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The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Paper Rocket

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 delightful 64-year-old game developer/aircraft-spare-part-retailer Kristina Pettersson about her first iPhone game Paper Rocket.

Hello, Joystiq!

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Kristina and I am part aircraft-spare-part-retailer, part game developer!

Say what?
It's a long story. I've been in the aviation industry all my life -- a couple of years ago I decided I needed to learn something new and here we are!

Why did you want to make games?

Because games are the ultimate combination between art and technology. I read that somewhere. I don't really know to be honest -- I like games and thought it would be fun to make one, I guess.

Why be independent rather than try to work for someone else?
I've been my own boss (and the only employee) for more than 25 years. I doubt that I would mix well with other "colleagues." Being your own boss is the bomb!

What's your game called, and what's it about?
The game is called Paper Rocket of course! You control a badly drawn spaceship by tilting the phone and try to avoid deadly obstacles. It's a "paper space survival game," if you will.

Do you feel like you're making the game you always wanted to play?
Oh, sure. When I was a kid I used to dream about creating a game for portable telephones (I'm like 60-years-old, by the way) where you would control hand-drawn spacecraft using your wrist. Seriously though, I love Paper Rocket -- it is super simple but still requires a lot of skill.

What are important qualities of a game?
Tight controls. Nothing is more frustrating than when you feel that your hands actions don't match up with what's going on in the game. Obviously fun gameplay helps. A good game combines controls, gameplay, art and music into something awesome.

How long did it take you to create?
Well, I had to learn how to program for the iPhone and that took f**king forever. I had to prioritize so as you can probably tell from the Paper Rocket graphics, learning how to draw came in last. I'd say it took me over two years to go from no experience whatsoever to a finished iPhone game. When you're just one person it is important to try and keep the scope of the game small if you ever want to release anything -- especially if you're doing everything yourself including art and music.

What are you proudest of about your game?
A lot of things. Just getting a game out there feels awesome. The smooth controls -- running at 60fps is one thing. It makes a huge difference, you truly get precise control of your rocket (the paper rocket that is). I like the "art direction." I can't draw for shit, which is kind of obvious but I think I have turned this to my advantage.

The music is something I am also very happy with. I'm going to release the game music (for free) when I have around 5-6 songs in the game.

What one thing would you tell someone to convince them to get your game?
I'd use some clever reverse psychology. For example, I might say something like "OK, so I really, really don't want you to buy Paper Rocket so don't do it, OK?"

What's next?
I'm working on new features and content for Paper Rocket. I've received lots of feedback, which is awesome. The next update will add Game Center support and you will also be able to pause the game! The update after that will be a content update: more music, a new game mode (possibly a story mode) -- things like that. After that I don't know -- a new game perhaps?

Anything else?
Thanks to everyone who has bought Paper Rocket -- you are AWESOME! I will happily absorb any feedback, feature suggestions or comments you may have! Cheers!

Want to check out Paper Rocket for yourself? You can buy it right here.

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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