When Gamasutra attended the GameCity conference in Nottingham, England late last year, we encountered a series of intriguing presentations, films and demonstrations centering around games, and presented in a film festival-esque format.
While there, we also got the chance to speak with some of the key speakers at the conference -- including Alexey Pajitnov, creator of Tetris, who was there to participate in a Q&A session following the presentation of the documentary Tetris: From Russia with Love. We engaged him to discuss the state of the casual game market, a form he helped to birth, as well as his current game projects and the storied history of Tetris.
Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi was also speaking here yesterday - have you played Katamari?
Alexey Pajitnov: No. Is it the one with one ball or different balls? I'm mixing a few together. At GDC it was snowballs, where you pick snowballs of different colours -- I know which one you mean -- I've seen it at Game Developers Conference and I really enjoyed it. The features were little bit overwhelming.
One of the things he mentioned is that he's essentially sick of talking about Katamari. Are you ever tired of talking about Tetris?
AP: Not really, because every time it's different people and different questions. And I consider it a part of my mission.
You think of it as a mission?
AP: [Laughs] Yes, I don't mind it at all.
What's your impression of the casual games market these days?
AP: It's growing and finally
becoming mature. The installed base has become huge, people have stopped
considering the computer just a boring tool, and come to understand
that this is a powerful machine for entertainment as well.
Do you feel it's too crowded?
AP: The markets are crowded, but that's the property of the market. A healthy market must be crowded. [Laughs.]
How did Dwice fare?
AP: Frankly, I don't know. They sell it in Kmart or somewhere.
There's retail distribution now, not just online?
AP: No, they have some part of the retail market. [pauses]
I never thought it would be some kind of great game, but it's another small piece of entertainment. It has a deepness to it. Have you tried it on level seven when you have two starters? It's kind of funny.