Deep thoughts

When I was in LA for IndieCade, I got to visit with the fantastic Folkman Twins (known for their recent collaboration with DoubleFine on Massive Chalice).

Nick and Max recently started a podcast called Script Lock which covers the joys (and pains) of writing for games, as well as other stories from some of our best and brightest creatives. In this particular interview, we covered how I got into games (from a career in AI and Robotics), the various titles I worked on (including TheSims, Boom Blox and Journey), and then some of the reasons why I think it's important to try making artistic, independent games even tho it's an uncertain and difficult path at times. 

If you are curious to hear a bit about my history, the company and why I think games are an important, essential part of artistic expression in our society - listen away


Luna at IndieCade 2015

Over the weekend I had the privilege of talking about the issue of Authorial Intent vs Player Intent on an awesome panel at IndieCade 2015. On the panel with me were Eddo Stern whose work is about agency and narratives of oppression and control within games, and Nicky Case, who has done some really creative work in using systems to demonstrate personal narratives and ideas about social norms, behavior and even brain chemistry!

Concept of one of the playable spaces in Luna

Concept of one of the playable spaces in Luna

As I mentioned in my SIGGRAPH post, Luna is a narrative game, which means we will not reveal so much about the story in order to avoid spoiling it upon release. However, we have been speaking more lately about the higher-order goals of the game - which include building a space for contemplative play. 

A perfect stage for talking about a game inspired by Origami and abstract sculpture! 

A perfect stage for talking about a game inspired by Origami and abstract sculpture! 

In my brief talk, I spoke about how players should be rewarded for looking - not for finding. I talked a bit about how a lot of what we are working on is related to creating the world in such a way that players are in sync with its rhythms. Encouraging players to explore and look and see what happens - instead of constantly clicking to get a reaction, or see what they will be rewarded for. It's a challenge to build a slow, beautiful space that blossoms as you spend time with it... but that's what we're hoping to do.

Overall it was a fantastic weekend - from fellow contemplative games like Walden to Akira's own "...&maybetheywontkillyou", the show presented a great mix of independent, artistic games, and was inspiring as always. Thanks to John Sharp, Richard Lemarchand, Cara Ellison and all the organizers and sponsors who make this lovely festival possible!

People say the nicest things...

Hot on the heels of our second ever public showing of Wattam at PAX Prime 2015 in Seattle, Marty Silva has posted some lovely thoughts about our strange, friendly, exploratory little game. 


Sometimes I get worried about the future of video games. When I walk through the halls of a place like E3 or PAX, I tend to get bombarded with spectacle. Blaring music, flashing lights, and gigantic statues flood the senses. Everywhere I turn, people are trying to hand me flyers, post cards, and lanyards. Explosions, murder, sequels, and remakes fill the air.

Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of sequels and remakes filled with explosions and murder that I’m absolutely stoked to play, and I have no doubt that they are going to devour my free-time throughout the rest of 2015. But like I said, sometimes I get worried about the future. Sometimes I ask myself, “Is this it?”

I think that very question is why I appreciated my brief time with Wattam so damn much.

It's great to read about how Marty experienced Wattam at PAX, and also to see him talking about the game, noting how hard we have been working to increase the ways in which it can create fun, social, shared moments between same-couch players. It was also just nice to know that people notice how different Wattam is, and see it as a good thing.

Sometimes we worry that Wattam is just too joyfully weird for this world... but maybe that's silly. Maybe Wattam is gonna be just fine!


Pewdiepie loves Wattam!

Never thought we would be typing up that headline! Here is footage from Pewdiepie's epic visit to PAX 2015 - which includes a few seconds of the nearly 45 minutes he came and played Wattam!

After he'd been playing for a pretty long while, we began to encourage him to cheat the demo and skip the story parts.. because we were afraid he'd never get finished! So many silly things to do in the game - perfect for someone who enjoys pooping, kicking stuff, and goofing around.