GameBoomers Talks to
mif2000 (Denis Galanin), Developer of Hamlet
GB: Could you explain briefly about your background as a developer?
mif2000: I have been developing games for a long time, around seven
years now. I spent five years working in a Russian game development
company and took part in the creation of several commercial games. However,
I currently work exclusively on my own projects.
Hamlet is my latest one.
GB: Why did you select a play by Shakespeare as inspiration for the game?
mif2000: I decided to create a game based on a popular piece of
literature, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet was the first candidate. I
couldn’t recall a single game based on Hamlet, which made me think
it was the right choice.
GB: The character of Hamlet ranks fifth in the list of "The 101 Most
Influential People who Never Lived." Yet
Hamlet (the character) is removed in Hamlet (the game), and his
role is taken over by a short, purple-clothed Hero. Why is the small Hero
better at defeating the villains and rescuing Ophelia than Hamlet would
have been? (Also, just curious -- is that a hat or a crown on his head?)
mif2000: Frankly speaking, I don’t remember how I added a new
character to the game. Now that the game is out, I understand that adding
him was the right thing to do. The image of the character was inspired by
the American trash-fantasy of the 1950s-1960s. His head is topped by a
“bulb," which will eventually become a standard accessory of all residents
of the Earth.
GB: This game surprised me with its visual style -- cartoon-like, with a
pastel color palette, darker locations in silhouette, quirky angles and
frequent animations. The environments are unique and the characters made
me grin. Why did you decide to take the game in a direction that is so
different "Hamlet"(the play), with its tragic setting, dark conspiracies,
and emotional anguish?
mif2000: Serious games are a major problem of the game industry these
days. Everyone can make a serious game, but can you name any truly fun and
entertaining titles released in recent years? As for parodies, they simply
don’t seem to be represented it all. When was the last time you laughed
while playing a game? That’s why I decided to fill the void with a fun,
satirical version of Hamlet. When the situation changes and we
start seeing fewer serious games on the market, I may consider a “serious”
adaptation of Hamlet.
GB: In the course of this game, the gamer can influence devices and
creatures that the Hero can’t reach. What role is the gamer playing?
Should she think of herself as a companion to the Hero or as the Hero’s
mif2000: In my opinion, gamers should not be thinking about such
things at all. They should be just playing and enjoying the process, so
it’s important that the initial immersion into the game be easy and
hassle-free. When gamers start thinking about these types of things, it
means that the game has serious problems—that the people playing it get
bored and try to entertain themselves by looking for unnecessary meanings.
GB: Some of the puzzles in Hamlet require out-of-the-box thinking
-- even stepping outside the standard adventure game conventions. Why did
you decide to take this risk? Do you have a philosophy that influences the
way you design puzzles?
mif2000: I think the adventure genre has been stagnating for years.
The same old puzzles have been migrating from one game to another for
decades. How much longer can we solve the same old riddles??!
me, Hamlet is a collection of original puzzles that you will not
find in any other game. I used physical, psychological, and other
peculiarities of the human body, so the puzzles are truly unique.
GB: Hamlet contains a timed challenge involving Claudius and his
guitar. You recently released a version of the game that makes this
challenge much easier after asking for a Hint. Why did you decide to
include a difficult timed challenge, and why did you later decide to give
the gamer the option to select a more leisurely solution?
mif2000: A lot of players use a touchpad, so the notes puzzle is
somewhat hard for them. I read some comments from people who really liked
the game, but got stuck on the “Claudius with a Guitar” level. So I
decided to help by tweaking that puzzle, so people could have more fun
GB: Is that Manny Calavera with the scythe late in the game? Or maybe a
mif2000: This character is both a reference to Grim Fandango
(three dashes on the forehead) and Discworld (capitalized text).
GB: What was the hardest thing to animate in the game?
mif2000: Actually, I am not an animator. My knowledge of animation was
limited to some videos and tutorials I watched and read online. That made
all animations very complex, yet interesting and challenging tasks. I
think I did a pretty good job with the Octopus with tentacles and Claudius
on a horse, though.
GB: What aspect of adventure gaming most appeals to you? How do you try to
translate this into the games you create?
mif2000: I believe that original puzzles are the key component of a
successful adventure game, so I invested a lot of time and effort into
this aspect of Hamlet.
GB: How are adventure games different than casual games? Where does
Hamlet fit on the adventure/casual continuum?
mif2000: I think it’s incorrect to draw parallels between adventure
and casual games. Adventure games can be casual or not. At the same time,
casual games may or may not contain elements of adventure games.
GB: How difficult is it now for an Indie game to find an audience? Is it
getting easier or more difficult as digital downloads become more common?
mif2000: I don’t divide games into “indie” and “non-indie.” My
standard categories are “cool” and “everything else.” And I think an
interesting game will always find its audience.
GB: Is there any other information about the game that you would like to
mif2000: A lot of people don’t realize (or don’t believe) that I
created Hamlet alone—it was a one-man project. Here’s another
interesting fact: Hamlet was initially designed to be a non-stop
action game in the style of Metal Slug.
click here. To purchase
the game via download from the Alawar Games website,