Wed 14 Apr 2010
mif2000 is a prolific independent game developer, cartoonist and animation artist. His current game is mif2000’s Hamlet, a take on that Shakespeare drama even non-readers have heard of. Want to learn more about that game? Well, there is a small possibility that this interview will tell you. If you’d rather find out for yourself, you can download and play the demo version.
Sebastian Pfaller: What was the reasoning behind the game’s catchy subtitle: “THE LAST game without MMORPG components, shader graphics and product placement”? Surely, there are many other game titles that can be described like that.
Denis ‘mif2000’ Galanin: I don’t know. Why not? I think it’s funny. And I wanted to make an implicit allusion to the famous long title “Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”.
SP: Would you like to give us some technical information, like OS, programming environment?
DG: “mif2000’s Hamlet” is a game for WinXP or Vista. I developed the game using the Wintermute Engine.
SP: You have a very distinct visual style. Can you name any influences?
DG: I was inspired by many of my favorite cartoons and games.
Games: Psychonauts, Dragon’s Lair, American McGee’s Grimm, Discworld 2, Professor Layton, Grim Fandango, Sam & Max, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Neverhood, Full Throttle and more
Cartoons: SpongeBob Squarepants, Ren & Stimpy, Samurai Jack, cartoons of Studio 4C*, Les Lascars, The Thief and the Cobbler, Cow and Chicken, El Tigre, Kaiba, cartoons of
Ralph Bakshi, cartoons of Gobelins, Time Squad and more
SP: Why did you change the name from “Gamelet” to “Hamlet” in the final stages of production?
DG: “Hamlet” is a much clearer title, it is instantly recognized by people. “Gamelet” was the original working title.
SP: What made you choose Shakespeare, and above all Hamlet?
DG: I wished to make a game that would be based on a very well known book. “Hamlet” has received a lot of film adaptations, but it was never turned into a traditional game.
SP: The player character is an unnamed hero rather than Hamlet or one of the other characters of the original play. Why that?
DG: You’ll understand when you’ll play the game. This is revealed at the very beginning, so I recommend trying the demo.
SP: How did you approach the original text? Was it tough to convert it to a game storyboard?
DG: I didn’t copy the original text. I only used key events from the book and its cast of characters. Even so, I introduced a lot of differences into the game plot – it’s a wacky cartoon version of Hamlet with occasional sci-fi elements.
SP: Was it of any importance that your source is a stageplay, does the game reflect that in any way?
DG: I didn’t put any links to the theatre origins of Hamlet into the game, I treated the stageplay like I would any other book telling a story.
SP: What is your approach to designing puzzles for Hamlet?
DG: I wanted to do a lot of original and unique puzzles. The game has a lot of riddles that are my own ideas and will feel fresh and new to the player.
SP: How do the advertised ominous boss fights play and integrate with the rest of the game?
DG: Boss battles are also puzzles, but they’re special – you need to focus on beating up an enemy character.
SP: Why the octopus?
DG: You’ll understand when you’ll play the game.
SP: Last question: How would a game made by you and based on Tolstoy’s War and Peace look like?
DG: “War and Peace” is a good type of story to be turned into an action game with aliens or zombies.
These questions were conceived by Sebastian Pfaller, doer of many things, such as music, sound and cultural telemetry. His newest project is 56Kmodern, a website dealing with games that could, in theory, teach us all a valuable lesson.