Originally intended for inclusion in a miniature revival of the Clickzine, I've decided to post this interview as an article. This was an interview conducted via DC Mail way back in July between AndyUK and myself, and has been largely unedited.

OMC: When you created Tops, was it a sudden inspiration or did you tweak it much before you were happy with it? Pretty much, what's the story of Tops' birth?

AndyUK: I created him along with a group of characters. They were all supposed to be part a comic series with loads of crossovers with other video game mascots. All of the villains had gotten fed up of losing so had banded together. It was probably too ambitious to work so I didn't even start drawing the comic.

OMC: So he was part of a group. Did you just doodle a bunch of characters and keep them as they were or did they develop over time in looks and personality? Certainly your art skills have improved, but have the designs changed?

AndyUK: Nah, they've never changed. I don't really think my drawing skills have improved much either. I mean, I've not really drawn anything for about 8 years. Besides the odd picture for a title screen.

OMC: So Tops has starred in Tops 1-3 (and soon 4) but has he ever appeared in another game? Perhaps with another of your characters or a klik crossover?

AndyUK: He makes a cameo in Lost woods Dizzy and Lil' pirate. I don't think he is in anything else. Someone did a remake of Lost woods Dizzy with some game creator called DIZZYAGE but made Tops look strange. Oh yeah! And of course Jon Lambert's Tops 2 remake which looks great!

That's quite a lot isn't it? Haha.

OMC: Yes it is, hehe. On a tangent, was Lil' Pirate one of the characters you created along with Tops? He and Buzz the Squirrel have the same quaint design.

AndyUK: I created LP just for Lil' pirate after watching a Speed run of an insanely difficult NES game called Mr. Gimmick! It was some old Total Klik competition that got me started. It was supposed to look like a NES game and was started in The games factory. But I got fed up with the limited colours so I remade it from scratch in MMF2.

OMC: So you've been working away at Tops 4. After going back and remembering what it was like, do you plan on continuing to make more Tops games in the near future?

AndyUK: I don't plan what I'm going to make next. I was making a Shoot-em-up so I might carry on with that when I'm finished with Tops 4.

OMC: Have you considered drawing a Tops comic again? Perhaps branching out into Tops games other than platformers?

AndyUK: I did try to make a comedy comic once with Tops, Buzz, and uh... myself, going into various video games and messing about. It's embarassing just thinking about it. But I wouldn't have been able to keep it up anyway. I guess I've got a short attention span, heh. I think I did two and just gave up.

There's no reason why Tops can't be in something other than a platformer I guess. I've just not really thought about it.

OMC: Haha, sounds entertaining!

It's pretty cool that Tops has kind of become one of the klik gaming mascots. Do you think it's fun to have people want to make their own games starring Tops?

AndyUK: I'm surprised people even like my old Tops games. They've dated really badly. I guess I'm lucky that people generally like my games. But I've learned loads since then. Maybe it's just not always so obvious from playing it. But things like Fixed jump height, sinking into the floor, and no idea how fastloops work made my old games really sloppy work.

OMC: Are there any outstanding sources of inspiration for your characters or games? If something made you want to create a character that's pretty much a head with limbs, it's got to be pretty funky.

AndyUK: I was always a fan of Codemaster's Dizzy games which is just an egg with a face and boxing gloves. But I'm not sure I was inspired by it really. I dunno, I find inspiration from lots of things I guess. It depends on what I'm playing at the time. For instance, that forest background in Tops 4 was inspired by the first level of Mickey mouse in Castle of Illusion on the Megadrive/Genesis.

OMC: Well, I think that's all I have. Anything else you'd like to add?

AndyUK: I can't think of anything else.

OMC: Thanks for your time, Andy!