Interview
Douglas Wilson
Johann Sebastian Joust

By Jorge Figueiredo - April 23rd, 2013

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All images used here are from Die Gute Fabrik’s web site. You should go check them out!

A few weeks ago, Smallest Thumb and I went to the Ontario Science Centre to check out Game On 2.0. Just as we were about to leave, we discovered a neat little area that was showing off a game called Johann Sebastian Joust. The game has not been released commercially as of yet, but should be coming out later this year. The title was created (and is being worked on) by Die Gute Fabrik, a developer from Copenhagen, Denmark. We sent them some questions, and Doug Wilson from Die Gute Fabrik, sent us some answers!

TT: So what inspired you to come up with the idea?

DW: I had been working on motion control games and no-graphics games for a few years, and J.S. Joust was a kind of a culmination of those efforts. J.S. Joust was also inspired by several folk games and playground games I learned while living in Denmark. For example, my interest in slow-motion games was no doubt influenced by Listelanser (translation: “Sneaky Lance”), a non-digital party game invented by some friends of a friend. In Listelanser, two players faceoff blindfolded, each with a wooden spoon in hand. The first player to hit the other wins! The twist is that both players must move in slow-motion, enforced by the cheering spectators. To make the whole thing extra silly and cinematic, we often play loud drum and bass music!

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Danish standoff.

Why Bach? Why not someone else?

For me, the J.S. Bach is a key part of the game. First, the “high art” nature of such famous Classical music (Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos) makes the mood all the sillier and “subversive” when the game starts playing the music at slow and fast speeds. Second, the baroque nature of the music suggests a kind of “narrative world” behind the game. You feel like you’re an aristocrat having a duel or something. Players often start bowing to each other, raising their controller like a sword, etc. The hope is that Bach’s music suggests a certain way of performing and playing.

Why choose the Playstation Move controllers? Would this work on the Wii?

The original version was actually for Wii-motes, and it worked great! I think the game does work particularly well with the beautiful LED light on the Move controller, but the Wii-mote version is definitely still fun. I hope to support Wii-motes in the Home Computer version – we’ll see.

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This is what happens when fireflies are on hard drugs.

Would you ever consider integrating the Playstation Eye with this game? For instance: to take photos during key moments (relying on the increased acceleration of a controller, for instance) or to film the path of the wand “bulbs: to create interesting patterns on the screen?

Hmm, probably not – one of my main design goals is to get the players looking at each other, not the screen. I’d love to do a game that uses the Eye, but that would likely be a different game altogether.

Would you ever consider creating a standalone version?

Maybe? The game will be first debut as part of our upcoming Sportsfriends game – a compilation of four local multi-player games (also including Hokra, Super Pole Riders, and BaraBariBall). I’m proud and excited about the whole compilation, so right now I don’t feel an urgent need to release the game separately.

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