Jon Hare

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Jon Hare
Jon "Jops" Hare
Born January 20, 1966 (1966-01-20) (age 48)
Ilford, Essex, England
Nationality British
Occupation Computer game designer, game artist, musician

Jon "Jops" Hare (born 20 January 1966, Ilford, Essex, England) is an English computer game designer, game artist and musician. He is one of the two founder members and directors, with Chris Yates, of Sensible Software, one of the most successful European games development companies of the late 1980s and 1990s.

Hare was co-designer and artist of all of Sensible's hits prior to 1992 including Parallax, Wizball, Microprose Soccer, SEUCK and Wizkid. He was also the lead designer and creative director of Mega Lo Mania, the Sensible Soccer series and the Cannon Fodder series, some of the most popular software franchises of the mid-1990s.

In 2013 'Sensible Software 1986-1999' a biographical book about Sensible Software featuring extensive interviews with Hare, and numerous other Sensible members and game industry personalities, plus over 100 pages of artwork reproductions of much of Hare's earlier work as a game artist, was launched by independent book publisher ROM. Written by esteemed games journalist Gary Penn it was the first and, to date, 'only' book about the computer games industry to feature in the BAFTA library and archive in London.

Hare is also known for writing the music for a number of Sensible Software's games, including Cannon Fodder, Sensible Soccer, Sensible Golf and the never released Sex 'n' Drugs 'n' Rock 'n' Roll, which featured over 30 tracks written and arranged by Hare and his frequent musical collaborator, Richard Joseph.

Since the sale of Sensible Software to Codemasters in 1999, Hare has worked in the capacity of a consultant designer on many games including numerous strategy, action and sports games including Real World Golf and Sensible Soccer 2006. Hare is also one of the founders and owner of games company Tower Studios, founded in 2004 with two former Bitmap Brothers it has developed a number of successful titles including mobile phone versions of Cannon Fodder and Sensible Soccer.

Hare has been a voting member of BAFTA across all media since 2004 and works periodically for BAFTA as both a juror and a mentor.

In 2006, Hare contributed a weekly politics feature to UK video game radio show One Life Left.

Hare then became a director of development at Nikitova Games, a games developer with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and London; and development studios in Kiev, Ukraine. They worked on several projects for Nintendo DS and Wii, such as Showtime Championship Boxing and the as-yet-unreleased CCTV.[1]

Hare Performing at St Lukes with band SID80s, October 2004

In July 2009, Hare joined Jagex (makers of browser-based MMORPG RuneScape and casual gaming website FunOrb) as their Head of Publishing.[2]

In January 2010, Hare announced the launch of a new independent online games publisher, Me-Stars,[3] a games network for browser and iPhone platforms. All Me-Stars games were to feature in game Me-Stars to pick up, win and redeem and interactive high scores and friends lists that appear inside each game during gameplay, depicted by the animated photo-realistic heads found in Me-Motes Messenger (released January 2010).[4] However the Me-Stars games network was never launched and instead became a relaunch of Tower Studios as a publisher on many mobile and online downloadable platforms of classic licensed games from the 80s - 90s as well as new designs from Jon and other game developers. Tower's most successful title as a publisher to date has been 'Speedball 2 Evolution' a remake of The Bitmap Brothers classic game which topped the iPad and Mac charts across Europe in 2011 and was followed up with 'Speedball 2 HD' in 2013 on PC. In 2014 Hare also announced the imminent release of 'Word Explorer' his first original game in 20 years, developed in collaboration with award winning Polish development team Vivid Games and published through a number of different publishing partners including Mastertronic and Big Fish.

Hare has also been a prolific songwriter since 1982 and has featured in a number of bands over the years as a singer and guitarist, including Essex outfits Hamsterfish, Dark Globe and Touchstone, all of which also featured Chris Yates on lead guitar. Dark Globe was particularly important in the formation of the creative relationship between Hare and Yates prior to the formation of Sensible Software and rehearsed in the house of Richard Ashrowan one of Hare's closest friends since childhood. From 1990 onwards, Hare was also a frequent musical collaborator with Richard Joseph, another close friend with whom he co-wrote and arranged all of Sensible Software's best known musical tracks including the soundtrack for Cannon Fodder the GBA version of which was also nominated for a BAFTA in 2000, and is still the only small-format soundtrack to be recognized by BAFTA to this day. In 1995 Hare and Joseph embarked upon an epic 32 track soundtrack for the multimedia product Sex 'n' Drugs 'n' Rock 'n' Roll, signed to Warner Interactive, however in 1998 Warner bowed out of the games market and their Magnum Opus was only ever released as a limited edition audio CD.

Since 2004, Hare has been writing and performing with the Little Big Band, which often features Jack Monck, and he is a member of the shapeshifting C64 rock band SID80s, featuring Mark Knight and Ben Daglish, with whom he has performed at various retro gaming concerts. He is also the owner of an independent online music publisher Sensible Soundware, co-managed by him and Daglish and specializing in the publication of music created by artists in the games, TV and film industries.[1][5]

Hare completed a 3 year tenure as visiting lecturer at University of Westminster, London for "Professional Practice in Games Development" from 2011-2013 as well as numerous national and international lectures on games design, business and his career at universities across Europe as far apart as Cambridge, Istanbul, Copenhagen and Stockholm. Following this grounding in higher education in 2014 he launched, in collaboration with Professor Carsten Maple, a network of UK Games Industry Courses and Games companies known as B.U.G.S. 'Business and University Games Syndicate'. The launch event of BUGS at BAFTA featured numerous talks from games industry bodies and endorsements of BUGS from Ian Livingstone and Ed Vaizey MP, the then government minister for culture. BUGS function being to vet and host links to the completed and published games of students from all BUGS universities (approximately 30% of all UK games students) and to make these games accessible to all games industry companies signed to BUGS (approximately 35% of all UK games companies by employee numbers) to help the companies to identify the top games students in the UK and to give the students industry oriented objectives during their studies.

Games designed or co-designed[edit]

Year Title Platform(s)
1985 Twister, Mother of Charlotte ZX Spectrum
1986 Parallax C64
Galaxibirds
1987 Wizball C64; ZX Spectrum
S.E.U.C.K. C64; Amiga
1988 Oh No C64
Microprose Soccer C64; ZX Spectrum
1990 International 3D Tennis C64; ZX Spectrum; Amiga; ST
1991 Insects in Space C64
Mega Lo Mania Amiga; ST; Mega Drive; SNES; DOS
1992 Wizkid Amiga; ST
Sensible Soccer Amiga; ST; Mega Drive; SNES
Sensible Soccer International Edition Amiga; ST; Atari Jaguar
Sim Brick Amiga
1993 Sensible Soccer 92/93 Amiga; ST
Cannon Fodder Amiga; ST; DOS; Archimedes; Mega Drive; Atari Jaguar; 3DO
1994 Cannon Fodder 2 Amiga; DOS
Sensible Golf
Sensible World of Soccer
1995 Sensible World of Soccer 95/96
Sensible Train Spotting Amiga
1996 Sensible World of Soccer European Championship Edition Amiga; DOS
Sensible World of Soccer 96/97
1998 Sensible Soccer 98 DOS; Windows 9x
1999 Sensible Soccer 98 European Club Edition DOS; Windows 9x
2000 Cannon Fodder Game Boy Color
2001 Prince Naseem Boxing PlayStation; Game Boy Color
2002 Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing PlayStation 2; Xbox
2003 World War II: Frontline Command PC
2004 Sensible Soccer Mobile Phones
2005 Cannon Fodder

Mobile Phones

International Rugby Sevens
2006 Real World Golf

Xbox; PlayStation 2; PC

Sensible Soccer 2006
2007 Showtime Boxing Nintendo Wii; Nintendo DS
2008 Casper's Scare School (video game) Nintendo DS
M&Ms Adventure Nintendo Wii; Nintendo DS
2009 Football Superstars

PC Online

I Can Football
Real Madrid: The Game Nintendo Wii; Nintendo DSi; PSP; PC
2010 Me-Motes Messenger iPhone; PC
Shoot to Kill iOS; PC
2011 Alien Puzzle Adventure Nintendo DSiWare
Speedball 2 Evolution iOS; Apple Mac; Nokia Smartphones; Sony Minis
2013 Speedball 2 HD PC
2014 Word Explorer iOS; PC; Apple Mac

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "A Talk With Jon Hare". Cubed3. 2009-07-11. 
  2. ^ Mod AT, Jagex staff member (2009-07-08). "Twitter / Jagex Ltd: We're delighted to welcome ...". statuses. San Francisco, CA 94107, United States: Twitter. Retrieved 2009-07-08. "We're delighted to welcome Sensible Software legend Jon Hare to #Jagex as our new Head of Publishing" 
  3. ^ Me-stars.com
  4. ^ Me-motes.com
  5. ^ SensibleSoundware.com

External links[edit]