As I was reading through this most recent issue of Game Informer, I came across an interview with a man named Ken Lobb. The name was one that I did not recognize, but as I continued reading found myself shocked that Lobb isn’t more of a household name in the industry. Turns out he has had a hand in many of the best games from the SNES and Nintendo 64 era, as a development manager for Nintendo of America.
When Lobb started with Nintendo of America was crucial figure in the relationship between Nintendo and Rare, one of the best third party developers for Nintendo in that era. In the interview Lobb goes on to explain that he was in the room when Donkey Kong Country was first demoed and showed to Nintendo of America execs and that is input was they needed to sign the game. He was involved with purchasing the hardware and software for Rare to create Donkey Kong Country into a full fledged game!
Working with Rare led to him being directly involved with other classic Rare title like Killer Instinct, Goldeneye 007, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. In fact, Goldeneye 007 would not have been the game that it was without him. He explains that Goldeneye was originally going to be an on rails shooter similar to Virtua Cop and that he provided the following input “You’re making a rail shooter on this analog stick, I bet we could do a first-person shooter.”
The initial response was that there wasn’t enough time, but we all know how that turned out. When he pitched the idea of four person multiplayer he was also told that they didn’t have enough time, but again we all know how that turned out. A last minute change in the game which required a weapon name to be changed was even named after him. If you thought Klobb was an odd name for a gun, well it was named after this man behind the scenes of one of the most influential games of all time.
Lobb would go onto leave Nintendo towards the end of the Nintendo 64 era, but his time with Nintendo was incredibly influential to the success of the Nintendo 64 and led to some of the best games to come from the era. The full interview can be read in Game Informer Issue #288 April 2017.