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Joystiq Indie Pitch: Kosmo Spin

Justin McElroy

Being a giant, beloved video game site has its downsides. For example, we sometimes neglect to give independent developers our coverage love (or loverage, if you will) as we get caught up in AAA, AAAA or the rare quintuple-A titles. To remedy that, we're giving indies the chance to create their own loverage and sell you, the fans, on their studios and products. This week we talk with Simon Flesser, half of Simogo, the team behind the adorable Kosmo Spin.

How did your company get started?
We met at Southend Interactive where I worked as an artist and Gordon as Technical Director. I had always wanted to "do my own thing" and it turned out that Gordon wanted the same thing. Times have changed and it's now possible to make games with only two people and no publishers, thanks to all the new places to distrubute your games (like AppStore). I also think that the DS, Wii and the iPhone have played a huge part in changing people's attitude to gaming. Not only are there more people playing games, I also think bite sized gaming is more accepted by "real gamers". Not every game has to be this super big epic experience. Not that we don't enjoy those games, it's just great that there's room for everyone now.

So, the time was right and everything just seemed to fit, so we decided to set up Simogo and go for it.

Why did you want to make games?
We like to play games and we like to make them. Without going too deep on the "are games art" (they are, by the way) discussion, I'll just say it's a cool way of expressing yourself, that we enjoy.

Why be independent rather than try to work for someone else?
There are a couple of reasons. As much as I've enjoyed working on things like ilomilo, personally I felt that I needed to make something smaller, something that could be finished within reasonable time. The last projects we worked on took over two years to complete, and that's very draining creatively.

Being such a small team makes game developing really flexible. If we have an idea that we know will make the game more enjoyable, it doesn't have to be approved by fifteen producers. We can just make a quick decision. It's a fun way to work.
... And best of all you get to decide everything by yourself. Which of course is great but also really scary, because then you can't blame your own bad decisions on that super evil publisher or marketing guy.

What's your game called, and what's it about?
Simogo's first game is called Kosmo Spin. It's a game for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad in which you spin the universe to save some breakfast creatures from being abducted by an evil UFO invader thingy. You control a character called Nod, and bounce all kinds of different balls on his big flat head while listening to cute music.

Do you feel like you're making the game you always wanted to play?
Yep. We wouldn't be making this game if we didn't like to play it ourselves. That's something I've missed when working on previous games, to play your own game not only to test it and try to break it but to do it because I actually enjoy it.

How long did it take you to create?
About two or three months. We've been busy with a lot of boring administrative stuff when setting up the company, so it's hard to say exactly.

Plus the Swedish tax office has for some reason decided that Simogo is their biggest enemy (which we aren't, we have the deepest respect for and love all Swedish authorities, really!), so we've spent a lot of time keeping away agents and barricading our office from tax-eating zombies.

What are you proudest of about your game?
It's fun to play. It has that "just one more go" quality. And it feels tight. The touch controls just feels good and everything makes squeaky sounds that make the game feel nice and responsive.

What one thing would you tell someone to convince them to get your game?
Please buy our game or Gordon will punch me in the face. Also, it's a good game, we're really proud of it!

What's next?
Our next game is going to be another original title, a hysterical retro punk thing on speed.

Want to check out Kosmo Spin for yourself? Keep an eye out for updates on Simogo's official site! If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email justin aat joystiq dawt com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Still haven't had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.

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