The worlds of clubbing and computer games don’t always cross paths but when they do, some really cool and quirky concepts can be formed. Convict Games, an Australian game company have just released their debut game, STONE, a totally unique creation that features a hungover Koala bear who is trying to piece together memories of a crazy night out. Classed under the niche genre of a “hip hop stoner noir”, STONE is a one of a kind game that has taken its influences from films such as The Big Lebowski, authors such as Hunter S Thompson, clubs such as Berghain and Printworks, and also from many underground indie, hip-hop and techno artists. In the game, the main Koala bear character called STONE must go on a mission through a gauntlet of scenarios to find his missing “chookie” or Alex, an eccentric lorikeet raver and artist. The game encapsulates a feeling that most of us can relate to, and that is to be in a fragile state of mind after going hard the night before and is what makes it unique, fun and different from other mainstream game concepts.
Greg Louden, Founder of Convict Games and creator of STONE is passionate about clubbing, music, books and films, and has made the game overflow with references of his love for underground art. We caught up with him to learn more about Convict Games and to talk about their debut game, STONE.
Hey Greg, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Really love the idea behind your new game. Can we start by you telling our readers a bit about how you got started in developing and creating computer games, what projects you have worked on in the past and what particularly excites you about making games?
For starters, I love clubbing so it’s awesome to be featured here. STONE our debut I think reflects this love and respect. So I think clubbers will love our interactive story and our club. I’m from Sydney and always been passionate about electronic music and nightlife, but after seeing Daft Punk in 2007 it’s become a way of life for me.
I got started by studying computer science and listening to Deadmau5, Boyz Noize and Ed Banger to get through my degree with the goal of ending up in games. As it turns out I actually ended up in film first where I worked in Sydney on Sucker Punch and Happy Feet 2 and then got the chance to move to London to work on films like Gravity, Prometheus, and World War Z. London was amazing for gigs, and I feel lucky to of seen some of the clubs like Jaded, Cable and more that have since shut down.
After film, I got the chance to work in games in Finland and discovered the awesome techno scene. I worked on Quantum Break, and after I had this drive to make a story game like no other that shows my life passions of music, clubbing, cinema, street art and story with great twists and turns. It turned out to be STONE and here I am.
I think games is so exciting because like electronic music it’s young and there’s still so much room to explore. STONE is just the start and hopefully, we’ll make even more.
You recently started your own company, “Convict Games” and you are about to release your first game, “STONE”, in coming weeks. Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about the vision you have behind Convict Games, where you hope to place this company in the gaming space and what kind of future projects you will work on?
Convict is all about “breaking free”. We were founded on July 5, 2017 and we make high impact and alternative stories for all. So our games aren’t challenging they’re easy, fun and very music focussed.
STONE is your first independent game and I have to say after watching the preview online I think it’s a really cool and original concept. You call it “A Hip Hop Stoner Noir”. Can you tell our readers what you mean by this, also a bit about the the storyline of the game?
Sure, stoner noir is a genre of stories in literature and cinema like Inherent Vice, The Big Lebowksi, Inherent Vice, Dude Where’s My Car, The Hangover and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. All of these stories are set in the past usually or from the 90s. For us it was about bringing this genre to games which hasn’t been done before and bringing a level of writing and references usually seen in a hip hop track.
I love clubbing, but I’m also a hip hop head. So when I thought about the genre a hip hop stoner noir made sense and feels very 2018 to me.
Talk to us a bit about STONE, the main character, what was your inspiration behind him?
STONE is the koala PI in Oldtown, he has an appetite for hedonism, is super Aussie but also has a good heart. The inspirations for him came from my friend, voice actor and game programmer Ethan and also the Dude from the Big Lebowksi and Doc Sportello in Inherent Vice. So STONE is a blend of cinema characters and real life character.
Without giving too much away, can you tell us more about some of the other characters in the game and how they interact with the main character STONE?
STONE has a lot of twists, so I’ll keep this high level. There’s Les a lawn bowler, conspiracy theorist and stay at home Dad wombat. We have cockie a world class bartender who hates STONE’s guts. Another fun one is Smiley an aligator club owner and a dj at Echo nightclub. He also thinks STONE is a loser.
In your online preview you say that a lot of the ideas and concepts for this game came through literature, film and music. Can you tell us a bit about what films, authors and artists have inspired you for this project?
Literature wise Charles Bukowksi, Hunter S Thompson, Raymond Chandler, Thomas Pynchon and Ernest Hemmingway led my wrtiting and structure. Cinema wise as mentioned stoner noir films were very influential but also music and nightclubs. In STONE we have tunes from Ilkka S and James Tottakai with an epic sound. Our club in the game is inspired by my nights at Berghain, Printworks, Kaiku, Aaniwalli, Fusion Festival and underground raves. Musically David August, Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman, Lil Tony were standouts when I selected the music.
As you know that our magazine is called clubber confession and our main audience are clubbers from all over the world that love going out and raving to electronic music. From the games’ preview we learnt that you STONE can go clubbing if he wishes. Can you tell us a bit about the clubbing scenes in the game and where your ideas came from for these?
I love clubbing so for me in noir from 2018, if old detectives went to jazz clubs it would be techno today. Secondly I love the music and clubbing, so when you’re leading your own project and don’t have other concerns I had to put it in and show players what they’ve been missing out on.
Amazing! So we hear that STONE was released on September 21st. Can you tell us what gaming platforms it can be played on and where we can buy it?
STONE’s on PC and Mac so anyone with a computer can play. You can buy it off Steam at this link. Steam is an online store for buying games, and once you create an account as you would on Ebay or Amazon it’s super simple.