One video game could take someone 10 years to make. Making something truly fun needs time to boil before it becomes edible. It's difficult task. Not for James Cox III, the co-founder of Seemingly Pointless. James and his brother Joe have one major goal for their development studio: To create 100 games in five years. The award winning studio have had games at the Tokyo Game Show, Indiecade, and E3, just to name a few. I was very forunate to have a chance to ask him some questions about his game making career and beyond.:
Influential Gaming: Your goal right now with Seemingly Pointless is to make 100 games in five years. What made you and your brother choose those number specifically? Tell us how this all got started.
James Cox: At first, I wanted to develop my voice through games: find out what my style was, what kind of games I enjoyed making, what I was good at. The purpose of the challenge has changed over time. Nearing the end, I care less about a solid development voice. While it would be nice to have a particular style, I'm interested in exploring the edges of games. Making experimental short-form work. As for the number of "100," it felt like a solid goal #TripDigit
The goal ends just as I graduate from USC. Joe and I are currently working on our first commercial VIDEOgame so once the challenge and graduate school are over
IG: There's no doubt that a lot of other factors get in the way of game development, especially when developing a large number of games like this. What's your biggest motivation as far as game development?
JC: I love creating these experiences. Telling interactive stories and vomiting it all into the wild. Don't mind if people don't notice them. Some of my favorite gems sit dusty. Just the act of completing a project and throwing it up
IG: What games are your biggest inspirations? Do you have a favorite game or genre?
JC: Jonatan Söderström all the way. Before making Hotline Miami, he exhaled fantastic little games. Right now, my favorite game has to be INSIDE. If I had to pick a genre, it would be "walking simulator." Although, my favorite games are usually ones that question ((((and explore))))) the genre they're in.
IG: "You Must Be 18 Or Older To Enter" is one of your most acclaimed games so far. It really captures the tension of looking up porn for the first time, especially on a shared home computer. Why did you want to make this game?
JC: Two reasons: genre-subversion and exploring intimacy. "You Must be 18 or Older to Enter" is effectively a horror game without monsters or death. It's strange how comfortable we are with violence and death in games, yet how uncomfortable we are with naked bodies. First-person-shooters are simulations of shooting; this game is a simulation of looking at porn. Yet we don't become squeamish when friends watch us play an FPS. It's wild.
IG: "Gummy Bear Saga" both terrifies me and is a delight to play. It's dual-controlled Tetris block and Gummy Bear gameplay feels like something an official Tetris game would try at some point. What was the inspiration behind that one, besides my nightmares?
JC: Gummy Bear Saga was conceived during the 2015 #CandyJam: a game jam created in protest to King's attempt to copyright the words "Candy" and "Saga." The jam's theme was to make a game that used those words in the title. Bonus points for using "Scrolls," another highly contested word.
IG: So far, which game do you like the most, or find yourself playing the most out of all the games you've finished?
JC: I play "You Must be 18 or Older to Enter" the most, due the conferences it shows at. But I've been cycling back to "I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight" and "Bottle Rockets." They're both games I refer new players to. Right now, I can't feel much for "You Must be 18 or Older to Enter" because of how often I touch it. "I Can Feel it Coming in the Air Tonight" still holds emotional power and kicks hard.
Here's a freebee tip: Don't use punctuation in your game names, or name your games with sentences. They make life harder.
IG: I have to ask: Can I please kill the cow now?
JC: How badly do you WANT to win???