Dr. David's Indie Spotlight: Stuttering Craig delves into Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures was very easily one of my highlights at E3. As a fan of the wildly awesome Angry Video Game Nerd Internet show, I was glad to be able to get my hands on a pixelated representation of foul-mouthed series star James Rolfe. AVGN Adventures oozes the style and personality of the Nerd, but it’s also a fiendishly difficult platformer that may very well make you curse hilariously, much like its protagonist.
I had the chance to interview Producer Craig Skistimas, known across the internet as ScrewAttack’s Stuttering Craig, who was more than happy to discuss the upcoming title.
GameZone: First off, how did the idea for Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures come about? Whose idea was it? And how long was it just that — an idea — before it became an actual project?
Stuttering Craig: We’ve been looking to make a video game for about three years now, but things just kept getting in the way. One day, out of the blue, Sam from FreakZone Games emailed me and said FreakZone wanted to make a game based on the AVGN and I asked him to put together a design document. What he delivered was exactly what I had in mind, so we decided now was the right time. We announced the game a few months into production.
GameZone: Can you give some background info on FreakZone Games? How did you ultimately decide that this particular developer was the perfect fit for AVGN Adventures?
SC: The Nerd series is based around old school games, so we needed a partner who was experienced in making games in that style. FreakZone did, and the look, feel, and sound was exactly what we were looking for. It was an easy decision.
GameZone: Is working on a game while still taking care of ScrewAttack business NES hard?
SC: More than I thought it would be, for sure. I knew by making this jump to publishing games we were taking on a whole new beast, and boy, was I right. My role at the company has shifted pretty much entirely away from the website’s content and almost entirely onto game development. Luckily, we have an incredibly talented staff at ScrewAttack who has done a wonderful job keeping things rolling and moving ahead.
GameZone: How much input did the Nerd have in the creation process of AVGN Adventures?
SC: We’ve been working with James and Cinemassacre for so long that we have a very good feel for what James likes and doesn’t. When we brought him the idea of the game, he was pretty much like, “Cool! Don’t fuck it up.” *ha ha* When James and Mike had a chance to play the game for the first time at SGC this summer, they loved it and said it was exactly the game they’d want to make, so I think we hit it out of the park as far as the Nerd’s vision. :)
GameZone: Do you know exactly how many times bad words were used in the game? Even a rough estimate would suffice.
SC: Seven zillion. I have no idea. Every time you die in the game, the Nerd literally reviews his own game with a review generator we put on the death screen that’s filled with all sorts of ... unique ... words. Curse words are a part of the Nerd, and we couldn’t make a game without them.
GameZone: Obviously, this is a game that will resonate immensely with fans of the Nerd. That said, would most fans of NES era platformers find a lot to like about it, too?
SC: Yeah, that’s our main goal with the game — make a game that ALL gamers would really enjoy, not just Nerd fans. We think if you like old school platforming games, you’ll really dig AVGN Adventures. It’s hard and very rewarding. IF you can actually beat it, then you’ll want to tell all your friends about how much of a bad ass you are — just like an old school NES game.
GameZone: What are some of your personal favorite references to the show that players will stumble upon while playing AVGN Adventures?
SC: Oh man, there are so many it’s crazy. There’s nods to specific episodes and specific games the Nerd has played throughout the series. I think the best thing is that if you’re a Nerd fan, you’ll laugh at them, and if you’re not, while you may be a little confused, you’ll still laugh. My personal favorite reference is the entire Beat It and Eat It level, which is based entirely off his Atari Porno review.
GameZone: Was there anything you decided to leave out, either because it was too crass, or because it may not have fit with the rest of the game?
SC: When you have source material that has a man shitting on Bugs Bunny’s face, then we can pretty much put whatever the hell we want to in a video game. *ha ha*
GameZone: Most devs want to stay away from an AO rating due to console manufacturers’ feelings about that sort of thing, but I remember that at E3 you told me an AO rating would be awesome. When the game eventually makes it to consoles, what would the reaction be amongst everyone involved with the project if it received in AO rating?
SC: Well, we definitely want to make a mature rated game because, like I said, the Nerd is mature. Could we reach AO? Possible, but doubtful. You look at games that actually got an AO rating and you’re like, “Holy shit, that’s disgusting!” In AVGN Adventures, it’s more tongue-in-check and meant to make you giggle at how ridiculous is. If we were to get an AO rating and have to tone it back, it would be pretty funny, though.
GameZone: Is this the last we’ll see of the Nerd in video game form? Do you hope to produce another game in the future?
SC: If the fans want more, then we’ll definitely give them more. Once the game’s released, we’ll see where we’re at, but I will tell you this: We have a shit ton of ideas that we came up with during the development of the game that would fit great for a sequel. Obviously the first game needs to sell well enough to allow us to do that. Hopefully we can!
I’d like to extend a thank you to Stuttering Craig for taking the time answer my AVGN Adventures-related questions. The game will land on Steam while shoving its head up a unicorn’s asshole next week on Monday, September 23. Oh, and here’s hoping it takes a dump all over Bugs Bunny’s face, too, because that furry bastard deserves it.
Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.