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CREATED XXX.XX.XXXX
UPDATED DEC.01.2007
PHIL MIKKELSON INTERVIEW
PROFILE
Name Phil Mikkelson
Profession Graphics, Game Producer, Marketing
NES Reference Color Dreams, American Video Entertainment

It's been awhile since my last interview, but here I am with a new one and yet more information about unlicensed American Video Entertainment for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Phil Mikkelson was Art Director and Producer at American Video Entertainment but also worked at Color Dreams before co-forming AVE. Here's a little story about Mermaids of Atlantis and AVE to begin with, told by Phil Mikkelson:

The original game was called Bubble Bath Babes. It was a Bubble Popping/Tetris/Strip/puzzle game where each time you got 10,000 points you would see one of 6 girls with and without cloths. To release it in the States (since Americans can't handle tits) we had to replace the 12 images of girls with something else. We came up with a liner story that unfolded in 12 pictures and we changed the game into a Bubble/Tetris/Little Mermaid/puzzle game.

If you play the game or read the box you'll find that the Evil Emperor Odnetnin (Nintendo backwards) has encased all the undersea merpeople's toys (games) in protective bubble (key chip), and makes them pay a licensing fee to play their own games.

I also got Color Dreams to license Clive Barker's Hellraiser and almost make a game for their "16-bit" NES cartridge. But of course that project never saw the light of day.

INTERVIEW
NES WORLD:
I just got this Home Entertainment Suppliers cartridge with a game called Little Red Hood, written by Joyvan. Did Joyvan ever show this one to you? It has got to be the worst NES game I've ever seen.

PHIL MIKKELSON:
Yea it sucked. We thought about publishing it.

NES WORLD:
Well Richard Frick told me that Cuestick was the last game and that it was finished. Well was it boxed and ready to ship to retailers or was it just the game which was finished and ready to go into production.

PHIL MIKKELSON:
We had just decided on a logo and started to art for the box.

NES WORLD:
Who programmed CueStick?

PHIL MIKKELSON:
Art Cesstarto (I think I spelled the name wrong) of Odyssey software

NES WORLD:
You sold the Maxi15 to Home Entertainment Suppliers in Australia (I've managed to get a copy of their Maxi15). Their Maxi intro is different from the one released in the US plus 2 games are different from the US version, Pyramid(US) -> Blackjack(AUSSIE) and Double Strike (US) -> Blackjack (AUSSIE). Any reason why the two carts arent identical?

PHIL MIKKELSON:
Many of these games are from different developers. So their Licensing Agreements are different.

O yea, Mike Levie (of Television Infomersial Fame) put together a hour commercial with a live audince, Hulk Hogan and a bunch of other wrestlers and Richard Frick. It's very funny. I have a copy of it floating around. I think the show was aired once and none of the product was sold. I have a copy on VHS somewhere.

NES WORLD:
Were any of the following rumored games ever finished?
Backgammon
Big Mouth Bass
Poker

PHIL MIKKELSON:
Well, the boxes where made, the game was completed but I don't think we shipped any.

NES WORLD:
I've been told that another collector has found an AGCI version of Wally Bear and the NO! Gang. Wasnt this game sold to AVE? (My cart it the AVE version)

PHIL MIKKELSON:
I don't know if they shipped it commercially but there are some AGCI cartridges floating around.

NES WORLD:
I've talked with Jon Valesh from Color Dreams who said that he once had seen a beta of Hellraiser running, is it true or just his imagination? :)

PHIL MIKKELSON:
I doubt it. Unless it was the title screen that I made.

NES WORLD:
What was Fred Hoots position in AVE?

PHIL MIKKELSON:
Quality Control, making sure we had everything we needed to make the games.

NES WORLD:
Could you tell me a little bit about Joyvan as well as Sachen, how did you find those companies?

PHIL MIKKELSON:
I believe Sachen made Pyrimid, and Jovan did some game we published at both companies (remember Bunch Games, Galactic Crusader, O boy) I think that was a Jovan Game.

NES WORLD:
And now the usual question (I just gotta know). You wouldnt happen to have a huge box of AVE prototypes would you? :)

PHIL MIKKELSON:
Yea I have some old stuff floating, that's for sure.