Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

An 8-bit Epic

ae3'Samson's Quest' revels in a 1993 that could have been

I hate graphics," Christopher Rosenberg says, explaining that his disdain for the ultra-real renderings found in many of today's most popular videogames is likely directly linked to the many hours of his youth that he spent playing 8- and 16-bit Nintendo and Super Nintendo consoles.

"Some of my earliest memories are of playing Zelda II on an NES console," the 24-year-old Los Altos resident says. It is a time of great nostalgia for Rosenberg, though he doesn't always accurately recollect his childhood.

"You know how when you're so young, everything has sort of a dream-like quality?" he asks. It often occurs that when Rosenberg attempts to remember the early '90s—the era in which his forthcoming film, Samson's Quest, is based—he pictures many objects not as hazy and ephemeral. Instead, he sees them as a mosaic of tiny pixels.

"The landscapes in particular," he says, "I sort of remember them in an 8-bit pattern, even though it was reality."

Rosenberg aims to create this feeling with Samson's Quest, a tale of love and videogames, set in "an alternate 1993,” which will be shot in Santa Cruz. That is, if all of the 8-bit enthusiasts chip in.

Rosenberg, like many web-savvy artists these days, has turned to Kickstarter—a social networking site for fundraising—to cobble together the $19,000 he says he needs to make his film.

It's slow going. The day GT caught up with him, Rosenberg’s Kickstarter campaign had 27 days left to raise the money, which, if you ask him, is "almost nothing" when it comes to making a feature-length motion picture. If the entire $19,000 isn't there by July 16, the money which has been pledged will be returned to the donors, and Rosenberg will have to start again. And he plans to.

"We probably won't make it this time," he shrugs. But not to worry—unlike the hero in his story, Rosenberg has more than a single night to complete his quest.

The film centers around Samson, a twentysomething romantic, struggling to win over his crush: the unapproachable tomboy and videogame professional, Olga. In an attempt to woo her, Samson has strived to become a worthy gamer. One fateful afternoon, after borrowing a console and game from his muse, Samson and his friends accidentally delete Olga's saved game.

The rest of the story follows Samson as he frantically struggles to beat the game in one sleepless night, with the help of various friends.

In designing the sets and selecting the wardrobe, Rosenberg aims to stick as closely as he can to a very specific 56-color palate: the very same collection of shades and hues used by early developers to construct the worlds found within Nintendo games.

Rich Vreeland, better known as Berkeley, Calif.-based chiptune artist Disasterpeace, has agreed to score the film "for incredibly cheap" if they end up raising the money.

Getting Disasterpeace to sign on to the project was a coup, Rosenberg says. Vreeland's notoriety within the world of chiptune—a genre consisting of a wide variety of styles of music all performed using the buzzing, lo-fi, 8-bit tones familiar to anyone who has played early videogames—has helped Rosenberg reach out to circles he would otherwise not have access to.

The cross-collaboration doesn't end there. Samson's Quest will also utilize indie developers of lo-fi games. The way Rosenberg describes it, the characters in the movie are meant to be playing one epic game. But, in reality, they will actually be playing a series of games. "Whenever we show footage of the game that they're playing, we want to show footage of these indie developers."

Those developers, in turn, are helping spread the word about the Samson's Quest Kickstarter campaign within their own social networks.

Throw in the Grecian pixel artist, Helm, who has contributed art for promotional Samson's Quest T-shirts, and Rosenberg's film is an international project.

It may seem like a lot of work for a film that hasn't even shot one frame of footage, but if all of the people involved in the project are anything like Rosenberg, it will be worth it.

"I feel like it's something a lot of people in my generation grew up doing," he says of videogames. "It's this piece of cultural heritage that isn't really reflected in narrative fiction, and I wanted to find a way to do that." And besides, he quips, "I'm a hardcore nerd." 

For more information about ‘Samson’s Quest’ and to donate to the project, visit

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location