I interviewed game developer Jake Elliott in time for last year’s Indie Games Festival, but I never posted it anywhere. I knew the interview was too, too long for publication, okay, but it was just so great, I didn’t want to let any of it go. (I interviewed Jake over Skype during the big Chicago blizzard.)
Now, there is a far more readable version of this interview at Unwinnable.com; in the meantime I got special permission to post the less-edited version right here.
Jenn: Let’s see. Uh, so. I should have reread my notes before this.
Jake: Oh, that’s cool. I don’t have any notes to work from.
Ha! That’s awesome. Also I am really bad at interviewing. I’m okay at having a conversation, though?
Well, okay! That’s fine!
So you’re actually nominated in [last] year’s IGF Nuovo category for A House in California. And this is an adventure game with really simple images, and simple, kind of graphical parser commands?
And I played Hummingbird Mind yesterday, and in comparison it seems like that game is simpler to play? Because it’s maybe all [conversation] trees? But visually it’s actually more complicated?
Yeah. It’s, like, photos….
Yeah, it’s photos, right. Exactly. So I guess I was curious about the aesthetic decision you made with House in California.
I mean, mostly it was a strategy about what I thought might be—like, I don’t really have much skill in rendering graphics and drawing, or anything like that, so it all kind of started as a strategy about how I could do everything in a game, for myself, without borrowing graphics from other people. In something like Hummingbird Mind, they’re all Creative Commons licensed photos from Flickr that I did some processing on.
Oh! I didn’t realize that. I actually—
Yeah, I don’t call it out anywhere, but I mean, I credit the people in the—
No, I thought maybe you actually, um, had just, like, wandered around your apartment or neighborhood…
Right. I wanted to do something like that, but then I didn’t, and I just stole most of them. Or borrowed them, or whatever. Used them. [laughs]Read the rest of this entry »