You might be thinking to yourself right now, "Who's that little guy up in
the banner?" or "who's in that drawing to the right?" (by my good bud Paul ter Voorde) Well that's me, Randy Solem, the creator of Video Game Director's Cuts. The picture of me above was
taken around the time I first started playing video games.
Now I've had just about everything, Atari 2600, Game and Watches, Mini Arcades, etc. But my most memorable system
had to be the Nintendo Entertainment System, the NES. I remember back in 1985-86 when I first got one. My family and I were at Toys R Us, and me and my sister were begging our parents for
one. We got our wish, and man did they make a big mistake. I played that damn thing nonstop. Super Mario Bros. became an obsession for me. Before I got my own NES, I'd have to go
over my friend Donnie's to play it. He was so good that he'd get almost to the end of SMB before he died. And everyone knows the second player can't play until the first died. So since I was
just starting to play SMB, I'd walk like two steps and get killed by that first goomba. Then I'd have to wait another half hour to play. So getting my own NES was like a godsend to me. My sister
wasn't really all that into video games (I think I conned her into helping me beg for the NES). So playing Nintendo, like almost every kid in America, became a daily habit for me. To this day I can
still faintly make out the permanent impressions on my thumb of the NES controller's crosspad...6 hours of play a day can definitely make a mark!
I was always good at drawing cartoon characters, so from then on most of my
drawings consisted of Mario, Toad, Link, and later Sonic.
I first got into drawing on computers a few years later, a buddy of
mine had an Apple II. I'd spend hours drawing on it. I thought it was so great how you could draw, and erase mistakes so easily. I picked up drawing with a mouse very quickly. It wasn't until
around 1991-1992 that I really got into drawing with a mouse. And the funny thing about this is that it was all due to Mario Paint for the Super NES. I can't tell you how much I loved this game, if you
want to call it a game. I'd spend hours making animations, then putting them all together on my VCR to make whole movies. When I got to high school I was introduced to the world of PCs and the
Windows operating system. Windows paint and Corel Draw were all we had, and I used Paint to death!
After high school I went to college to study Graphic Design. This
is where I was introduced to a "little" program called Photoshop. It was all over from there. This image editing program became a new fascination with me. I thought, "You can do anything with
this!" Immediately I began butting my face on Mortal Kombat characters, creating funny pictures such as my dog serving my girlfriend food like a waiter, and anything else that sprang into my goofy
mind. I became so good at Photoshop that the teacher asked me to tutor in the labs. I didn't even have to take a Co-op class because tutoring counted as credits toward it.
It wasn't until 2000 that I got introduced to Macromedia's Flash animation
program. My cousin sent me an email telling me to check out this site called Newgrounds.com. It was there that I first viewed some video game parodies.
They were done by a guy named Clark Lybeck and he had a site called Nintendo Classics. I went to his site and checked out all his movies, and found they were all very similar to short movies I made
back in 1991 with the SNES animation game "Mario Paint." Mario Paint was very limited in features, so I would use my VCR to link my small clips into longer movies. (Wish I still had those tapes so I
could prove I was actually doing these over a decade ago.) I asked him a few questions and he gave me a few hints. Since I already had Photoshop down, and a Video/Audio program called Premiere
mastered, all I needed to learn was Flash and play with some emulators, which are programs that you play old console games on your computer. So I got the Flash and some emulators and began
doing the tutorials that were included with the Flash program. I also checked out some sites such as Flashkit.com and Flashplanet.com
Also through Newgrounds I met a guy named Rob Foor of Razoric.com. He really helped me in my biggest questions, and helped me learn alot of Flash.
I submitted my first movie, Mario Gets Lucky, to Newgrounds on July 13,
2000. To my surprise it made number one of the day. This meant it beat out all movies submitted for that day. The feedback from this simple movie motivited me to begin work on a few other movies,
each one doing well. Once I had a a bunch of movies, I decided to create my own, almost all flash website to showcase them. Video Game Director's Cuts was born. The first VGDC layout is
Since I didn't have a host at the time, I went with geocities.com, a free
hosting service. That site can still be viewed today here, I stayed with geocities for a few months, making more movies, and
submitting each to Newgrounds. I really wanted to get my own hosting, and my own domain name. I remembered that Nintendo Classics was hosted for free by a company called Troma, the same company that
created the "Toxic Avenger" movies. They also hosted Newgrounds. I contacted Tom Fulp, the creator of Newgrounds and asked him if I could get hooked up with free hosting and become part of
the NG network. The NG network is a community of high quality sites and entertainment all linked to NG. After I bugged him for a while, and proved to him that my high rated movie were an asset to
the NG community, Tom finally gave in and hooked me up with Troma. I bought my domain name "Videogamedc.com" after I found out that "VGDC.com" was already taken. I also redesigned the
site for my new domain launch. Somewhere around November 14, 2000 the following flash design debuted.
After a few months of that site design running, I streamlined the site to 4
main sections. VG Movies, Video, Other Movies, and Fan Flicks. Each page had a seperate color theme, with a little animation running along the top header. I continued making more and more movies,
and even cut gave up on a few because the original idea I had for them fell through, such as "Metroid" above.
So now we come to present day. After almost 2 years of the same site design I finally
got sick of looking at it. Not only did I feel it looked generic, dark, and dingy, it was also a bitch to update. And since I posted all the news and new stuff right on the flash, I had little room to
post anything. I finally decided to create an almost all html site, where the updating would be easy. Unlike most high traffic sites, such as Newgrounds, my site is simply a hobby. So I needed to
come up with a design that wouldn't take over my life. Something simple and easy to manage. My buddy Rob Foor of Razoric.com
once had an all flash site like mine, and he switched his over to an html site sometime last year. So when designing the current VGDC design, I used Razoric.com
as inspiration. Don't you feel special Robby? I still kept a few flash elements, such as the button bar. I also used flash for the music button. When I launched the current site design, I had no music incorporated into it. When I woke up the next day, I couldn't believe how many emails I received from people begging for the music to return. So I decided to bring back the music and the on/off button for it.
Well that's the history of Video Game Director's Cuts in a nutshell. Thanks for reading all of this crap...you must be a real fan if you got this far!