A Nostalgia Trip With Warp Creative Director Kelly Smith

Posted by patrickklepek (3517 posts) -
Sure, Combat looks simple from the outside, but if you take the time, there can be way more to it.

There’s your first game, and there’s your favorite game.

For me, on most days, it’s Mega Man 2. On other days, it’s Deus Ex. Cop out? Yeah, absolutely.

Our favorite games inform so much about our playing habits. Mega Man 2 institutionalized my love for hard-as-nails platformers, while Deus Ex...well, I just really loved Deus Ex, and it mostly spoiled me on games with a deep story and engaging player choices.

Rather than going on and on about my favorites, I’m going to ask developers (weekly, if I can help it, but probably not) about their favorite games, and how said games have influenced them. This is meant to be short, sweet, and to the point, with a set of questions hopefully provoking interesting answers.

First up, Trapdoor creative director Kelly Smith. Trapdoor’s Warp, published by Electronic Arts, kicks off Microsoft’s “House Party” promotion on Xbox Live Arcade this week. If you’re not familiar with Warp, our lengthy Quick Look EX should get you up to speed, but here's what you need to know: you can possess dudes and blow 'em up. Neat.

(Note: This feature doesn't have a name. I kept trying to come up with something clever, and failed. Ideas?)

Giant Bomb: If you’re forced to choose only one, what’s your favorite video game?

Kelly Smith: Combat for the Atari 2600. It might not be the best game I’ve ever played, but there are few games I can think of that I remember more fondly.

GB: Do you know how old you were when you first played Combat? What do you remember?

Smith: When I was a kid my family really encouraged us to be interested in technology. For Christmas one year my grandparents got us an Atari 2600 and I’ve never looked back. We had the Pitfall games, Crackpots, Frostbite, River Raid, and lot of other great games, but Combat was easily what I played the most. I was always bugging everybody in the family to play with me, but if nobody was around I would just practice by myself.

GB: Now, the hard part: why is Combat your favorite video game? What makes it stand above all others?

Smith: It largely comes down to nostalgia and the impact it had on my life. Even after we had a Genesis and SNES, the ol’ wood paneled Atari stayed connected nearby. I’m certain that Christmas gift from my grandparents had a huge role in me eventually working in this industry.

GB: Do you still return to Combat every so often? How come? What changes when you go back?

Smith: I don’t really play it much anymore because it’s hard to find people to play with. A few years ago a friend got me one of those replica 2600 consoles with the games built into it. We played a bunch that night and it was exactly like I remembered, janky controls and all. I think it would have felt wrong without them.

Needless to say, I got a pretty big kick out of the Giant Bomb Holiday Nostalgiafest.

GB: Has Combat influenced the way you make video games? In what ways?

Smith: Combat is a great example of how minor changes in core mechanics will dramatically alter how you play. I like to start with an idea and then list all of the ways it could branch off, eventually picking out the ones that are the most appealing.

Some of the strange later game modes may have also played a part in my fascination with asymmetrical multiplayer. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to explore that in future projects.

Part of the reason Combat's fondly remembered is because it was a launch title for the Atari 2600.

GB: When you first played Combat, you just played games for fun. Today, you make them. How does that color the experience?

Smith: Thinking about the mechanics of the world while you play can often spoil the experience, but I can also appreciate the effort and talent that goes into my favorite games. Even if there is something frustrating in a game, I try to think about WHY it’s that way rather than just cursing too much. From past experience, it’s usually a pretty reasonable production issue, not just somebody being lazy.

GB: In a single sentence, convince anyone reading this why, if they haven't, they should play Combat.

Smith: Sometimes if you sneak up on somebody and lock your tank into theirs, you can throw them through the screen.

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (3517 posts) -
Sure, Combat looks simple from the outside, but if you take the time, there can be way more to it.

There’s your first game, and there’s your favorite game.

For me, on most days, it’s Mega Man 2. On other days, it’s Deus Ex. Cop out? Yeah, absolutely.

Our favorite games inform so much about our playing habits. Mega Man 2 institutionalized my love for hard-as-nails platformers, while Deus Ex...well, I just really loved Deus Ex, and it mostly spoiled me on games with a deep story and engaging player choices.

Rather than going on and on about my favorites, I’m going to ask developers (weekly, if I can help it, but probably not) about their favorite games, and how said games have influenced them. This is meant to be short, sweet, and to the point, with a set of questions hopefully provoking interesting answers.

First up, Trapdoor creative director Kelly Smith. Trapdoor’s Warp, published by Electronic Arts, kicks off Microsoft’s “House Party” promotion on Xbox Live Arcade this week. If you’re not familiar with Warp, our lengthy Quick Look EX should get you up to speed, but here's what you need to know: you can possess dudes and blow 'em up. Neat.

(Note: This feature doesn't have a name. I kept trying to come up with something clever, and failed. Ideas?)

Giant Bomb: If you’re forced to choose only one, what’s your favorite video game?

Kelly Smith: Combat for the Atari 2600. It might not be the best game I’ve ever played, but there are few games I can think of that I remember more fondly.

GB: Do you know how old you were when you first played Combat? What do you remember?

Smith: When I was a kid my family really encouraged us to be interested in technology. For Christmas one year my grandparents got us an Atari 2600 and I’ve never looked back. We had the Pitfall games, Crackpots, Frostbite, River Raid, and lot of other great games, but Combat was easily what I played the most. I was always bugging everybody in the family to play with me, but if nobody was around I would just practice by myself.

GB: Now, the hard part: why is Combat your favorite video game? What makes it stand above all others?

Smith: It largely comes down to nostalgia and the impact it had on my life. Even after we had a Genesis and SNES, the ol’ wood paneled Atari stayed connected nearby. I’m certain that Christmas gift from my grandparents had a huge role in me eventually working in this industry.

GB: Do you still return to Combat every so often? How come? What changes when you go back?

Smith: I don’t really play it much anymore because it’s hard to find people to play with. A few years ago a friend got me one of those replica 2600 consoles with the games built into it. We played a bunch that night and it was exactly like I remembered, janky controls and all. I think it would have felt wrong without them.

Needless to say, I got a pretty big kick out of the Giant Bomb Holiday Nostalgiafest.

GB: Has Combat influenced the way you make video games? In what ways?

Smith: Combat is a great example of how minor changes in core mechanics will dramatically alter how you play. I like to start with an idea and then list all of the ways it could branch off, eventually picking out the ones that are the most appealing.

Some of the strange later game modes may have also played a part in my fascination with asymmetrical multiplayer. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to explore that in future projects.

Part of the reason Combat's fondly remembered is because it was a launch title for the Atari 2600.

GB: When you first played Combat, you just played games for fun. Today, you make them. How does that color the experience?

Smith: Thinking about the mechanics of the world while you play can often spoil the experience, but I can also appreciate the effort and talent that goes into my favorite games. Even if there is something frustrating in a game, I try to think about WHY it’s that way rather than just cursing too much. From past experience, it’s usually a pretty reasonable production issue, not just somebody being lazy.

GB: In a single sentence, convince anyone reading this why, if they haven't, they should play Combat.

Smith: Sometimes if you sneak up on somebody and lock your tank into theirs, you can throw them through the screen.

Staff
#2 Posted by Morningstar (2145 posts) -

Neat stuff!

#3 Posted by skinnyluigi (22 posts) -

hi

#4 Edited by dekkadekkadekka (730 posts) -

Retrofluential? I dunno, I got nothing.

Retrobates?

#5 Posted by Deathpooky (1380 posts) -

You could just do what the Food Network did - give up being clever. The Best Game I Ever Played.

#6 Posted by Doctorchimp (4071 posts) -

What's in a Game?

#7 Posted by zameer (605 posts) -

Totally support this feature; this is why I'm glad Alex & Patrick are on news.

#8 Posted by zockroach (58 posts) -

Awesome feature!

#9 Posted by mrfluke (5103 posts) -

good shit patrick, will be interesting to see if you can keep this up weekly, and more interesting to see who you get to do this, im sure people like  jaffe and tim schafer would be down to do this

#10 Posted by Airickson (120 posts) -

This is a great feature -- especially if it remains short and to the point. I enjoy hearing what inspires game developers.

Nostalgia Corner

Inspiration Corner

#11 Posted by Rasta_Zergling (113 posts) -
#12 Posted by Sporkbane (185 posts) -

Nostalgia night? Patrick's Passions? I dunno.

Cool feature!

#13 Edited by umdesch4 (772 posts) -

Yeah, keep doing these, Patrick, and I'll keep reading 'em. Great idea!

PS. If, occasionally, you happen to get a video response, I'd watch that too...

#14 Posted by TheHBK (5466 posts) -

Damn Patrick has game! Hittin on game industry chicks. WOOOOO!

Step yo game up!
#15 Posted by samsara (20 posts) -

I don't think you need to categorize and name these different features. As far as I'm concerned they're all called "Patrick has an Open Conversation with Somebody Interesting". Maybe there's a subtitle of "A Strangely Rare Phenomena in Gaming Media".

#16 Posted by BitterAlmond (401 posts) -

@TheHBK said:

Damn Patrick has game! Hittin on game industry chicks. WOOOOO!

Kelly Smith is a man. Pay attention to your pronouns, sir.

#17 Posted by BisonHero (6247 posts) -

@BitterAlmond said:

@TheHBK said:

Damn Patrick has game! Hittin on game industry chicks. WOOOOO!

Kelly Smith is a man. Pay attention to your pronouns, sir.

Indeed.

#18 Posted by MrGtD (454 posts) -

Patrick, just call the feature "Playing Favorites" and be done with it.

#19 Edited by mnzy (2912 posts) -

Video Game Antics with your host: Patrick Klepek.

#20 Posted by White_Silhouette (470 posts) -

Interesting feature, look forward to more.

#21 Posted by EatBolt (38 posts) -

Good stuff!

#22 Posted by Yummylee (21304 posts) -

Should of asked him how he reacted to the Tank Combat homage in Saints Row The Third.

#23 Posted by JerseyDriver (57 posts) -

What is a game?

A miserable pile of secrets!

#24 Posted by bushpusherr (762 posts) -

I would refrain from calling it anything to do with nostalgia, because it doesn't necessarily have to be a play on nostalgia for it to be their favorite game (even though most of them probably will).

#25 Edited by I_smell (3925 posts) -

I wish this was a video or podcast feature, cos then I wouldn't have to do as much reading. But then-- I want everything to be in video or podcast form. It's 2012!

Patty P's Quickfire Quiz-Time Bonanza Starring Patrick Klepek: Videogames! Videogames! Videogames! Chapter 1

#26 Posted by BisonHero (6247 posts) -

@I_smell said:

I wish this was a video or podcast feature, cos then I wouldn't have to do as much reading. But then-- I want everything to be in video or podcast form. It's 2012!

Patty P's Quickfire Quiz-Time Bonanza Starring Patrick Klepek: Videogames! Videogames! Videogames! Chapter 1

Your suggested name made me think of a more serious suggestion: "Oh Video Games, with Patrick Klepek". It's becoming Patrick's signature phrase, so he might as well use it for something.

#27 Posted by Scratch (628 posts) -

@MrGtD said:

Patrick, just call the feature "Playing Favorites" and be done with it.

I approve.

#28 Posted by Rox360 (1049 posts) -
@Doctorchimp said:

What's in a Game?

EA Sports.
#29 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

The name needs to be original....hmmmm

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

#30 Posted by Tan (425 posts) -

"No game no fame"

#31 Posted by bayushi (58 posts) -

Combat is probably my favorite Atari 2600 game of all time. Followed by Warlords.

The combat tank mini game was AWESOME.

#32 Posted by thanosrules (1 posts) -

This game is awesome! Very challenging, but also entertaining and cute. :)

#33 Edited by buzz_clik (6932 posts) -

@mnzy said:

Video Game Antics with your host: Patrick Klepek.

I totally support VGAs hosted by Patrick Klepek.

And yeah, Combat is totally one of my all-time favourites as well. Tank Pong is still such a blast.

Moderator
#34 Posted by TheHBK (5466 posts) -

@BisonHero said:

@BitterAlmond said:

@TheHBK said:

Damn Patrick has game! Hittin on game industry chicks. WOOOOO!

Kelly Smith is a man. Pay attention to your pronouns, sir.

Indeed.

Ahhhh gross! Kelly is a girl's name.

#35 Posted by mdnthrvst (263 posts) -

I concur with Playing Favorites.

#36 Posted by demazin (102 posts) -

I like Playing Favorites too.

What about?

"Developing a Favourite"

#37 Posted by Xeiphyer (5597 posts) -

I agree with the smart people. Playing Favourites is a great name.
 
Playing Favourites: The Patrick Klepek story.

#38 Posted by Strife777 (1504 posts) -

I'm looking forward to seeing more of this. Good article.

#39 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3171 posts) -

Here you go, Patrick: Giant Bomb Plays the Oldies.

#40 Posted by KaneRobot (1438 posts) -

Playing Favorites is dumb. No one is playing anything. If you get these guys sitting down and playing 'em while talking about it and make it a video feature, then the name fits.

DISCUSSING Favorites - now that's a name! Or not.

#41 Edited by Rmack (1075 posts) -

@Dark_Lord_Spam said:

Here you go, Patrick: Giant Bomb Plays the Oldies.

Perfect.

I really like this idea, and as others have said, I would listen to it in podcast form if anyone wanted to do that too.

#42 Edited by fishless (55 posts) -

How about calling it ---> "What's your favorite game?" Or "Favorite games"

#43 Posted by evanbower (1210 posts) -

I think "Nostalgia Trip" is a good enough name. To the point, like all GB feature names.

#44 Posted by Gimpy (31 posts) -

Developing Taste?

#45 Posted by derakodouchebag (2 posts) -

I'm pretty pumped to play this :D

#46 Posted by plainplease (187 posts) -

Was this a one-shot feature, or were there more of these interviews?

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.