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Interview: Graham Goring (Wizball remake)

NOVEMBER 24, 2007

A quick ten-minute interview with the the developer of the Head Over Heels remake.

Any info you'd like to share about yourself as an introduction?

Ooh, I think I've whored my thoughts enough all over the internet that anyone with a passing familiarity with remakes or indie games will have heard of "that Graham arseh__e", so there's really nothing to say.

How has the response to your Wizball remake been so far? Any favorite comments or feedbacks?

It's been really good, yes. Me and Smila have been very pleased with the response, although there were a few bugs and issues which needed sorting out shortly after release. The Mac version should be out soon, too. The nicest response was seeing my old arch nemesis Wiebo De Wit saying he thought it was great, which was really big of him.

Is this really your last remake then? Weren't you working on the Starquake remake as well? Kitty Hawk next? Describe a bit about that last game for those who know nothing about it.

I have to finish the graphics for Starquake, yes. So ta' for reminding me about that. :P And yes, it's Kitty Hawk next with Gary Lucken on excellent pixelling duties and co-design. It'll be a top-down shooter but rather than bullet-hell it'll have a similar design philosophy to R-Type where it's all about the intricate level design than the patterns of bullets.

When are you releasing your next project/remake? Which of the above will come first?

No idea, I mean Starquake'll probably escape my gravitational pull first as it's as good as done from Richard's point of view, but I imagine Kitty Hawk will take quite a while as I've not even totally figured out how I'm programming it yet.

Last couple of indie games/remakes you've really enjoyed? The ones you hated vehemently for wasting your time on downloading and trying out?

Ah, the juicy stuff! Well, stuff I've really enjoyed is doing some beta testing on Aquaria which is a cracking game and full to bursting-point with loveliness. I also downloaded Space Barnacle, which completely passed me by but which looks great so I'm looking forward to playing it. I've not really played anything I hated that much, lately, but that's probably down to doing a lot of mainstream gaming and also not *having* to play anything because I've been too busy with Wizball to do another arsecast.

The status of Arsecast - you knew this was coming haha..

I wanna' do some catch-up shows to cover stuff which has happened in the last million months, but as for a monthly thing, I don't really have the passion for it. I still enjoy writing, but I really started to hate having to write about stuff which I simply didn't care about one way or another. While it's true there are some excellent games and some awful games, the vast majority exist in this grey area of "meh" which makes them a real chore to write about. So basically nothing until I get really annoyed, I expect.

Any indie games/remakes you're looking forward to? Your thoughts on this year's IGF? Who do you think will end up as finalists?

Noitu Love 2 because Konjak's crafted an amazing arcade-style beat 'em up with some really inventive stuff in there and his trademarked brilliant boss battles. As for whether he'll end up on the finalists list, I don't know. I'm not sure of the makeup of the judges this year so I don't know what they lean towards but I suspect anything as wonderfully arcade-like as Noitu Love 2 will have a hard time placing well, despite being excellent. This year it really seems like everyone and their dog has entered, though, after Aquaria doing so well last year. I suspect the judges are having a hell of a problem with signal to noise.

Thoughts about the current indie games/remakes scene? Anything you're unhappy about, or any changes you'd like to see?

I'm not sure it's my place to comment. There are plenty of interesting games in the works but I have to admit not paying as close an interest as I usually do. Obviously I read your site and TIGs daily to see what's shaking, but I think I'm a little out of touch. You can blame Half Life 2: Orange Box and Super Mario Galaxy for that. All that said, I'm really liking the continued embracing of indie games by mainstream console manufacturers and hope that trend continues. A mainstream bedroom coder resurgence is well overdue.

The last couple of indie games/remakes you've played? Your favorite developer/game of the moment? Any indie game developers who you would pay money for, just to have them release one game?

Lets see, last remake I played was Exile which while not terribly Exiley was a really nice blast from the past. Graphically a little inconsistent, but then that itself reminded me of games like Terminus and Tantalus, which I have fond memories of. Favourite developer... Ooh. I'd really like to see some more in-depth stuff from Pixeljam just because Gamma Bros was cracking and I want to see something of a similarly weighty size. And who would I throw money at... I know! Robert Lupinek! I'd like to see more stuff from him but I guess his day job is precluding that at the moment.

We miss the arsecast. Shame a couple of indie games/remakes for us, for old times' sake.

tbh, it's just the usual core of people who are in it purely for the fame and money instead of to make something great. But I can't think of any recent examples as I've made a point to avoid their excrement.

How about a screenshot from one of your upcoming releases?

I don't have any screenshots really. I mean there are shots of Starquake out there and it's not really changed since they were taken and there are mockups of Kitty Hawk on Gary's Army Of Trolls website but otherwise it's all notes and doodles on notepads.

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UBM TechWeb (producer of Game Developer magazine,, and the Game Developers Conference) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.

The competition, now in its 13th year, awarded a total of nearly $50,000 in prizes to deserving indie creators in Main Competition and Student Competition categories at the IGF Awards Ceremony, held in March 2010 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA, as one of the highlights of the Game Developers Conference.

The Independent Games Festival will return in March 2011 at GDC in San Francisco - look for more information soon. [More information...]

About The IGS

Featuring lectures, postmortems and roundtables from some of the most notable independent game creators around, the Independent Games Summit is a yearly event, with iterations thus far taking place in March 2007, February 2008, March 2009 and March 2010 at Game Developers Conference.

UBM TechWeb (which curates the IGF and runs GDC) plans to continue and grow the Independent Games Summit in subsequent years. [More information...]