Super Meat Boy creator of games as a special art form

The other day, the author and developer of the hits Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac - Edmund McMillen (Edmund McMillen) gave an interesting interview to the resource Gamezebo . In it, he shared his vision of the state of the gaming industry market, spoke about the experience of creating parody games and experiments with price. We translated it for Russian developers of mobile games on and made a special version for Habr.

For many developers, the take-off of the App Store was simply manna from heaven: there were many examples of how the author managed to earn a lot on one game. But the lion's share of developers are not able to repeat this. Why do you think so?

To be honest, I hate the gold rush. I hate it when some say: “I’ll make a game for iOS to earn extra money.” It doesn’t reach them that the App Store is a roulette, if you like, a lottery. Nobody argues that it is possible to break the jackpot, but the chances of this are really meager. And money and development time can take a lot.

There are so many things in the App Store that it will soon be impossible to find at least something there. What do you think, maybe it's time to change something?

I used to think so too. But then we started working on Super Meat Boy: The Game for iPhone and iPad, my opinion has changed. The fact is that against the background of low-level projects and all the garbage that the App Store is full of, a high-quality game always stands out. Here we take the Sword & Sworcery game as an example - it earned something in the region of a million, it seems. And why? Because against the background of other games, it looks unrealistically cool. Some users are willing to pay more in the hope of getting a really good product for their $ 5.


As far as we know, did you make parody games?

With my colleague Tommy Refenes, we created a lot of skits. We came up with the as a response to the international organization PETA, which strives for the ethical treatment of animals. Another parody is Zits and Giggles , which Tommy created in an attempt to prove to Apple that the quality of most of the applications in the store is below average. And people still buy them.


The gameplay of Zits and Giggles was straightforward: players were asked to squeeze acne on the smartphone screen. With a price of $ 1, there was no sales at all. Then Tommy decided to conduct an experiment and raised the price to $ 5. Demand has risen. Then the price was raised to $ 10, $ 20, $ 30 - and so on. After more than ten people bought this application for $ 400, and Tommy made a fiery speech against Apple, the game was removed from the store.

This allowed Tommy to prove the illegibility of users when buying. He also said that these people are not gamers at all and have no idea about games, so they buy everything in a row.

It seems to me that worthwhile quality games are now needed more than ever. And all that users are now offering is to kill time with some plain nonsense.

Well, probably, to fully enjoy the game, realizing that its main task - to get money from you, is not very nice?

It turned out so that all the games that I developed were closely connected with one or another event of my life. Rather, in this way I expressed my protest in a satirical form. One of them, as I said, is the case of an organization for the fight for the protection of animal rights. And this is already one of the highest forms of art - using the game to be able to make people think, make it clear to them that they have a choice.


Few people make games right now to make people think about something.

Now - probably, but before that they were. Moreover, there were various prizes and awards for such projects. Moreover, the games could really be devoted to serious problems - such as starving children in Africa.

And now everything has turned into a business. Although many still perceive video games as art, as they combine video, cinema and graphics. Although I believe that the art of video games is not the ability to cover all the components, but the ability to interact with players, communicate with them. At the same time, you cannot control the whole process, you only give them a reason to start a dialogue, and its further development is for the players. This is exactly what puts video games in a number of other arts, and an understanding of this began to appear only today.