In the following interview RealGamerNewz has had the pleasure of interviewing Lucky Red Fish, a company formed by the industry’s longest running indie developer Patricia Curtis who is currently putting the finishing touches on a Puzzle game called Monkey Mofo set for release on Windows PC, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS platforms soon.
In the following interview, myself (Jon Ireson, Editor-In-Chief at RGN) and Patricia discuss many industry topics including her own personal experience in the business, the upcoming game, and other industry-wide topics such as console versus mobile. As always, if you have any questions for the developer feel free to drop a comment in our comments section below the article and we’ll do our best to get them answered. ***Editor’s Note: The following answers are unedited and uncensored responses from the developer to the original questions also left intact.
RealGamerNewz: How long have you been making games?
Lucky Red Fish: Oh god, it feels like one of those questions “tell us what it was like in the war grand ma”, I have been making games since 1982. My very first real game was a hunchback clone called Cyril, although, it was never published, it gave me the break into the games industry that allowed me to earn a living from my passion for the last 32 years.
RGN: Can you tell us some of the games and technologies you’re responsible for?
Lucky Red Fish: As I say I started back in the day mainly porting other people’s games, because I was fast and reliable, I have ported about 10 games all in all, including Xenon 2, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and Sensible Soccer. And between porting some of the games we now call classics I have made original games like Scorpius, Super Methane Brothers and Apocalypse to name just a few.
RGN: When you created Lucky Red Fish, what was your main goal and vision for making games under the brand?
Lucky Red Fish: Well I brought the Lucky Red Fish domain name a while back for a Asian poker game I was going to make but never really got around to it, so being as I had it and it was not going to be used for the poker game, I decided to use it for my games development brand.
I think what’s important to me at this point in my games development, is quality in all areas, there are 1001 game developers out there now and it feels like everyone is doing it. So it’s very important to stand out amongst the plethora of games that are made these days. I believe the only way a developer can standout is to be original and to produce the best quality work they can, which is why I spend a long time making just one game. I have made over 30 games since 1982 and I am proud of most of them, but Monkey Mofo has had the most love and attention to detail that any of my previous games. There are so many games now days calling themselves retro simply because they have used pixel art or on chip sound. For me retro is not an art style, it’s how the game feels, it’s about gameplay, which is why I have stuck to the roots and ensured that the Monkey Mofo gameplay is 100% retro while bringing the graphics up-to-date, I do believe it’s my best work yet. 🙂
RGN: Right now you’ve been working on a unique puzzle-based title, Monkey Mofo. What can you say to players about this title and why they should take interest of it?
Lucky Red Fish: I hear a lot from game players as to they want from a puzzle game and I believe that I have designed Monkey Mofo service many those needs. Many people are fed up with getting a game and then finding the wiz though it in just a few sessions, which is why I have designed Monkey Mofo to have over 180 levels with the game getting progressively harder the further you get. One key aim of Monkey Mofo is to give adults a game of their own, one that feels like those games they played when they were growing up, but also challenges their adult minds; this game is not for children.
I believe that the players want they games to surprise them, they do not want to see everything in the first few levels and then find there is nothing new for the rest of the game. With this in mind we have built a lot into Monkey Mofo to keep the player engaged, as is divided into 18 worlds where each world introduces a new challenge in which adds a new layer of complexity in addition to the challenges from the previous worlds.
In Monkey Mofo you will be playing last level with the same skills you learned in the first level, it’s just that you are thinking faster and handing more things at the same time on the later levels. I feel it’s like taking your brain down the gym.
One of the unique aspects of Monkey Mofo is that you can control all the other characters in the game the same way you control the monkeys, and the feature plays an important role in the gameplay, so sometimes you will have to move the bad guys out of the way, then quickly send your monkey in to collect the item and get your monkey out again before the bad guy comes back. Then in some places there is just not enough time or space to get in and out again, so you have to be watching the bad guy and your monkey at the same time and be ready to react, quickly redirecting the bad guy away while your monkey makes his escape. There are 8 totally different bad guy types, each with their own unique feature that gives the player new challenges. Then when the player has mastered the character we amplify the challenge by using the characters in combination with other characters and obstacles.
We have designed some of the levels where it looks like there is no way around the bad guys at all, but a little thinking outside the box, you will realized that sometimes it may be necessary for the bad guys to go around the monkeys rather than the other way around. Playing Monkey Mofo is about observation and planning, each level is made of a series of small puzzles that are connected together to make the larger puzzle of the level. On some of the later levels you will have to use the monkeys together with one monkey manipulating the level to get the other monkeys through the level.
Then there are the boss levels where the players meet Rocket the evil genius who is in is responsible for the clones and their minions, here the gameplay changes again adding another layer to the game, as the player have to guide their monkey to collect the fruit as normal but this on these levels the fruit fills a bubble machine which produces large fruit bubbles. Once there is a bubble the monkeys have to capture and transport it carefully to the Rocket to defeat him.
RGN: In your years as an Indie Game Developer, have you seen an evolution of how open the industry is to new ideas – or do you think there’s still a lot of room for improvement and change?
Lucky Red Fish: I feel that the industry that I loved and belonged too when I started has sadly gone, yes it’s grown and yes that’s progress. There are many more platforms than there was back in the 80s and 90s and it’s much easier to make a game. Developers do not have to learn how to do programming these days and yet they can make games and sell them.
I feel that the industry has become a clone of itself; some developers are busy making copies of the last big thing, the last thing that made money. They have lost the heart and soul of what being a games developer was about, it used to be about innovation where creativity was king and not the dollar.
With developers busy chasing the dollar they have their eye on the money and not on the art of making games. For me it’s all about the art, it’s about being creative, yes I want to eat, but game development for me is my passion, I want to make original games that people will remember and enjoy, I want the people who play my games to look back with fond memories in a few years’ time and say yes that was a fun game.
RGN: What are some of the aspects of gaming you’ve taken into account as a player and developer when putting together Monkey Mofo?
Lucky Red Fish: There are many aspects to Monkey Mofo that are not apparent to a casual glance, in the whole game we tell the player 4 things with text, how to control the monkeys, how they can also control the bad guys, etc, the rest they learn through play, we have deliberately put things in the game to let the players work it out for themselves, as we only learn by having those eureka moments.
The whole game has been designed to give the player a real sense of achievement without the need for some fake “you have reached level 5” badges. As I mentioned previously the gameplay for the boss levels is different to the rest of the game and yet you’re still using the skills you learned in level one.
I had an early version the game working within a few months of starting the project, but I have spent over a year and a half adjusting the gameplay and polishing every part of the game. During the whole development cycle of Monkey Mofo, if I did not like the way a piece of code was going, I would throw it out and rewrite it. The same with the Art, I cannot count how many version every part of the game has gone through, which is another reason why Monkey Mofo should stand out, as every aspect of the game has been refined and refined even more.
RGN: Can you comment on the issue of mobile gaming making the headlines all the time with some analysts predicting a doom scenario for consoles?
Lucky Red Fish: Yes we are in interesting times; I read an article just a few days ago about AMD making a graphics chip for mobiles with 128 cores. What chance have the big three console manufactures got when Apple or Samsung start making decent controller for their phones with one of those chips? That and HD output straight to the TV, it could be Game Over for some of the big three in the next few years.
RGN: Do you believe there is room for both demographics in the business? And where do you see Monkey Mofo among all of this platform battling?
Lucky Red Fish: Yes there is room for everyone in business; it’s like not all people like Rock music, some like Jazz, just like some people prefer tablets to consoles and vice versa. There are more game players today than there ever was and that number is going to grow every year. All games can’t please all players; it’s crazy to think they can. I hope to get Monkey Mofo on to the PS Vita and the 3DS, and possibly the Wii U, but the PlayStation 4 and Xbox one; I don’t think those platforms are suited to Monkey Mofo as it’s a really tactile game.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140120 and was last modified on 20140120 .