily the most time consuming component of making the game.  Eventually I let go of the “I have to do it all myself” mentality and started working with an artist to add additional characters.7.battle_totally_bitchin_bosses-d1254c3ce76a1ca0082d2716f4db62b95e371d7f8e37692e1eefd19f9bff6b8c
After the completion of the game what game will you make?
Super 80s World comes in two installments, 1980-84 and 1985-89, so that is next on the list.  After that I would really like to try something different.  This game has been a lot of work and I’d like to try a simpler casual strategy game – something a lot less demanding from an artistic standpoint.  Ultimately, I’d like to make a game that either blurs the lines of gaming and storytelling, education, music, or something like that.8.face_your_favorite_characters-576e487f6a43489b10b5286a60c041c1160970e67a8b54e701b3a6ab0325deba

What other games have you made you made?

This is my first. I won’t count the “Turbo” style driving game I wrote using a really high level programming language (English) when I was 7 or 8.


My favourite computer was my Amiga and console the Megadrive do you have a favourite?

I went through a few computers as a kid before my mother finally settled on the Apple IIc.  It wasn’t a great gaming computer, but I did play countless hours of Wizardry on it (with expedition parties made up of members of Duran Duran and Simple Minds).
While it’s hard to name a favorite console, I’d have to say the Sega Genesis or the Colecovision.


What is your favourite retro game?

I have an odd pick here – I don’t know if it’s my favorite as much as it is nostalgic for me.
There was a version of “Buck Rogers – Planet of Zoom” that was released for the Coleco Adam computer.  The game was on cassette and seemed to have endlessly changing scenery.  Later, when the Adam was returned to the store in favor of the Apple IIc, we got the Colecovision version of the game and I was sorely disappointed.  There were only like three stages on that version.


Do you still game on the current consoles if so what’s your favourite game?

I have an Xbox at the moment and really liked “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor”.  I have been trying games across all the genres and some of the notables are “Ori and the Blind Forest” and “Life is Strange”.  The only genre I won’t touch is MMORPGs – a lesson learned after awaking from an 18 month Everquest hibernation in the early 2000s.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 20.39.09

What’s the worst game you have ever played? 

Anything that asks me to deposit more money to continue and isn’t coin operated.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 20.37.32

Finally what game or feature would you like to see on Retrogamesmaster in the future?

There are a couple of retro driving games that I think have a lot of potential:  Slipstream and Power Drive 2000.  I think they’d be a great fit.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 20.38.12