[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on Youtube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.]
Last Sunday on Sup Holmes ...
Have you heard of Catlateral Damage? It's a game currently on Kickstarter that works as both a prequel to Katamari Damacy and a rascally cat simulator. While it's already met its funding, there are some attractive stretch go...
Some weeks ago on Sup Holmes, we welcomed Chris Seavor of Gory Detail to the program. Chris got his start in games working on the original Killer Instinct at Rare. From the sound of it, Rare was able to harness the best aspects of big-budget and independent development in those days. Back then, each team at Rare worked in their own "barn" and made the games they wanted to play. And no, "barn" isn't slang for something else. They were really working in farmyard barns.
Other topics included Rare's special relationship with Nintendo, the hot competition between the Banjo-Kazooie barn and the Conker barn, the surprising, lasting success of GoldenEye, the creative freedom that allowed for Conker's Bad Fur Day to exist, the joy and pain (mostly pain) of voice acting, the company wide vote that contributed to Rare's sale to Microsoft, the malaise that set in thereafter, Chris' old plans for a Conker sequel, and a lot more. Chris even let a bit out about his highly secret new project The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup, currently planned for computers and Nintendo consoles. It's one to watch.
Thanks again to Chris for appearing on the show! I certainly hope it won't be the last time we hear from him. Speaking of which, updates regarding the future of Sup Holmes can be found on our Kickstarter page. The campaign still has a few hours to go and you can already get a few free games on there. Who knows what will happen once the campaign is actually complete?!?! (Hint: we'll make more Sup Holmes and other stuff).
First, the sad news-- Sunday's episode with Chris Seavor was the final Sup, Holmes? on Dtoid's Twitch/YouTube channel. The glad news? We launched a Kickstarter for the show yesterday, and due to overwhelming support, we were fully funded in less than 12 hours. Holy smokes.
We've still got to work out the details of the stretch goals, so chime in if you have ideas for things you'd like to see. A new animated intro, a Sup, Holmes? album featuring your favorite game music artists, a Sup, Holmes? Game Jam with your favorite developers, and a dedicated website (complete with an advice column) are just a few of the ideas we're hoping to put together. If you're a developer or musical artist and you'd like to get involved in any of that, let us know.
A week and a half ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we welcomed Jane Jensen of Pinkerton Road to the program. Jane started her career as a computer programmer in the 80's, but before long, her inescapable love of storytelling and videogames came together to send her down the path of the videogame developer. It's a path she's been on for over 25 years.
We talked with Jane about her formative experiences at Sierra working on series like Police Quest and King's Quest, moving on to create her own horror/adventure series with Gabriel Knight, experiencing the evolution from pixel art to FMV to polygon based graphics first hand, casting big names like Mark Hamill and Tim Curry in her games, how E3 has evolved from a enthusiast event to bloated spectacle of softcore sex and violence, the way Doom changed how publishers approach the PC market, the recent resurgence of adventure game, the difference between making "games for guys" and making them for "everyone", and so much more.
Jane's got two new games in the works as we speak -- a enhanced remake of the first Gabriel Knight and an all new adventure called Moebius. While it will be fun to revisit Gabriel and his voodoo problems, I'm even more excited for Moebius. It sounds like a cross between the current Cumberbatch-infused Sherlock Holmes and The Matrix. It's hard to imagine how that could fail to hit, especially coming from a developer as passionate and imaginative as Jane.
[Art by Bietol]
We haven't done Sup Holmes for two weeks! Isn't that terrible? Sinistar just moved to New York and it's taken him awhile to get internet, but assuming that all goes well, we'll be live today with Molly Carroll...
Immediately after the show was over, I felt terrible. I was so in awe of Jake's brain that I couldn't help but talk about how weird I think it is. If you've played Kentucky Route Zero, you may have an idea what inspired my awe. Like the game he helped create, Jake seemed so casual and unaware of his surreal brilliance, like he didn't notice that he was surreal or brilliant. He spoke of incorporating influences from real life American history, the work of John Steinbeck, America's current Health Care System problems, instillation art techniques, the Great Depression, and the 1976 Zork-precursor Colossal Cave Adventure into the development of Kentucky Route Zero like it was something that anyone might do.
We talked about a lot of things, like Jimmy Corrigan, the difference between Videogames and "Art Ware" like Wikipedia Vs. Predator, the freedom to edit Vs. the freedom to create, why they Cardboard Computer continues to put out free content like The Entertainment, and a lot more. Thanks so much to Jake for appearing on the show, and if Sinistar's tech is back in action, we'll be back this Sunday at 1pm PST/4pm EST with Ludum Dare's Mike Kasprzak. It's going to be Ludarific!
A week and a half ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we welcomed Austin Jorgensen to the program. Austin is a professional martial artist who was inspired by the SNES classic RPG Earthbound to start making his own videogames. Austin's first game, aptly titled Lisa The First, was inspired by some undisclosed "bad stuff" that happened between one of his former girlfriends and her father. It was stuff that would never go away, and would never stop affecting her.
What do you do when you're faced with something that leaves you completely powerless and lost? If you're Austin Jorgensen, you make a videogame about it.
Austin has gone forward from that perspective with a new game called Lisa the painful RPG. While the scenario is different from Lisa The First, the theme of being haunted by the awfulness of a man remains the same. The major difference is, this time it's not just one man, it's all men, because men are the only ones left. In a world with no women, there's no hope for a future and no reason to even try to be anything but terrible. Drug addiction, prostitution, and cannibalism are inevitable in a world like this, but so is the capacity to maintain some form of compassion for other human beings... right? We'll have to play the game ourselves to find out.
These are just a few of the things we talked on the show, and it only got more interesting from there. Why not twiddle away your precious time on this planet with a listen, and while you're at it, come on back this Sunday when we welcome Ackk Studios (Two Brothers, Y2K) to the live show at 1pm PST/4pm EST. It's going to be a treat!
Last week on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes), we spent a fast hour and a half with Marcus Lindblom, localization and translation head on Earthbound. Having gotten his start as a tech adviser and game counselor, he was eventually promoted to work on localization and copy editing, with Wario's Woods being one of his first games. From there he moved on to work on Earthbound (writing a lot of the jokes, naming items, and creating new objects like the Eraser Eraser when needed), and eventually to other huge franchises like Destroy All Humans, Evil Dead: Regeneration, and... Halo 4? I doubt you saw that one coming.
With over 20 years in the industry, Marcus had a wealth of insights, opinions and anecdotes to share. We talked about his dreams of making a new Mother game with Shigesato Itoi that focuses on reliving the levity and sweetness found in Earthbound, how he's saddened by the the way certain AAA games seem to have a pre-installed review score of 9/10 or above based solely on their budgets and intellectual properties, how he's quite unhappy with a lot of his work on Earthbound and would love to re-write it, his plans for a new Facebook-based RTS, and so much more.
The saddest, most surprising bit for me was when he revealed former plans to write a book about his experiences working on Earthbound, only to have Nintendo ask him not to go forward with the project. With Earthbound finding new success on the Wii U virtual console (reportedly selling more copies on re-release than it did initially on the SNES), I'd think that Nintendo would want to jump on anything that will help keep the game in the headlines and fans feeling passionate and talkative about the game. I suppose this goes right in line with their attitude towards shutting down Lets Players. I know there are plenty of people within the company that are firmly against that kind of thing, though history would prove that they are often overruled.
Last week's Sup Holmes (now in iTunes) with Kyle Reimergartin (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.
[Update: Fjords is on sale for just $1.31 until midnight tonight, so get it for cheap while you can.]
Today on Sup Holmes we welcome Kyle Reimergartin to the program. According to Kyle's bio, he "...lives on the Olympic ...
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.
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.
Last week on Sup Holmes (now on itunes) we happily welcomed former Next Level games and Silicon Knights programmer Ryan Vandendyck to the show. Ryan worked on games like Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Super Mario Strikers, and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon in the past. His latest project is the comedy/strategy RPG Citizens of Earth(only a couple of days left to back it!). We talked with Ryan about the culture at Silicon Knights and how it helped take their huge open world horror game The Boxfrom a giant adventure, to a single room filled with cool stuff, to cancelation. We also got an idea of what motivated Shigeru Miyamoto to produce Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (hint -- he just felt like it) and a sense of what it was like to work under the legendary developer.
Eventually we swayed in the discussion of Ryan's Christian faith and how it impacts his development style. While he's hesitant to ever be in your face or preachy about his faith in his games, it's clear that Ryan's belief in the goodness that connects all people has leaked into the thinking behind Citizens of Earth. Sadly, when Christianity ends up discussed in a game blog, it's usually got to do with censorship or demonic Pokemon. Ryan and other developers like him may help change that in time.
Thanks again to Ryan to appearing on the show. We're on break again this Sunday while our beloved engineer Sinistar visits his cousin Mukor for a wedding, but tune in the Sunday after next for more blazing hot Sup Holmes conversations.
If you have even a passing interest in video game music, this episode is a required listen. In fact, I'm going to go on record to say that everyone interested in interesting people anywhere should get to know Jake Kaufman. Funny, insightful, humble, and talented, he's truly a talk show dream come true.
Jake makes for a tough act to follow, but WayForward co-founder and Shantae creator Matt Bozon will do his best to take that challenge on Sunday 1pm PST/4pm EST. Watch us cap off WayForgust in style!
On last week's Sup Holmes (now on iTunes and t-shirts), we welcomed Austin Ivansmith back to the program. We heard all about his fine arts background and formative experiences which brought him to game development in his first appearance on the show, so this time we concentrated on his biggest project to date -- DuckTales Remastered.
There was a lot to talk about, which lead to use going almost 30 minutes longer than usual. Taking on a largely abandoned but still beloved Disney/Capcom franchise like DuckTales is no small potatoes, but Austin clearly had the heart and mind necessary to make it happen. Reuniting the original voice actors from the show, bringing on original artists from Disney, staying true to the spirit of the show and the game while adding new content while cutting design elements that limited the original title, and putting it on almost every console out today took a lot of risk taking, know how, and inspiration.
You'd imagine that after having put so much of yourself into a project, that reading a few damning reviews would be disillusioning, but Austin remains cool and respectful towards the game's detractors. There was a whole lot more we talked about, but if I recap it all hear, you'll be reading this all day .
Thanks again to Austin for hanging out with us, and tune in this Sunday at 1pm PST/4pm EST when we welcome Yacht Club Games and WayForward composer Jake "Virt" Kaufman. Watch as WayForgust continues on to victory.