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Mind-controlled games, knife crime, and more with Roll7's John Ribbins

11:30 AM on 03.28.2014 // Jonathan Holmes

Get to know the people that make great videogames

Almost two weeks ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we welcomed John Ribbins to the program. John's been making games on his own since was a kid, but it wasn't until BBC Channel 4 commissioned him and his partners at Rolling Sound to make a game about knife crime that he got his first big break. It was made in collaboration with actual perpetrators of knife crime in a effort to help the world understand their story. That's not something you can say about most videogames.

He and Rolling Sound stuck with "Socially Responsible" side of game development for a while, going on to develop Focus Pocus -- a game you control with your mind (via the NeuroSky MindWave portably EEG reader), designed to help children with ADD and ADHD develop their ability to focus. Creating a game that you control with your brainwaves pitted the team with some interesting challenges and surprises. 

John grew up with two great passions, coding and skateboarding, though he one of those pastimes was far more socially acceptable than the other. With Roll7 (and outgrowth of Rolling Sound) he was finally able to bring them together with OlliOlli, the critically acclaimed skaeboarding platformer (now on Vita, coming soon to Steam, PS3 and PS4). We talked about the game's one-death system, its previous iteration on iOS, how it combines the psychology of skating and coding into a cohesive whole, and a lot more. We also talked about Not a Hero, the little action game that takes offers concentrated anti-hero violence mixed with classic arcade run-and-gun fun. It was great to talk to John about all these things!

Thanks again to John for appearing on the program, and if you liked Sup Holmes, check out our newly launched Kickstarter. It will be interesting to see what happens.


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