Interview with Indie Game Website
An extract from the Interview:
“……….Experimental, esoteric titles can play around with the past, too. Colorfiction, the mind behind psychedelic, genre-bending titles such as 0N0W and the upcoming Ode To A Moon, is one such example. Colorfiction, real name Max Arocena, looks to the past, despite his work being lauded as future orientated:
“I think that a big part of advancing any medium is looking at the past for inspiration and insight. I was lucky to grow up through the various stages of game development, from Duck Hunt to Crysis, so I think this has really impacted the way I personally look at games and as a result my own contributions to the field.”
While Arocena looks to isometric RPGs and classical SNES titles for reference, his real love, much like Prodeus, lies with 3D games of the nineties and noughties. For Arocena, “there’s something about the animations, mechanics and atmospheres that are weirdly timeless,” as though the depths of that era are yet to be explored.
Stalker, too, is a massive reference point for Colorfiction’s games. “Stalker, that game changed everything. It’s curious because it wasn’t necessarily open world but felt more alive and free form than all the Bethesda’s titles that I had played until that point. It’s got the perfect atmosphere, soundscapes, design, gameplay, just everything is fantastic, to a degree that makes you overlook the many technical bugs that are present.”
Why, then, is it so difficult for today’s games to inspire the same sense of awe and wonder in their audiences as the cartridges of yore? Arocena has a theory, mostly due to the expectations we have of modern games, as opposed to breadth we offer to older, classic games:
“Nowadays the conventions and expectations have stacked to a point where it’s becoming very difficult to break free from the mould without serious audience backlash. From localization to multiple OS or hardware support etc., these are features that take as much development time as creating the game itself, time and resources that could be invested on making the actual game better.”
Of course, older games were, in some cases, hampered by technological limitations which do not exist in modern times. If these games, systems, and ideas were held back by the technology they had in their arsenal, then surely it is worth revisiting them now that the technology is available. Arocena runs with a similar theory, which he attributes to the success of games like Dusk:
“There used to be a memory limit as to how gigantic a game level could be and the variety of animations, sounds, and AIs you could place, but now that boundary is exponentially larger. So why not go back to a formula that worked and expand on it?
You have games like Dusk and Amid Evil that perfectly encapsulate the feeling of fast-paced FPS games of the late 90s and yet advance them further. Not because they implemented photo-realistic graphics or gimmicky game mechanics, but because they studied a system that works and just made it better.”……………….”
Ben Newman, “Indies Are Looking To Gaming’s Past To Build A Retro Future”, May 17, 2009.