Zelda's Adventure – My First Video Game Job

Mark Andrade, dressed as Gaspra in full prosthetic makeup standing next to the artist Jason Bakutis who crafted it all.

This post was originally written September 3rd 2014 on my old site SputnikGames.com.

Mark Andrade, dressed as Gaspra in full prosthetic makeup
Mark Andrade, dressed as Gaspra in full prosthetic makeup

My very first job doing anything video game related was acting in, writing music for, and being a PA in, of all things, a Zelda game.

I started my career in video games pretty much by accident. I needed a job and I couldn’t find anything in music to pay the rent so in desperation I applied to be a receptionist at a company called Viridis. I only applied because they needed someone who knew how to use a Mac. I used a Mac for music software so I thought ok, I could do this.

After pestering Janet, the office manager in charge of hiring, with way to many calls asking if they hired anyone, she hired me, probably just to shut me up.

I have to say, I truly sucked at answering the phone and taking messages. Luckily they needed a production assistant on some titles in house. Since I studied music, was familiar with audio software, and I just happened to already be there, they keep me on board making sound effects, lots of audio editing, some music for a CD-i title called Draw 50 and assisting in whatever Jim Belcher and Randy Casey needed.

Then Viridis was contracted to make Zelda’s Adventure for Phillips CD-i.

We all wore many different hats when working on this game. They would use everyone in the office as main and NPC characters in the game. The receptionist Diane Burns ended up being Zelda in the cut scenes and I ended up being casted as Gaspra.

23 year old me forever in plaster.
23 year old me forever frozen in plaster.

Gaspra, the old man narrating the game in the cut scenes is me. It’s even in IMDB. Not my voice though. They hired Hal Smith from the Andy Griffith Show to do the voice acting.

Jim hired an amazing sculptor Jason Bakutis to do all the miniatures for the game. Jason also created the makeup for Gaspra that you see in these images. He made me look so old.

He had to create a mold from my face. I still have that mold. It’s like a 3D picture of me when I was 23.

You can see some photos of the sculptures from the game and read more about Jason’s work on Zelda’s Adventure at NintenoPlayer.com and Zelda Dungeon.

Jason was a beast! I have no idea how he was able to make all those models in such a short period.

After filming was done they needed a music composer. I wanted to do that so freaking bad.

Mark Andrade, dressed as Gaspra in full makeup next to the artist Jason Bakutis who crafted the makeup.
Mark Andrade, dressed as Gaspra in full makeup.

I got lucky and thanks to Anna Roth, I got the gig and I'm credited for “Zelda Theme and Interactive Music Score”. Making that score was a an exercise in frustration but that’s a story for a another time.

It was 2014 when I finally saw myself in the game all thanks to YouTube. I would never have seen any of the cut scenes or game play if it wasn’t for YouTube and the people who put all that footage online. Thank you.

Lastly, I can tell you the game that I remember working on is not the game I see people playing on YouTube. Especially the music. Something changed after everyone was laid off. I’m sure Jim has the dirt on all that. He stayed with Phillips for a short time after. You can read some of his story at Zelda Dungeon.

So, my long story short, Viridis laid off myself and most of the people that worked on Zelda’s Adventure. It came out of nowhere and we were all shocked.

It was the killer team of engineers; Eric Milota, Eric Wang, Gavin James and Randy Casey that motivated be to start coding. Soon after I got into freelancing and started to make games for Disney, Nickeodeon and Warner Bros. just to name a few.

I’m still looking for a copy of Zelda’s Adventure. If anyone has a copy they want to let go please let me know.