AVC: VVVVVV was created as a reaction to the whole “retro fetish,” just blankly liking a game because it looks old. While indie developers have embraced that approach, we’re seeing more and more big names following this path, with Mega Man, Excitebike, and Contra all issuing new old-school entries. Are the best ways the old ways, you think?


TC: No, not necessarily. A lot of people are sick of games that are just aiming for realism, and there’s so much unexplored space in low-fidelity styles. I completely agree with the talk yesterday about this. I think that’s why we’re seeing a lot of it, especially in the indie scene, because it’s easier to do, it’s a lot less time-consuming. It’s easier to make something look good even if you’re not an especially good artist, because all you have to do is try to convey a style, or try to get an idea across visually. Whereas if you’re trying to make something look realistic, it’s a lot harder. It usually has worse results if you’re not a good artist, which I’m not. That’s why I use lo-fi styles as well. I work in low resolutions because I think my graphics are better as a result. As for why bigger companies are doing it I don’t know, I think there’s probably a market for nostalgia. And people who are making that are delighted to have fans pay, sure.

AVC: A big theme this week has been indie developers talking about supposedly being in direct competition with AAA titles or big-budget companies. Do you feel that way?


TC: To be honest and serious I’m not really well-versed on what the industry is doing these days. I recently got myself an Xbox 360 to make a conscious effort to catch up on modern, mainstream gaming.

AVC: Did the proceeds from VVVVVV help fund that?

TC: [Laughs.] Yes. I just thought it would be really nice to get an Xbox 360. I don’t think I can talk about mainstream gaming because I don’t have a formed opinion on it, and I want to change that. So far, I’m liking some games. I like Fallout 3. I like Grand Theft Auto IV.


AVC: You’re hitting all the big ones.

TC: Yeah, I’m basically going through all the blockbusters that people have been talking about the past couple of years. I haven’t been really taken with the industry of gaming in a long time. The last one I really loved was Bully on the PS2, but that’s like six years old now. I can’t think of any games that I’m looking forward to especially on the Xbox [360].


AVC: Well, everything you just mentioned has been open-world games. Is that just a coincidence, or is it something that especially appeals to you?

TC: Actually, yeah. I find myself really enjoying a lot of open-world games I play now. I’ve really like the Grand Theft Auto series, pretty much since forever. I’ve never kind of explored that myself, and I’d like to. VVVVVV kind of has that freedom to explore, but it’s not quite the same as Grand Theft Auto.

AVC: How has your game-a-month project been going?

TC: About shit. I did it for two months. I started a new project in January. I started a new project in February, and at the end of the month I laughed at what I’d done. The game for January I didn’t like, and didn’t think was very interesting. I think I will abandon the project.


AVC: Are you putting your sights on doing another for sale game?

TC: No. Not for a long time, I think. I want to do shorter games, not a little longer games. My favorite game that I really like I am probably going to finish in March or April. It’ll be a freeware thing, an RPG. It feels like unfinished business to me, because RPGs are the genre that inspired me to want to be a game designer. My favorite game ever is Final Fantasy VII.


RPGs have an awful lot of filler, to be honest. It’s a genre I love, but I recognize that even a lot of the games I love, like the Final Fantasy series and Chrono Trigger, they’re flawed in a lot of ways that could be better. I didn’t say that.  [Laughs.] They’re fantastic games, but I find it hard to play RPGs these days, when I have the time enough. I would like to see games have less filler, not necessarily be shorter. But at the time a lot of games seem to be designed to be “a length,” rather than designed—

AVC: For an experience?

TC: Yeah. Some games are better for being long, some games are better for being short. Some games shouldn’t be longer than five minutes. They can be excellent in five minutes, but they’d be a terrible two hours. And they’d be a terrible 10 hours.


You can buy VVVVVV from http://thelettervsixtim.es/