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You've been in the industry for a long time. I've found that some of the 2D games I played sort of in the interim while 2D wasn't in vogue seemed to lose some of the design expertise from the old days.
DC: Right. Pretty much everybody's moving into 3D.
All of the talented people sort of moved into 3D as they were on the cutting edge, and then more junior people were making the 2D games. You play GBA games, and they really weren't as good as Super Nintendo games. Is that talent filtering back in?
DC: I think as more people move back to 2D, you'll get a lot more of both ideas coming back in and the richness sort of coming back. But yeah, there was probably a period of time when all the sort of main developers -- all the really good developers -- were moving to the newest thing, which was 3D at the time, and so a load of people just moved over to 3D and didn't look back.
That's kind of where I was, as well. I started in the games industry 21 years ago, and I did 2D as a kid. When I got a job, everything was 3D even at that point. In 1989, 1990, I joined a company that's famous for 3D graphics, and I think, for me, I sort of missed that whole 2D making games thing. I really wanted to make 2D games, and that's another reason why I made the PixelJunk series; so I could actually go back and revisit 2D because I never got a chance to actually visit in the first place.
Not as a professional.
DC: Exactly. When I was a kid, I made loads of games that were 2D, but everything just went 3D as soon as I started in the industry.
Did you program BASIC?
DC: Assembly! I started in BASIC, and it wasn't fast enough; so I moved to assembly. I bought loads of books and learned, myself, how to program.
You haven't done a packaged game for awhile, right?
DC: No, not for awhile. No.
You've been doing a lot of DSiWare, though, right?
DC: Yeah, yeah. Nintendo released three of our games recently, and there's a fourth one coming up as well called X-Scape; it's a kind of 3D game.
Isn't that a refresh of an older concept that you worked on?
DC: It's a remake of the first game I made, ever; so way back in the day at Nintendo I made a wireframe 3D game for the the original black & white Game Boy.
In Japan, it's kind of a bit of a cult sort of hit because no one expected that the game could be 3D. I worked with Sakamoto-san, the guy behind Metroid and WarioWare, to do that.
Back in the day?
DC: Back in the day, yeah. It was a lot of fun.
When I first spoke to you some time ago, you said that that's what originally caught Nintendo's attention -- the quality of the 3D simulation.
DC: Yeah, the fact that we actually got 3D running on the Game Boy -- they were surprised to say the least. (Laughs)
In Japan you guys self-publish your PixelJunk games to PSN, but on the Nintendo side it's not self-publishing?
DC: No, it's Nintendo-controlled development. It's good fun; we work pretty closely with them to make our games. With our current set of games, the idea is they're entirely Q-Games, but we work with Nintendo to publish them and get the games developed.
What do you think about the DSiWare platform? There's not a lot of data out there about how it's taken off.
DC: Yeah, we don't get any data either, so I don't know. I can't really comment on that. Nintendo would tell me off. (Laughs) We don't actually get any data anyway, so.
Do you know sales?
DC: They come in a bit later -- because the games only just came out, so in a few months we'll probably get something. The reviews were pretty good for our DSiWare games. We were happy with the scores we were getting.
There are so many different download platforms now that I don't understand how anyone has time to pay attention to them all. Someone asked me this week, "Do you play everything on all the platforms?" I'm like, "What? Are you mental? Of course I don't; I can't keep up!"
DC: Yeah. You just have to pick the ones that kind of stick out, the ones that get good reviews. Unfortunately, it's the way it is, really.