Youtubers Interview


~ August 2016 ~
10 years after they were made, YouTubers continue to get mileage out of mocking my
early PC games. Not all of them hang around to discuss it like Kreal did, however:

How has your switch to mobile gaming helped your career? It seems to me that you have had much more success in the mobile market. You were quoted as saying in a 2014 NVidia shield interview that "old-fashioned 2D games, and even simpler 3D games, are back in style", so have you embraced a lower standard for flashy graphics or are you still trying to take your visuals further?
Yes, everything I was doing on PC for the first ten years felt like a rehearsal for what I'm doing now on mobiles. My games literally went from being played by thousands of people to millions of people. I feel vindicated in a lot of ways, because people thought I was crazy for building what I was building. Then when the flood of mobile gaming came, it turned out I had built an ark to ride the waves on! The same work that was considered behind the times on PC was considered ahead of its time on mobiles. It's certainly where my games belong, because I'm never going to be able to offer AAA quality. I'm really enjoying the return to humble retro games - as both a player and a developer. I load up a console game and I get bored of the endless cut-scenes. I consider those to be "interactive movies" whereas all the real "games" are coming from indies. I suppose true perfection has to be imperfect. If your game is good looking then you get complacent about content, whereas if your game is ugly it has to have more personality!

What were you like growing up? How would you describe your social life as child? Where were you raised, and how were you brought up, culturally and parentally? These don't need to be specifically answer-- Basically I think people would really be interested in how M. Dickie the kid became MDickie the man.
I was very shy and quiet, but I actually managed to connect with people via games. Somehow or another, I always had the latest games and consoles - so kids often congregated at my house and I got used to hosting them that way. That's not to say we were rich, because my mother was raising two boys on her own. But through sacrifice and resourcefulness, my brother and I seemed to prioritize entertainment. I worked a paper route to save up for each game, and then sold the old ones to pay for the new ones, etc. I suppose that's where my independence and work ethic was forged.

What is your day-to-day life like at this point and time? Any other hobbies or interests right now besides video games and development? How do you wind down? I personally like to grab a cup of coffee at a cafe in between editing sessions, something like that. Do you work a daytime job? How would you describe yourself outside of the game development world?
I'm a family man nowadays, so I work to live instead of living to work. That has calmed my work rate down a little, and I'm starting to enjoy my weekends and summers. The closest thing I have to a hobby is exercise and weightlifting, which the wrestling fan in me has always enjoyed. It can get quite philosophical for me, because every day you're lifting more than you thought you could. Then I go into my office and apply the exact same attitude to games - I lift a heavy workload and redefine what I thought I was capable of.

We talked earlier about my analogy of true indie games to B-Movies and you said "you can see" what I was talking about. Reading your 2004 "haterview" on leads me to believe you're quite self-aware of some hate thrown your way for your work. I want to ask what keeps you going against the current of salt? Would you consider it a desire or compulsion for making games when you look back at 10 years of hard work? Any regrets looking back or is it pure positivity?
Looking back, it's a case of "be careful what you wish for" - because I always wanted to make myself bigger than the games I was making. It came to fruition in the wrong way, because people confused hating the games with hating the person who made them. The wrestling fan in me was always "cutting promos", which came across the wrong way to those who didn't get it. But my passion for entertainment bled into absolutely everything I said and did. There are times when I regret taking that route instead of letting the games speak for themselves, but at the same time you can't hate your past if you love your present. I can't fault where I ended up, so everything really did happen for a reason.

Would you ever take a job at major development studio or lesser indie studio or will you always remain fiercely independent? Would you ever allow someone to budget your game development if that meant risking creative control? Simply, are you a die-hard believer in DIY ethics or would you be opposed to working for EA (or some other AAA studio)?
The assumption is that indies are killing time until they get a shot at the big leagues, but in recent years I've observed that independent success has become the most sought after goal. I know more mainstream guys who want to be independent than indies who want to go mainstream. When I first started, an employed developer warned me that the industry was "a bit shit" - because you work all day, on a project you don't like, to make somebody else rich. That has never been my experience for a single day, and I feel relieved and grateful more than anything else. To be honest, they wouldn't want me anyway. I'm a jack of all trades but a master of none, and there's nothing I could actually contribute to a professional work environment.

What are your personal goals for the future outside of game development--Marriage, retirement, run a marathon, etc? What kind of social gatherings or events do you like to attend? (Concerts, street festivals, house parties, etc)?
I'm married with 2 kids these days, so I'm focused on settling down in a new home and building up a nest for them. We like to travel when we can, and I'm learning Mandarin as a 2nd language - which is harder than any programming language I ever had to learn!

Will your logo remain the same for years to come?
Haha, it has been a while! My only regret about that is that I didn't make the original logo big enough, so I don't have a high resolution version that I could use for merchandising. If I were to remake it, it would be on a grander scale. But the enflamed colour scheme will never change. That's my passion burning.

Copyright MDickie 2000 - 2016