Developer Interview: KnapNok On Spinning The Bottle For Wii U And Creating Innocent Social Games For Adults
Posted by Damien McFerran
"Wii U is a revolution of the social space of the play situation"
Spin The Bottle certainly isn't your average run-of-the-mill video game - but then the studio behind it is unique, as well. Spawned from the development hotbed of the Copenhagen Game Collective, KnapNok Games is all about creating unique experiences with modern technology, with a strong focus on motion control. Following the announcement of Spin The Bottle for the Wii U eShop, we spoke to designer Lau Korsgaard about the project.
Nintendo Life: Can you tell us a little about the history of your studio?
Lau Korsgaard: I have been making weird experimental games for four years now in an art group called Copenhagen Game Collective. Copenhagen Game Collective is a network of friends in Copenhagen that likes to push the limits of what games are, as well as how and where we play them. About two years ago, some of us grew tired of being poor, so we decided to form the company KnapNok Games. At KnapNok Games we also try to do weird experimental games, but we also try to make money on them.
Where did the inspiration come from for Spin The Bottle?
I am really fascinated by games from my childhood like Twister and Truth or Dare, which are innocent games for innocent kids – but really awkward for adults. How is it that some games can be totally OK for kids to play, but are too naughty for grown-ups?
One of your previous games involved shaking the Wii Remote to stimulate an orgasm...does Spin The Bottle feature any similarly kinky features, or is it more family friendly?
Ha ha, no! Spin the Bottle will be totally family friendly. The most interesting aspect of the game you talk about, Dark Room Sex Game, is actually not all the moans, but the fact that players look directly at each other, rather than at the screen. We have taken that mechanic and transformed to something more family friendly in Spin The Bottle.
What was Nintendo's reaction to Dark Room Sex Game?
They haven’t had an official reaction. But, let me put it this way, we certainly got their attention - and not in a bad way.
Another of your titles, B.U.T.T.O.N., revolved around aggressive play and cheating. Does Spin The Bottle take any inspiration from that game?
Yes, Spin The Bottle is heavily inspired by elements in B.U.T.T.O.N., but the big difference is that B.U.T.T.O.N. is competitive. In Spin The Bottle, each challenge is collaborative, which gives it a totally different spirit.
It's quite a brave move to totally remove the TV from the gaming equation. Do you think there's any risk involved - will players 'get' what Spin The Bottle is about?
I am totally frightened that people won’t get it! Luckily I see other developers doing some of the same things right now. For instance, former Copenhagen Game Collective member Douglas Wilsons’ Johan Sebastian Joust is a great example, but maybe even more Fingle by Game Oven shows that these types of games are something people want to play.
Have you had any feedback from Nintendo on Spin The Bottle? What's it been like working with the company?
Nintendo is a great company – from really early on they have encouraged us to do something unique and experimental for the platform.
What's your impression of the Wii U eShop so far? Do you think it will provide a successful platform for indie developers?
We haven’t dived down in the gritty details about Wii U eShop yet, but I think it is pretty awesome business-wise.
What are your thoughts on the Wii U hardware in terms of features and power? Is it easy to develop for?
We are not doing anything fancy with the hardware – it is a really simple 2D game. We have been joking about installing SETI@Home to run on some of the cores because we are wasting so much CPU power!
Do you have any other Wii U projects on the horizon?
I have so many ideas for this technology. I think most people have missed the fact that while the Wii was a revolution of the physical space of the play situation, the Wii U is a revolution of the social space of the play situation.