Old School Gamer Magazine chats with game developer Loren Lemcke, who discusses the inspirations behind his new game “Terror of Hemasaurus” and how his latest smash hit on the Nintendo Switch, Super Blood Hockey, helped him along the way.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?
Loren Lemcke: Terror of Hemasaurus is essentially my take on the kaiju genre / monster-attacks-a-city type game. Much like the case with Super Blood Hockey, I feel this genre has been rather neglected as of late and this hole in the market presents an opportunity for a modern reinventing of the classic city-smashing gameplay formula. I am inspired by works such as The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Them!, The Deadly Mantis, Godzilla, Rampage the arcade game, War of the Monsters for PS2, Crush Crumble & Chomp an old mac game, and some others.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How has this dev cycle been similar and different than Super Blood Hockey?
Lemcke: This dev cycle is proceeding at a much faster rate both in terms of art and code. I feel I have progressed significantly both as a developer and an artist. Even with Super Blood Hockey, I was still learning the basics of pixel art and animation, so everything took a long time to do because there was a lot of trial and error involved in my workflow process. Now I feel much more confident in my ability to execute an idea both in terms of code and art. Basically, I am able to more closely make my work match the vision I have for the game.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want this game to affect people?
Lemcke: I want people to experience the aspects of what made retro gameplay formulas so much fun. There are some developers who accomplish this by sticking to the strict limitations of the retro hardware to create a truly authentic retro experience, but not me. I am a bit different in this regard. The aesthetic I want my games to have is best represented by the question: What if the 2D arcade scene of the ’80s and ’90s wasn’t limited by hardware speed and performance? What would these games look like and how would they play? I think this framework allows me to take the experience of a retro game and reinvent it into something modern that feels both nostalgic and fresh. Ultimately my end goal is to just create something people have fun playing.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game a special one for you?
Lemcke: Much like Super Blood Hockey, my game Terror of Hemasaurus born out of an idea that originated from my childhood. I have several game ideas from my childhood that I have been carrying around for a while waiting and hoping for someone to make something that fits the bill. But I got tired of waiting, so I decided it was up to me to make those ideas a reality. I have a few more ideas from my childhood that I would like to someday make a reality after Terror of Hemasaurus.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How difficult is it to be a one-man dev team, porting one game to multiple consoles and developing a new game at the same time?
Lemcke: It is very difficult! Fortunately, I have enlisted the help of Digerati and Kittehface software to do the heavy lifting on the console ports, which allows me to stay focused on the creative aspects of development. Without them, it would honestly take me a few years alone to do the ports, which isn’t really how I wanted to spend the next few years. I would rather keep pushing forward and make new stuff.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What are your goals the rest of the year on this game?
Lemcke: I want to finish the game or mostly finish the game by the end of the year. I am staying away from offering too many different game modes, which proved to be a development pain point for Super Blood Hockey. I am committed to controlling the scope of the game and staying focused on the aspects that I think are most important.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else?
Lemcke: I would just like to thank all the people that have supported me through my gamedev career! I wouldn’t be able to make these ideas a reality without all the help and support everyone has provided. I am incredibly fortunate in this regard.
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.