Hermit Games makes interesting games in interesting places
Hermit Games is taking care of business in more ways than one in its one-room-suits-all studio/bathroom hybrid.
The pink toilet, sink and shower are remnants of a room that has been all but replaced by a budding game developer whose interesting use of space has caused an internal dilemma – hygiene or hijinks.
“It’s tempting to use the shower,” said Matt James, founder of Hermit Games Studios. “But I think the steam is bad for the computers.”
James’ humor and outlook flushes out unto his work. The newest among them is the Uprising III indie game title qrth-phyl, a type of 3D Snake that James describes as an “arcade documentary of maze/dot/snake mechanic within changing dimensions, axis locks and the corruption of the system.”
With a unique title such as qrth-phyl one would expect some hidden meaning or an acronym behind the title. However, James said the game’s title is not an acronym and can be pronounced “however you want.”
“[The game’s title] does mean something to me, yeah, but I’m going to keep it to myself,” he said. “The name represents the game; it’s a manifesto. And it’s my game, I can call it whatever I like.”
With the upcoming release of qrth-phyl on the Xbox Indie Marketplace, James knows the whole experience was not all fun and games. He mentioned one point in particular that gave him some frustration.
“I coded some AI that took over my PC and wouldn’t let me log back in,” James said. “Self-replicating code is dangerous!”
Qrth-phyl is the newest chapter in a series of events dating back to James’ eighth Christmas when he received a ZX Spectrum, a type of personal computer released in the United Kingdom similar to the Commodore 64 in the United States. Although, he no longer has the original system, the gift has made a lasting impression, as well as provide the soundtrack to qrth-phyl.
“Been making games since 1985,” James said. “Just got bored enough to start programming.”
Since that point, James said he has enjoyed making games and founded Hermit Games in 2002. He has released seven titles under the studio, the most recent being Leave Home in 2009. He began prototyping qrth-phyl in 2004 and started reworking the code in 2010, although he admits not every waking moment was dedicated to the game.
“I did some sleeping and had a kid and moving house and stuff, which slowed me down on this one,” he said. And although, qrth-phyl took a long while to get out of the gate, James has no intentions of stopping. “I want to do a game for raspberry PI frozen in epoxy resin next.”