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The anatomy of Evolve - interview photo
The anatomy of Evolve - interview
by Bill Zoeker

Our own gentle giant, Max Scoville, had a chat recently with Denby Grace of 2K Games about their upcoming title, Evolve. In case you missed it, Evolve is being developed by Turtle Rock Studios, the minds behind the Left 4 Dead series. Max got the scoop on some of the finer points of gameplay in this "4v1" clash of predator and prey.

After sifting through the game footage for this video, I'm thoroughly intrigued by the unusual concepts presented in Evolve. Knowing this game comes from the people who crafted the remarkable AI in L4D, I'm rather excited at the idea of a new multiplayer game I can just play by myself when my friends aren't around. *cough*Payday 2*cough*

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Free games, AOL discs and the afterlife with Ackk Studios photo
Free games, AOL discs and the afterlife with Ackk Studios
by Jonathan Holmes

A week and a half ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes), we welcomed Brian and Andrew Allanson of Ackk Studios to the program. We talked about their breakout success Two Brothers, their start in making their own games (and Pokemon toys) before they were old enough to drive, the differences and similarities between using writing, coding, music, and visual art to convey ideas, and a lot more. 

I was taken aback by how creating games seems to be something that's hardwired into the Allanson brothers's DNA, though the idea that their games have the potential to be widely accepted and appreciated is still so new to them. They've made a lot of games over the years, some of which they would only consider releasing under assumed names, as they never intended for anyone outside of their small circle to ever experience them.

Their excitement to finally share their games with the world at large seems to be taking precedent over their interest in getting big money, as their next game will be a free title for phones that will take a very different approach to life and death than Two Brothers. After that, it's the release of Project Y2K, a game where you use excess AOL start up discs (or their non-lawsuit friendly parody equivalents) to battle opponents, among other things. It's definitely one to look forward to. 

Thanks again to Brian and Andrew for being on the show. We're taking a break from live recording this weekend as Sinistar (our intrepid production manager and engineer) is moving to a new galaxy. Stay tuned for the rerun of our most recent episode with Jake Elliot (Kentucky Route Zero) and come on back on February 16th when we welcome Mike Kasprzak to the program.

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How Paradox Interactive found success in a niche market photo
How Paradox Interactive found success in a niche market
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Paradox Interactive is best known for their hardcore grand strategy titles on the PC market. Makers of such hits as Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Magicka, and many more games, the Sweden-based company celebrated 10 years of independence since splitting off from Paradox Entertainment last month in Miami, Florida. 

Made up of seven people in 2004, Paradox now has 120 people working across four different studios, with an additional 150 other people on contract making games externally. The company has blossomed, with continued revenue growth year after year, yet with all that success Paradox has managed to keep their indie spirit and continues to put their fans first when developing games.

I sat down with Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester at their recent annual showcase to see how Paradox has found success in such a niche market, and where he sees the gaming industry heading towards.

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Paradox on how to do free-to-play the right way photo
Paradox on how to do free-to-play the right way
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Magicka: Wizard Wars is Paradox Interactive's take on the MOBA genre. While most companies have had trouble getting a foothold in the market thanks to how dominating League of Legends and Dota 2 are, Wizard Wars looks to have a better chance establishing itself with how it's offering more bite-sized MOBA battles.

"It looks like we're jumping on the MOBA bandwagon as the same time as everyone else, which I see how it looks from the outside, CEO of Paradox Interactive, Fredrik Wester, told me at their annual showcase last month. "We discussed though building a bigger PvP version of Magicka because so many people were asking for it. Magicka is basically built for PvP, especially if you have friendly fire. I think that is one of the key selling points for us. You can't just go in like you do in League of Legends, I play a lot of League of Legends, and you go in there with everything that you have, and you don't have to care about your teammates.

"Magicka you have to watch your teammates. If your teammate is low on health you can't just throw a fireball in his general direction because you're going to kill him. We are also focusing more on 10- to 20-minute matches. I never play classic League of Legends no more because some games can take an hour. I don't want to spend that in one competitive game. Even ARAM, which is their short game mode, takes 25 to 30 minutes to complete, if it's not like a total steamroll."

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12:30 PM on 02.02.2014

Sup Holmes doubles down on Kentucky Route Zero

Today on Sup Holmes we welcome Jake Elliot of Cardboard Computer (Kentucky Route Zero, Wikipedia Vs. Predator) to the program. Jake's been creating games and "artware" for years, but it was Kentucky Route Zero that really put...

Jonathan Holmes

4:30 PM on 01.31.2014

Spearhead: We found Sony more helpful than MS or Nintendo

Making a brand new game studio isn't easy. So imagine the undertaking of creating a new brand, crafting a never-before-seen IP, gathering a production crew, and shipping a game in a year. That's what Spearhead Studios did wit...

Chris Carter







Nightmares about being a man inspired The Castle Doctrine photo
Nightmares about being a man inspired The Castle Doctrine
by Jonathan Holmes

A week and a half ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we were lucky to snag Jason Rohrer (Primrose, Sleep is Death, Inside a Star-filled Sky) on the cusp of the release of his latest game, The Castle Doctrine (out now, 25% off for a limited time). 

We talked about what it's been like to live in "the pixelated shadow" or Passage (the game that first put him on the map), the process of putting out Diamond Trust of London (the world's first fan-funded DS game), his file sharing software Mute (downloaded over one million times as of 2008), the urge to create a game that equals the incredible experience of having a real conversation, what motivated him to make a game about feeling awful and being awful (my words, not Jason's), and a lot more. 

The Castle Doctrine was born of contemplating society's expectations, masculinity, physical vulnerability and how being threatened changes us. In a lot of ways, it's the perfect game for this age of internet flame wars -- where millions of people people take to their online portal of choice everyday to defend their own metaphorical "castles" (their identified gender group, political party, favorite videogame console, etc.) while working hard to tear down the "castles" of others. It's something most of us have done at some point or another, even though we may not like that about ourselves.

Thanks again to Jason for joining us on the show, and come back this Sunday at 1pm PST/4pm EST when we welcome Cardboard Computer (Kentucky Route Zero) to the program. It's going to be thugnificent. 

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Sucking down the secrets of Soda Drinker Pro photo
Sucking down the secrets of Soda Drinker Pro
by Jonathan Holmes

A week and a half ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we were lucky to have Will Brierly (Soda Drinker Pro, My Girl, The Golden Girls) on the program. It was an episode filled with surprises, including death scares. Real-life death scares, guys. There were a few moments there when I was sure he was a goner, though I couldn't forgo the possibility that it was all an elaborate goof. If Will Brierly had a middle name, it would probably be "elaborate goof."

His biggest game, Soda Drinker Pro, has been played by hundreds of thousands of people. It's been covered in major newspapers. It contains 99+ songs all composed by Will himself. Countless hours of work and promotion has gone into this game about... walking around and drinking soda.

Is it all a parody of the millions of dollars spent on marketing so many meaningless junk food games under auspice of convincing consumers that they are "important" and "epic"? And why does Soda Drinker Pro contain a secret, brilliant, standalone game called Vivian Clark about taking on the consciousness of any object you interact with? Why did Will hide this amazing, potentially crowd-pleasing game inside of another game that seems designed to confuse and misdirect?

I asked Will about all these things. We also talked about his experiences at real-life soda-lovers conventions, his arcade game Get Outta My Face, where he finds the time and energy to create so many games that are so likely to make him rich and famous, his signature "left-handed drawing" art style, and so much more. Thanks again to Will for hanging out with us, and tune in this Sunday when we welcome Jane Jensen (King's Quest, Gabriel Knight, Moebius)

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2:00 PM on 01.12.2014

Sup Holmes gets dismal with Lisa's Austin Jorgensen

This week on Sup Holmes we welcome Austin Jorgensen to the program. Austin is a professional martial artist and part time hunk, but that hasn't stopped him from setting forth on developing one of the most unhinged role playin...

Jonathan Holmes

2:30 PM on 01.05.2014

Sup Holmes sucks it down with Soda Drinker Pro's Will B.

This week on Sup Holmes, we welcome Will Brierly to the program. Will's probably best known for the unfairly compelling underground hit Soda Drinker Pro, and why not? The New York Post, The Boston Herald, and the French think...

Jonathan Holmes



Fjords dev on the spaces where great things can happen photo
Fjords dev on the spaces where great things can happen
by Jonathan Holmes

Last week's Sup Holmes (now in iTunes) with Kyle Reimengartin (Fjords, Lazer Catz) was one for the books. The central theme of the episode was about the energy that can be found in negative space, which was ironic, as there wasn't a heck of a lot of negative space in our discussion. Kyle was on fire, talking about how important it is to leave room for players/students to make something their own, the power of Chibi Robo, how food is everything, the way ShareCart 1000 turns videogames into living things, how supplemental material like guides can combine with a game create something larger than the sum of their parts, how to create art for games on your phone, and so much more. 

Kyle is one of those developers that I'm grateful to have on the show before he gets too big and untouchable, which could happen any second now. His brain is built for making videogames, and it's only a matter of time before one of those games launches him into the world of fame and fortune. Thanks again to Kyle for being on the show, and tune in tomorrow at 1pm PST/4pm when we welcome Marcus Lindblom (Earthbound, Carried Away Games) to the program. 

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The Superman principle, piracy and more with Crazy Viking photo
The Superman principle, piracy and more with Crazy Viking
by Jonathan Holmes

Last Sunday on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we were talking to Taron Millet and Kristofor Durrschmidt of Crazy Viking Studios -- two developers with some of the most interesting origin stories in gaming. Taron got his start on Atari computers, and Kris got his first job by showing German porn comics to Mormons. That could only lead to good things.

Over the course of their careers at Griptonite, they worked on the Lego Star Wars series, Spyro, Assassin's Creed, Shinobi, and a lot more. After Griptonite was bought out, their focus changed from handheld adaptations of home console releases to freemium mobile games, so Taron and Kris went off on their own with their first independent game, Volgarr the Viking.

We talk about the importance of giving the player character weaknesses for the player to overcome by building their skill, the idea of utilizing the "arcade" pay system on PC/Console games, the advantage of sprite-based graphics in 2D action/platformers, what it was like to work on so many legendary franchises, how it felt to see that only 4% of people playing their game bought it, the old Griptonite Vs Wayforward rivalry, hints about their next game, and a lot more. 

Thanks so much to Taron and Kris for hanging out, and join us tomorrow at 1pm PST/4pm EST when we welcome Kyle Reimergartin (Fjords) to the program. It's going to be a holiday flavorite. 

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8:00 PM on 12.19.2013

Dark Souls II will be a 'good experience on PC'

Given that Dark Souls was only ported onto the PC after a vociferous campaign by fans, it was no surprise to me that the PC version felt lacking. Although many problems were fixed by the modding community, Dark Souls II produ...

Alasdair Duncan



Exclusive: Suda 51's top 7 Killer is Dead moments photo
Exclusive: Suda 51's top 7 Killer is Dead moments
by Jonathan Holmes

Killer is Dead was a day one purchase for me, though from what I hear from my peers, a lot of consumers didn't have the confidence to pick it up upon initial release. With the gift giving holidays just around the corner, and all of your "must-have" games already safely in your possession, maybe this is just the kind of game you'd like to own but not pay for. 

Tempted to send your mom out to the local strip mall with instructions to ask the man at the counter to sell her one shiny new copy of Killer is Dead to stuff in your stocking? Check out Suda 51's spoiler-packed favorite moments and see if you're not convinced, and check out our contest for a signed copy of the game while you're at it. 

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The passion and resilience of Super Comboman's Justin W. photo
The passion and resilience of Super Comboman's Justin W.
by Jonathan Holmes

Eight days ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we were joined by Interabang Entertainment's Justin Woodward. His story is among the most engaging we've had on the show yet. Justin went from hustling burnt CD to gaining two college degrees, from using his college loans to fund his game to appearing on the IGN reality show The Game House (along with Soundodger+'s Michael Molinari), from moving out to Silent Hill to moving in with Gish co-creator Alex Austin, from failure to success on Kickstarter, from losing it all to the cusp of stardom. Justin's game isn't even out yet and he's already had enough adventures in game development to fill a lifetime. 

We also remembered to talk about his upcoming game Super Comboman -- a beautiful 2D side-scrolling brawler that allows skilled players to start a combo on the first enemy in a stage that continues on until the very end of the level. Struggles, the game's protagonist, doesn't fit the mold of your average action hero. He's overweight, has a fanny pack and a "front mullet", though these surface level flaws only work to make his perseverance through hardships even more admirable. I was surprised to learn that the the character was inspired by the passion and dedication of real life children with developmental disabilities. All the more evidence that there's more to the work of Interabang Entertainment than you may see on the surface. 

Thanks so much to Justin for appearing on the show, and tune in next Sunday when we welcome Kyle Reimergartin (Fjords) to the program. It's going to tectonic. 

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2:50 PM on 12.15.2013

Sup Holmes ravages and savages with Crazy Viking Studios

This week on Sup Holmes we close up Adult Swimember with Kristofor Durrschmidt (Crazy Viking Studios) of Volgarr the Viking fame. We'll be talking Kris about what drove him to create the greatest Rastan game never made, what ...

Jonathan Holmes