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JoJu Games Interview: Mart Racer

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Since we don't have a lot of information regarding the upcoming shopping spree-infused racing title Mart Racer from JoJu Games, we decided to get in touch with the company to try to find out a little more information on the game. Lead Development Director Juan Gril was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to take part in an exclusive interview for WiiWare World and here's what he had to tell us...

WiiWare World: Can you tell us a little bit about JoJu Games?

Juan Gril: We started Joju 3 years and a half ago. We are mostly guys and girls who've been raised playing videogames. A lot of us had a lot of fun playing games during the golden age of Arcade games. So we love simple and fun games, especially when we can play against each other.

WW: How long has Mart Racer been in development?

JG: It's been in development for 10 months, plus 2 months at the beginning where we had to work on developing our own engine for the Wii, as well as learning how the console really works.

WW: How did you come up with the idea of Mart Racer in the first place?

JG: A usually common theme across our games is humor. And generally in the game industry you have all these "macho" racing or combat games. Which are fun game mechanics, but they are always obscure and "badass". But how about if there would be a game where what you do is just funny? We remembered when we were kids and were racing our carts inside the supermarket.

At the same time, we wanted to create an arcade game that was more accessible to anybody, so you could have core and casual gamers playing together. We created a Wii Style control specific for the Wii so we can get those who don't play videogames to play this game as well.

WW: Can you tell us a bit more about the actual gameplay in Mart Racer?

JG: We are in the process of uploading a new video where we'll show an entire match. Stay tuned! But basically it's not a linear race, your goal is to get the items before anyone else does. But items only re-spawn every minute or so, so it's faster for you to grab power ups and take those items away from your opponents.

WW: How many levels are there in the game?

JG: 12 different supermarkets. Each one has its own theme and layout. All of them are available locally as well as online.

WW: What aspects of Mart Racer make it stand out from other racing title available on the WiiWare service?

JG: We have two alternative ways of controlling the game, and both are well balanced so there is not an advantage of playing one over the other. And the other aspect is the Wi-Fi Connection support for up to 4 players.

WW: What do you think of the Wii Remote as a controller and what does it bring to the table as far as game development goes?

JG: I think it's really interesting. It can be used well, as well as it can turn into a complete disaster. Gesture based moves are fun, but not every game needs them. You also want to not tire the player. I disagree on using the Wii Remote as a pointer device at all times. I play with my Wii from my couch, and it's really tiring to play games where I have to continously lift my arm and point to the screen.

There are two recent examples of the use of the Wii Remote I really liked. One is the use in Wario Land: Shake It!, where you are mostly using a traditional style control (with the d-pad and the buttons), but every so often you shake or rotate the Wii Remote in order to do a particular action in the game. I thought that was very clever, and it made my son laugh! The other example is in Art Style: Orbient (which I just bought two days ago). The game is only controlled with the A and B buttons, so I can just sit comfortably with the Wii Remote in one hand and play the game.

We Game Designers need to think about these things. Ergonomics are becoming an important aspect in Game Design. So I'm looking forward to see what people come up with in the future.

WW: Did you find it challenging to stay within the 40MB WiiWare file size limit?

JG: No, not really. It's not a problem with current compression technologies, and the fact that you are making an small game after all. People sometimes expect of WiiWare the same type of experience they get with retail games. I feel WiiWare is about gameplay, not fancy graphics. Going back to Art Style: Orbient: the graphics are minimal and the game is great.

WW: What are some of the advantages of developing a game for the WiiWare service as opposed to doing a full retail title?

JG: They are two different experiences. I don't think there are advantages of one over the other. Some games have this fun game mechanic and they don't need zillions of art assets or the length of a retail game. Some games are fun for just a few hours, and that's it. You pay for what you get, as long as it's a good game of course.

WW: Will there be any additional downloadable content made available for Mart Racer?

JG: Not on Mart Racer, but our future WiiWare title will!

WW: Does Mart Racer support online play or other types of online functionality?

JG: Yes, we support Wi-Fi Connection, where you want to play against anybody available, or friends. We support Friend Codes.

WW: When can we expect a US or European WiiWare release for Mart Racer?

JG: Hopefully pretty soon. We are in crunch mode fixing all the bugs in the game. We'll keep you posted.

WW: Aside from Mart Racer, what is your personal favorite WiiWare title to date?

JG: So far that would be Gyrostarr. But I just loved Art Style: Orbient, and I still have to play Cubello and World of Goo. Other titles I liked are Toki Tori, Groovin' Blocks, and Megaman 9.

WW: Do you guys have any other WiiWare project on the horizon?

JG: Yes, actually we have another game in the concept stage right now. It's nothing like Mart Racer, but it's going to be multiplayer too.

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User Comments (35)

ATRUEZELDAFAN

#3

ATRUEZELDAFAN said:

hmmm. I am not holding high expectations for this one. Im expecting it to be shovelware. Hear that JoJu games? Prove me Wrong!

pdrydia

#4

pdrydia said:

Neat ideas. Hope they translate well into game form!

[edit] Oh! And nice interview, btw. Short questions, but interesting responses. And I'm not left wishing you'd have asked X or Y. I really enjoyed reading this one. ;]

Wiiloveit

#5

Wiiloveit said:

Actually, I'm staring to like the sound of this. Hopefully it'll control well and won't get tiresome quickly. At the moment though, I don't really want to be spending more than 800 points on it.
I wonder what their next title will be? Hows about: a game where you collect gnomes on lawnmowers?

The big question is: will this be better than Pop Up Pirate?!?

wesleyh

#6

wesleyh said:

I want a game where I can pick my virtual nose with the wiimote. Take out the boogers and then it turns into a puzzler based on the color of the boogers.

Yasume

#7

Yasume said:

I'm still standing by my previous statement. It will cost 1000 points.

KnucklesSonic8

#8

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Great to hear. I'm gonna give this a go, as I said earlier. I'm predicting 600 or 800.

Good to hear it'll be available soon (i predicted next month anyway) and that DLC will be featured in their next multiplayer title. Hopefully that'll have Wi-fi capabilities also.

Objection

#12

Objection said:

I think Apocalypse is closer to the price than KnucklesSonic8. I hope that this will at least be a decent game with a modest (not the same as cheap) price. The last thing we need is for a crappy game to overprice itself. Cough, cough.

Ark

#13

Ark said:

I was actually thinking something like this would be good for WiiWare the other day. O.o The fact that they put time into installing Wi-Fi says to me that they either care about the game...or that the Wi-Fi will be terrible. XD

Nobarai

#14

Nobarai said:

This looks promising, but I wont spend more than 1000 points.
What we REALLY need is a multiplayer online racing game that doesn't have items, karts, or spogs. :)

CorbsAdmin

#15

Corbs said:

I'm not sure what to think of Mart Racer yet. On one hand, the visuals look fairly decent, but I'll have to wait to see how the game play mechanics function before I start getting excited about it.

ttplayer92

#16

ttplayer92 said:

@ zss_shadow

Idk I f you havent notice but so far, everygame that uses nintendo online servers (on the wii) so far have had really crappy online. Aside from MK Wii.

Virus

#17

Virus said:

I'm interested to see how this game controls. Its concept isn't to dazzling to me, but if the controls are well-executed, that will go quite a ways in convincing me this might be a good game.

KnucklesSonic8

#18

KnucklesSonic8 said:

@ttplayer92: I completely disagree.
PES2008, Mario Strikers Charged, Dr. Mario, Bomberman Blast, Tetris Party all say hi. >_>

I bet even Tiger Woods 09 All-Play, We Love Golf, GH, Batallion Wars II also.

@Objection_Blaster = Yeah, I'm hoping it WONT be 1000. I think too many would be skeptical of dropping the points for it. 800 would be more reasonable, no?

AlexSays

#19

AlexSays said:

Bomberman Blast's online is broken.

This game will be no less than 1000 points.
No online-multiplayer game will ever be less than 1000 points.

Wiiloveit

#21

Wiiloveit said:

It often plays up by disconnecting you on the lobby menu, and severe slowdown appears now and then.

Bass_X0

#23

Bass_X0 said:

I wonder what their next title will be? Hows about: a game where you collect gnomes on lawnmowers?

Office Chair Racing! Run on the balance board to mimic using your legs to push your yourself around a room.

Nintendude92

#24

Nintendude92 said:

I play bomberman blast alot. There are quite a few server flaws.

-Parent/child (Host-client)
-No ability to drop a player
-Friend functionality is lacking

But it's not bad. You just have to be lucky and find a nice room of players.

About Mart racer, its ceartinly different. I'm picky until I see gameplay.

Wiiloveit

#25

Wiiloveit said:

RE: BBOnline
I swear I've seen some players cheat as well, and the inability to lose players is a bit naff.

AlexSays

#26

AlexSays said:

Exactly.
And what do we call something that periodically doesn't work the way it's supposed to?
Broken.
What is my keyboard if it only works SOME of the time?
Broken.

KnucklesSonic8

#27

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Forget BB, then. I regret mentioning it now. My point is, the online isn't "crappy" by my definition. Same with the other aforementioned games. The others I included have good/great online modes but I can't say first-hand.

But more on topic, the whole "1000 Points for Wi-fi" reasoning might not be so off-beat, after all...

Twilight_Crow

#28

Twilight_Crow said:

@AlexSays
I agree, BB online is broken, and I only downloaded the game because of it :(, but you need to be very lucky to find a room that works without weird things to happen, like get trapped on the walls or see a character walk through explosions like nothing, what an unsatisfying purchase.

I lost some of my faith on wiiware online games, I'll never purchase a game just for its online feature again.
This race game, I'll buy it if it results to be good game by itself, not mentioning the online play, but I believe it's gonna be 1000 wiipoints because of it.

Wiiloveit

#29

Wiiloveit said:

To be fair, when BBonline does work, it is brilliant. And where else can you see a Mr T Mii do a ballet twirl?

Starwolf_UK

#30

Starwolf_UK said:

but you need to be very lucky to find a room that works without weird things to happen, like get trapped on the walls or see a character walk through explosions like nothing, what an unsatisfying purchase.
Try regional rather than worldwide. Less distance should mean higher latency between players so less lag...

Most the problems are caused by lag (thats why you'll see a aplyer walk through a explosion because on their end the explosion hasn't happened yet...somewhere on the line the game registers the player as being in it which is why players die in thin air in places) and it could have crappy pausing like Brawl (it does that anyway if it get really bad...) so I think its alright.

But to be honest i've had about the same luck with both modes as it is all dependant on other peoples connection and Nintendo doesn't allow such "complicated" information like ping to be listed or "rooms"...

Clayfrd

#31

Clayfrd said:

@ttplayer92- I've heard (somewhere) that the main reason that games like MKW are so good and lag-free online is that the game doesn't require the pixel perfect position of every character to function. For this reason, you may see a player in MK run right off the track before appearing in front of you seconds later. Since your system doesn't always need to know where every player is, the game doesn't stop you if it doesn't. In games like Brawl, conversely, you always need to know exactly where everyone is so every hit connects that should.

AlexSays

#32

AlexSays said:

On a completely unrelated note..

Tetris CANNOT overtake World of Goo in sales!
Surely I would've thought WOG would fall to the almighty, universally popular Tetris... but NO.
Goo has taken over the country!
When will it not be number one? Nobody knows. :P
I just got to Chapter 4 too. Don't want to give away any spoilers, but the end of Chapter 3 really threw me for a loop, a good loop. :)

Objection

#33

Objection said:

@Alexsays--Finally bought some wii points this week, and after taking a day to download the stupid new shop update because everyone else apparently was, I got World of Goo and played for an hour. So very sweet.

Wiiloveit

#34

Wiiloveit said:

A day? Woah. Took me about fifteen minutes. You need to get futureproof super fast fibre optic cable broadband like myself :D

Wiiloveit

#35

Wiiloveit said:

Joju: We are in crunch mode fixing all the bugs in the game.
You've been at that for quite some time now: is it fair to say that there were a LOT of bugs here?

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