November 22, 2007 9:00 AM |
They say that after three days, visitors and fish both stink. But it has been four days, and I hope I do not stink, or if I do, that it is in a "tasty pickled herring salad" way and not a "low tide in the East Frisian islands" way.
I thought today it might be nice to interview my friend and co-worker Bruno Schwartzritter about a few of the early games we made. Also, I thought it would be easier than writing an entire article myself.
In the mid-eighties, when Schadenfreude Interactive was even not a augenglimmer, Bruno and I (he is now the CTO of SI) made quite a few games. They were all clones, because that is how you learn to make games in the beginning. As you learn, you evolve into making your own more original games. Well, some game developers never crawl out of the mud and grow legs. But Bruno and I have been in this business for a long time, and I feel we are at least newts by now.
Karsden: This game was Dig Dug, without the silly Fygars. Instead, they were dung beetles. But I suppose it was similar enough, since we eventually got a cease-and-desist letter from Namco, and so we made Grabungadung II, which was more like Ripoff.
Bruno: We ripped off Ripoff.
K: Basically you are the beetle and roll your dung ball around, accumulating as much dung as possible, while fending off flies and other beetles who will try to steal your ball.
Bruno: In a way it is a metaphor for life.
K:We made a coin-op version, which was very popular in Southern Germany. It was a “cocktail” arcade machine, with a large brown ninepin ball as a trackball.
Bruno: And then we did another dung beetle game, years later…because you are so fond of these dung beetles.
K: Yes, that is why we made Dung Ho!, which was a bit like Katamari Damacy.
Bruno: But much less colorful.
K: Brown is a color!
Bruno: It means, “Monkey Ghosts”.
K: Donkey Kong, basically. With ghosts, like from Pac-Man.
Bruno: We should make a 3D version of this, it would be survival horror.
K: PETA would not like it.
Bruno: Yes, the monkeys must die to become ghosts.
K: I have no sympathy for monkeys.
K: Joust – in a sense -- with a flying pickelhaube. A pickelhaube is the famous German hat with a spike on top.
Bruno: I loved this game...it was very surreal.
K: People found it too weird.
Bruno: Are flying pickelhaubes being attacked by handlebar moustaches really any weirder than knights riding ostriches?
KEINE GESCHWINDIGKEITZBEGRENZUNG (1984)
K: “No Speed Limit” -- this was a Pole Position clone, obviously.
Bruno:The name did not even entirely fit on the Start screen.
K: It was a long name.
Bruno: Oddly enough, the game itself is very short.
Bruno: “Strawberry Earthquakes”. It doesn't really mean anything, but it might be the name of one of those awful Japanese rock bands Lothar listens to. I guess it is no sillier than "Divine Divinity".
K: The game did at least have a strawberry in it! It was very much like Qbert. I will explain the name -- I was visiting my cousin in Mountain View, California, and we were driving from the airport. I asked his stepmother why the houses in California were all one-story with flat roofs, and she said “Because of the erdebeeren”.
K: Well, her German was not very good. She meant “earthquakes” but the word for “earthquakes” is “erdebeben”. “Erdebeeren” means “strawberries”.
Bruno: "Because of the strawberries!" For a whole year you thought all people in California grew strawberries on their flat roofs.
K: I did!
Bruno: Looking back on it, these titles were not so bad. We should update some of these games and submit them to Xbox Live.
K: Oh, no, no – that would be like wrapping up an old fruitcake and giving it out as a Christmas present.
Bruno: Jeff Minter has done it.
K: Well, there is a fruitcake for you.
Bruno: Now, now -- my first game was Mutantkameleschlagen, a copy of Minter's Attack of The Mutant Camels.
K: Yes, and even so, I am still your friend.
Bruno: You null pointer.
K: I allocated you in this company, and I can de-allocate you.
Bruno: I think you had better turn the microph
Categories: Column: Schadenfreudian Slips