Do you know what time it is? It's interview time - for the very first time! And Jim from Snowball Software is kind enough to serve as a human guinea pig for our brand new interview series. 5 questions, 5 answers. Gimme 5ive, Jim!
Fred: Hi, Jim! Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Readers of the Daikon Media Blog might have read our Future Pang review, but just a few people know the man behind this game. So please introduce yourself and tell us something about your life as a developer.
Jim: Thank you! I don’t really see myself as a developer, to be perfectly honest. I see myself more of a Dr. Frankenstein trying to piece stuff together to see what lives. If you can call that development, it all started when my brother gave me his VIC-20 that he didn’t want, from that point on I have been creating games as much as my free time allows. It has never been my full-time career but I always wished it was. I didn’t take it seriously though until I was laid off for a few months where I had a ton of time to spend on a game, and the rest is history. It’s now a fun challenge to actually finish and publish a game for the public.
Fred: There is one thing that always amazes me about your work, it’s your creativity and richness of ideas. You’ve created games about a demon determined to leave hell, hard-drinking mushrooms and a space shooter with giant wasabi pea meteors. Seriously, Jim, what is your source of inspiration? Tell us your secret!
Jim: My secret? I’m probably crazy. I mean I almost made a game involving living farts, I’m not kidding! Sometimes a game with the best gameplay, sound, and graphics is still quite terrible to me if the idea is not entirely original. Weird concepts get peoples attention and I have always been excited to come up with original crazy ideas, or even new concepts off of old ideas. You can make a game on anything, so its hard to resist when you have a goofy idea. I think the makers of Dig Dug felt the same when they decided the weapon you use should be an air pump.
Fred: Your newest project also comes along with a unique concept. Please tell us, what ASCII Defense is about.
Jim: My newest project, ASCII Defense, is a tribute to old computers that could not handle graphics outside of letters and symbols. It brings a tear to my eye when I remember seeing a version of Donkey Kong where Mario was nothing more than a letter “P” jumping over barrels represented by the letter “o”. Its where it all started for computer games and people loved them! Depending on your generation, however, ASCII graphics seem pointless … and this thought made me think it would be funny if ASCII graphics had a war against more advanced graphics. Thus a defense game was born! I don’t think anyone has made a defense game involving ASCII graphics before, so that has motivated me to keep going with it. So imagine a tank composed entirely of ASCII graphics shooting cannonballs (made of the letter “o”) at much more advanced and graphically pleasing spaceships.
Fred: One of your games, Future Pang, caused some trouble with Google. Do you want to tell our readers what happened there?
Jim: Wow! I forgot all about this! It’s a little annoying, honestly. Future Pang’s protagonist Razor was created to be very busty. I’m glad my artist did not judge me too much when I asked for the chest to be made super large. The Icon for the game also showed a lot of cleavage and didn’t really get stopped by Google until I decided to make a major fix several months after release. When Google saw my patch, they suddenly realized they didn’t like the icon, so they did not allow it and the game continued to be broken until my artist was able to make a more modest avatar for me. I’m still not sure if I slipped through the cracks or there was a rule change but I’ll probably try again someday.
Fred: Finally, our off-the-wall question from the Daikon Media surprise bag: If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Jim: You’re going to laugh at this but I think an awesome superpower would be to be able to talk to inanimate objects. You could ask your car what exactly is wrong to fix it right away, or have a bush give you directions if you’re lost, and have a coffee mug spy on a conversation for you! Of course, most people would assume you are crazy when you’re having an engaging conversation with a mailbox, and you most likely would become a hoarder when everything suddenly seems to have a personality. Hm… Wait, can I change my answer?