I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Joonas Lindberg (developer of “Escape from the Laundry” and the upcoming “Electro Gates”), also known as The Mad Scientist of Hokuto Force; a modern cracking and games development crew, about his experiences developing and designing for the Commodore 64. Read the interview below.
When did you first use a c64? What is your first memory?
I first used a C64 when I was something like 4 or 5 years old. My first memory of the C64 is playing Burger Time on a black-and-white TV with no sounds.
So what games inspired you to get into design and development?
I’ve played lots and lots of games, so it’s hard to name one single game. But I think some of the most influential games to me have been the arcade adventures by Mikro-Gen such as Pyjamarama. That one inspired me to make The Cursed Key. I also like platformers and shoot em ups. The game Manic Miner inspired me to make the game, “Escape from the Laundry”.
Which coders inspired you to become a coder?
Hmm… probably just about everyone who has coded for the C64! 😉
Who are your favourite SID musicians?
My all time favourite is probably Ben Daglish. Martin Galway, Martin Walker, Jonathan Dunn, Steve Barrett and Rob Hubbard also have some great tunes.
What was your first piece of code?
The game “Temple Warriors” was the first game I made using 100% machine code 🙂
Have you ever coded an intro or a demo?
Nope. Only games so far. But I do admire the skills of the people who create demos. Maybe I’ll code an intro or demo sometime in the future if I get fed up with the games, but that probably won’t happen anytime soon 🙂
As a member of Hokuto Force, have you ever done a crack?
Yes. I’ve cracked many games for Hokuto Force. In fact, I have a game on my mind that we at Hokuto Force could crack next. 😉
What’s the most satisfying thing about cracking a game?
To me, that most fun part is trying to find the POKEs for unlimited lives, unlimited time, no collision etc. Sometimes coming up with those trainers is pretty easy, other times you have to spend time studying the code to come up with POKEs for those trainers. 🙂
Escape from the Laundry has been compared to classics like Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner, were you pleased with it’s success?
Yes, I certainly was. 🙂
What was the most challenging thing about designing and developing Escape from the Laundry?
It was probably trying to come up with a way to make the level data as small as possible. But it didn’t take me too long to come up with a way that was fairly efficient, and yet the level data would have a fixed file size. 🙂
One thing many people want to know, is the main character of the game a sock, or a worm? 😉
Haha! It’s a worm! 😉 My drawing skills are probably not terribly good! 😀
The animation was pretty amazing anyway 😉
Your upcoming game, Electro Gates, is a much more normal game than your usual eccentricity, what inspired it?
I recall trying out a logic maze game on another platform. That inspired me to make the game for the Commodore 64. Since the goal of the game is to toggle the gates so that you have a clear path towards the exit, I thought that the name “Electro Gates” would best suit the game: The games is about gates, and the gates are impassable beams of electricity. 🙂
Do you have any plans to release Electro Gates through a commercial publisher?
Yes. It’s in my plans to ask Psytronik, RGCD or some other publisher to publish the game on tape for the price of $1.99. With my games, I want the good old “199 Range” days to make a comeback: Now you can still find games for just 2 GBP! 🙂
Tell me about the other game concepts you have planned for the future?
Yes. Well, some of my planned games include a game called “The Forest That Tried to Stop the Dancer”, a game about a forest that has trapped a dancer inside itself, and that dancer has to perform the right dance moves in order to escape from the forest! 😉 I also have some other really weird game ideas in my head, keep an eye out on them! 😀
We certainly can’t get enough of your Minter-ish game designs, and can’t wait to see more of them 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!
My pleasure! 😉 The Commodore 64 is quite possibly the coolest 8-bit of them all and now that I can make software for it, it’s a real dream come true. Keep on using the C64 and other 8-bits, people! 😉