At Super Rare Games, they strive to bring collectors the very best physical content for the Nintendo Switch. Operating to bring the most exclusive offering of the very best indie games. From the packaging of the products to limited edition trading cards, they’ve got you covered. Their aim is to provide gamers with the purest experience. And we caught up with “Head of Saying Stuff”, Ryan Brown…
SUPER RARE GAMES: THE INTERVIEW
THE J: Can we ask exactly what the role of “Head of Saying Stuff” entails? It’s a super cool job title!
RYAN BROWN: It really is! That’s my less boring way of saying that I’m the head of marketing and communications. It’s my job to run our social channels, build our community, get press coverage, send influencer samples, and conduct interviews! Our head graphic designer is “Head of Colours”, George Perkins is “Head of Doing Things”, etc.
THE J: And where did you work before this?
RYAN BROWN: Before working here, I was the PR & Comms manager for gaming merchandise company and games publisher Numskull Designs & Numskull Games. Before that, I was a full-time games journalist for The Mirror, but also write for FANDOM, VG247, Switch Player, and others. I’ve appeared on BBC Radio and BBC News, and was part of the BAFTA Games 2020 jury. I’m probably better known as @Toadsanime in the world of Twitter though!
A GAMER’S LIFE
THE J: Have you always been a big gamer?
RYAN BROWN: Always, as far back as I can remember. I grew up on DOS PC games and think I finished DOOM when I was around 6. Then I moved on to the PS1 and Game Boy Color. Games have formed many of my closest friendships, been the basis for many of my fondest memories, and is my main passion in life. It’s something I think I’ll always be dedicating my life to.
THE J: Have you always been a collector (of anything!?)
RYAN BROWN: I think collecting is something that’s just innately a part of me. I’m a serious video game collector but I’ve also always collected video game merchandise; I have just as many figurines as I do actual physical games at home! But yeah, video game collecting has always been a thing for me, my main focus at the moment is of course the Nintendo Switch but I also collect for PS1, PS2, Game Boy, and GameCube. Pretty much anything video game related, really!
THE J: What are your all-time favourite videogames?
RYAN BROWN: Ooh, that’s a tough one for sure. NieR:Automata is my recent go to answer for my all-time favourite game. But when I was younger it was Kingdom Hearts, and even Jade Cocoon or Dino Crisis 2 when I was very young. DOOM (2016), Super Mario Odyssey, PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate, Digimon World, Rayman Origins, and a bunch more make my list though. I fall in love with a lot of games haha.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…
THE J: So, how did Super Rare Games come about?
RYAN BROWN: We’re genuinely so passionate about physical game collecting and indie games, and there was a gap in the market for rare print publishers like us, so it just made sense to go for it. I’m relatively new to the company myself, but the founder George is so seriously passionate about Super Rare Games and what we stand for that he has a tattoo of our logo on him!
George Perkins’ famous “SRG” (Super Rare Games) tattoo
THE J: Is the business model simply to find a popular indie download game and make a physical copy?
RYAN BROWN: We definitely want to bring popular and highly requested digital Switch games to a physical format, but for us as people that care deeply about indie games and preservations there’s also a part of us that want to shine a spotlight on underrated indie gems. Some of our titles, like Old School Musical, perhaps weren’t on people’s radars yet but were received really well when we announced them and started talking about them. That’s always a great feeling, because we do genuinely want to help small indie developers. Of course, if there’s a big game everyone’s requesting, we want to pursue that too.
THE J: Do you have a set criteria for a new release? i.e. the depth of a game, moral code, previous release history?
RYAN BROWN: There’s no rulebook per-se, but yeah we like to have a lot of variation in our library. If we have too many puzzle games in a row, for example, people may understandably get a bit tired of that. I think we’ve become really good at having an incredibly diverse library of games. Of course, there’s a lot of other factors which come into play. Like whether we have a pre-existing relationship with a developer, whether a physical release makes sense for them financially, etc etc.
THE J: You are currently exclusive to releasing games for the Nintendo Switch, would you consider other consoles… or maybe even retro consoles?
RYAN BROWN: Maybe! No plans right now, as we’re really dedicated to the Nintendo Switch at the moment, we think it’s an absolute paradise for excellent indie games and there’s an absolute ton that deserves the physical treatment. But we’ll be helping preserve video games physically for as long as possible, so perhaps we’ll branch out in the future.
THE J: What’s been your personal favourite release so far?
RYAN BROWN: My personal fave is probably Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, which is a superb co-op experience. Or Snake Pass. I loved the latter so much I got my Super Rare copy signed by the developers way before I joined the company!
“I GOT WORMS”
THE J: The Worms series is a huge name to be associated with, did they approach you first?
RYAN BROWN: I had to ask George about this, but it’s actually a really interesting story! Super Rare Games actually started as a side passion project of his while he maintained a full-time job. So I know he was juggling that job with the first few releases of Super Rare. He literally had to take calls on his lunch break from developers to discuss Super Rare releases! He reached out to Team17 to discuss working on a few games during one of those lunch breaks and once he secured Worms W.M.D. realised that he needed to go full-time with it. It was surreal for him to sign that game because the series is older than George is haha! So yeah, that game was definitely a turning point for Super Rare Games.
THE J: Are there any more older games series you’d like to revive?
RYAN BROWN: While we just publish physical games and don’t have any control over games that get made, speaking personally, there’s loads of series I’d like to see make a comeback. I’d love to see Jade Cocoon ported to the Switch and a new game released, but it’s sadly not very likely. I need PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate on the go. Dino Crisis, Dead Space, Silent Hill, Ristar, and Rayman need new entries or I might cry.
THE J: What do you consider to be the biggest success for Super Rare Games so far?
RYAN BROWN: Generally speaking, it’s the number of great games we’ve been able to create physical versions of. Also, being able to build a community of like-minded people that are as passionate about preservation and collecting as we are. In terms of games, Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf is our fastest-selling release so far.
THE J: We have seen your games on Metal Jesus Rocks and other YouTube gaming channels, do you put aside a number of units for promotion?
RYAN BROWN: Yeah, Metal Jesus Rocks is awesome! We’ve been so fortunate to have so many great channels show off our games. A certain number of copies are held back from sale for samples, copies for the developers, and customer service replacements. When we say a game has 4,000 units though, we mean it! That’s the total amount printed, which includes the copies put aside for various reasons.
IN HIGH DEMAND
THE J: Super Rare Games has recently increased the number of units per new release, what informed this decision?
RYAN BROWN: We’re constantly assessing demand, so the exact number of physical games and trading cards we make is going to continue fluctuating. Our worst possible scenario is that there are thousands of people who really want our games but their only option is to buy marked up copies on eBay. We don’t want to be rare and restrictive for the sake of it. We want everyone that genuinely wants our games to have a chance at getting them. If our fan base continues growing over the years, it’s likely our unit numbers will too.
THE J: How do you feel about your products being bought and resold on auction sites?
RYAN BROWN: It’s a tricky balance. Part of the advantage of having a physical copy is the ability to lend or resell it to a friend when you’re done. Gamers definitely deserve those full ownership rights. On the other hand, we want our games to actually go to people who genuinely want to play or collect them, rather than scalpers who purchase it with the sole purpose of immediately reselling it. We have a hard purchase limit of 2 copies per game and actively look for and cancel any orders that go above this limit or are suspected of scalping. As a collector myself, it’s so commendable seeing how much effort Lindsey here puts into.
GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL!
THE J: They’re all numbered, right? Would you be able to track a re-sale?
RYAN BROWN: While each release is numbered as part of our collection, the games aren’t individually numbered, so we’re unable to track a re-sale.
THE J: There have been some really special packages put together for your releases, such as signed cards from the developers themselves, can we expect more treats like these in the future?
RYAN BROWN: Absolutely! We’re still releasing SteelBooks and Collector’s Editions packed with goodies for certain games and we have plans for more of those in the future. We’re always thinking of new concepts which collectors will want to see in our games. Ad we’re always open to suggestions and feedback.
THE J: Can you recommend any games coming soon we need to look out for?
RYAN BROWN: We previously announced Dandara, Darkwood, and Freedom Finger, which are still part of our line-up for this year. There’s a lot more coming this year and next which we’re really excited for!
THE J: What does the future hold for Super Rare Games?
RYAN BROWN: More awesome rare print physical games, more indie games you already love or will love, and lots more collectible physical goodies. As for games, I can’t spoil anything, but our line-up for 2021 is already extraordinary.
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