Martin Jonasson has a fixation on hats. Sure. But also on making awesome games. With grapefruit games (his solo project) he has made and released a bunch of interesting titles, including one of our favourites iOS releases so far: rymdkapsel. Here he answers our questions!
1. How long have you been making games?
I think I made my first proper game when I was about 10, it was a terrible SHMUP made in Klik n' Play. I had made a bunch of other half games and such before using .bat files in DOS, but Klik n' Play is for sure the thing that turned me on to game making for real. A few years after that I got my hands on a copy of Macromedia Flash, and that set my entire career into motion. Of course, I didn't know that at the time. But, coding in Flash has funded my entire game making existence!
2. Where do you find ideas for your games? Tell us more about your creative process.
I still seem to have some of that magical child like fascination for the world in general left in me. Much to the delight of children around me I legitimately enjoy building Lego with them for hours on end. I also find a great joy in learning new things, there's nothing better than having your mind blown by some little strange thing in Math, Physics or even cooking. Ever so often I find something in these little things that I want to try and bring into a game. Automation, robots and artificial intelligence has always been a fascination for me, and that's a big part of what made rymdkapsel what it is.
3. Rymdkapsel is really clever designed. A minimalistic RTS with incoming waves and task assignment for minions? Hell yeah. Played the game for hours! You sure received lots of love and praise from everywhere. But do you remember any crazy feedback from players?
The store comments are an interesting affair. Half the players complain that the game is too hard and becomes nearly impossible after a while. The other half thinks it's too easy and are disappointed there's nothing more to do after playing for a few hours. They both have valid points, but man, pleasing both sides of that isn't exactly straightforward. The most amusing feedback I've gotten was from a really angry person. He (I assume it's a he) sent me a half-page long tirade about how he'd played the game for a couple of hours and hated it. When you send me a support email, you get a little auto-reply back with some quick helpful info that might help you solve any problems quicker. He then responded to that with another, even longer tirade about how the game existed just to spite everyone by being hard. An impressive amount of effort for something he hated!
4. Mrs dad vs. körv is a weird local multiplayer game you realesed for the OUYA (in collaboration with Redgrim and Niklas Ström). Where does its idea come from? And also, what are your favourite OUYA games?
I didn't have too much to do with the design for Mrs. Dad, that's mostly on the Redgrim fellows. But, they tell me they made it because the played Laza Knitez and wanted to make a four player game themselves. I think they even had the name decided before they figured out what the actual game would be about. Körv came about in a similar way. I wanted to do a local four player game as well, so I asked Simon (who does graphics at Redgrim) for some art, giving him no context whatsoever. He gave me the burger and sausage graphics and a game grew around that. Very silly! My most played OUYA game has to be The Little Crane That Could, it's amazing! Amazing Frog? has been good for a chuckle or two as well.
Petri and I have done quite a few game jams together by now. For that specific jam neither of us could muster up enough energy to actually do any work the first evening (we had 48hrs). So, we invested that in hanging out and drinking beers. The day after is when we got to work. I'm not even sure when or how the idea came to be, but it was silly enough to warrant exploring! Then the pieces just sort of fell into place on their own. My favorite game jam memory (so far) has to be from a jam I'm co-organizing called No More Sweden. It started out super small in a basement in Skövde with 8 people in 2008, sadly I couldn't make it that year. But, the year after, 2009 we found a much bigger venue and could scale up considerably. That year is where I met many of the people whose work I admire greatly today, and a few teams of note met for the first time there too. Markus (Notch) met Daniel Kaplan and Jens (Jeb) there for the first time. Today they work together at Mojang. This was before Minecraft was a thing. Doug Wilson (of JS Joust) met Nifflas (Knytt, Night sky), and who knows what else!
6. Do you like hats? Why?
I have an inordinate fondness of hats and accordion music. I do not know why. It may be related to some traumatic event of my childhood?
7. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?
This is a really hard question because most of all I love the things that suddenly come out of "nowhere" and does something new and interesting. I think what Porpentine is doing, while maybe not being my favorite games, is massively interesting for the medium. I am also a big fan of Kyle Gabler's work, that man can work magic with videogames. My last pick would be Derek Yu, because Spelunky is the best game I have played in years and years.
8. Are you a heavy gamer? What games are you playing now?
I don't think I'm a heavy gamer, I'm having problems just keeping up with all the stuff my friends make let alone any of the "big" games that keep coming out. All I play now is Spelunky. But, I do play quite a lot of Spelunky. It's so good.
9. And one last random question. If you could be reincarnated as an animal with some superpower, what would it be and what about the superpower?
Flying cat. Cats seem to have life down to an art. And flying would be pretty sweet. So, yeah, flying cat.
*We Ask Indies is an initiative by Beavl, an Argentinian independent game studio putting some teeth into videogames. You can check all the interviews here (caricatures are made by amazing artist Joaquín Aldeguer!).