The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Curio

Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We at Joystiq believe no one deserves to starve, and many indie developers are entitled to a fridge full of tasty, fulfilling media coverage, right here. This week, Rube Rubenstein from BrainBlast Games shows us the crazy side of 2D sidescrollers with Curio.


What's your game called and what's it about?

The Game is Curio and it's about Ron Templeton III's plight. Everything that happens in the back story, which you unlock as your progress, will lead up to where gamers first meet Ron, though it doesn't stop there. This battle that fans undertake in Curio is, has been and will be lifelong for Ron.

What inspired you to make Curio?

2D side-scrollers are age-old and a genre we are crazy about. They are not always easy, but we wanted players to focus intently on keeping Ron sane, while always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Also, I was born in a mental asylum and Victor Radar down the hall from me, so it just seemed like a natural and familiar backdrop. Sometime creative juices flow easiest when the subject matter is personal.

What's the coolest aspect of Curio?

My favorite aspect in the game is the fact that even having created the game, insanity mode still produces a rare anxiety as I progress further. My palms sweat and I often need to use an earned pause to take a moment to gather myself. Also, our first update is so insanely massive, yet we still maintain a level of difficultly with the game.

Do you take a different approach to marketing a horror title as opposed to a more "ordinary" game?

Who really knows what works with marketing? We just want people to give the game a fair shake and attempt to improve. Curio rewards the players who try to figure it out. It may be a 2D sidescroller, but balance and a zen are key.

Mental hospitals are a common trope in scare-based entertainment -- what do you think makes it a fertile breeding ground for horror stories?

I think the reason people are attracted to asylums is that they're just plain unsettling. The overwhelming presence of pain and detachment from reality are what makes them scary and intriguing.

How did you get involved with the narrator, Oscar-winning actor Robert Forster?

Well, first Victor stalked him to no avail. Then I stepped up and I guess he got tired of me playing a flute out front of his house for six months. We are now great friends, but every time I call him it tells me my number is blocked. Just plain weird.

Anything you'd do differently?

We are proud to say that Curio was released as it was intended to be. Does that mean this is it? No way. Curio is already evolving on our end and every major update we release will reflect that evolution. Our first update will include everything from new power-ups to special pills.

Also, we're excited to announce we're adding new Game Center compatibility that will increase the competitive nature of the game. If you do better than your friends, you are rewarded, so a large friends list of Curio players is encouraged.

Why develop independently, rather than work for an established company?

You can't try to make insanity a game if you've got suits rattling your skull with a bunch of I don't get its.

Do you see yourself as part of a larger indie movement?

I don't think Victor or I see things that way. It's more of a matter of creating something fun, that you cannot put down, that is a reflection of two undermedicated minds. Curio is largely a love letter to simpler days, with an impossibly hard and addictive twist.

Sell Curio in one sentence:

Mastering survival in Curio will make you a better person, lover, family member and will also make your flowers bloom a month early.

What's next?

We're focusing on the first update, which we're very excited about. We've got so many things we're going to add to the game; the whole team is itching in to implement them. Also, we're excited for people to play the game on the iPad, as the graphics look gorgeous. The iPad version along with over a dozen new features will be out very soon.

We're also very excited to have shot a few commercials with Tommy Wiseau, who is no stranger to lunacy.


Curio is available for iOS devices right now, right here. Tommy Wiseau not included.

If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email jess [at] joystiq [dawt] com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Still haven't had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.