Is Hail to the Chimp a political statement in any way?
AS: Sure. I mean, you're going to read into it what you want. It's all there.
The monkey guy looks a lot like the caricatures that are drawn of [George] Bush.
AS: Any similarities are completely coincidental!
I think people should be more willing to take more political stands in games. Eugene Jarvis admitted to me that he was trying to stir stuff up with Target Terror. We've got this medium where we can influence peoples' thinking sometimes. We're trying to go for emotion, but shouldn't we also be trying to do something like that?
AS: Yes, but that's not really what we're doing. What we're doing is trying to make a game that can appeal to a huge spectrum of people, both from a gameplay and content perspective. It's something you can pick up right away, but there's also a certain amount of depth so that you can still like it after a year. The content's the same way. There's silly voice-over and stuff, and there's a news ticker, and there's little scenes with debates and interviews that we might understand but the kids might not.
That's really what we're trying to do. The reason we picked this theme is certainly influenced by the fact that we think that the shit that's going on right now sucks, and it's certainly on our mind. Making fun of that is a healthy thing to do. We're not necessarily trying to make a statement. None of the characters are left or right. You're not going to see a direct parody of the Cheney shooting, but you're going to draw parallels with what's going on in the world right now.
If you make a game that has anything to do with politics, do you feel some sort of responsibility to present a view that could inform people?
AS: I hadn't really thought about it too hard, and I actually feel a responsibility to keep my personal views out of it. I'd rather take advantage of the world we live in to make people laugh. I don't want to jam a message down anybody's throat.
So people who think everything's going to hell are going to think, "So this is saying everything's going to hell," but people who don't feel that way won't take that side?
AS: I don't think so. I don't think anybody who is a right-wing Bushie is going to hate our game because of this message. They'll probably hate our game, but not because of its message. It's because it's ruining our youth, or something. That's okay. (laughs)
What are you playing now, aside from your own games?
AS: The last thing I booted up was Cooking Mama and Resident Evil 4 on the Wii, and Pac-Man Championship Edition. I like that a lot. The last big game I finished was Gears of War, which probably tells you a little about how many games I finish, which is not many.