When we discovered the Kickstarter campaign for Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet! we were immediately smitten, nostalgic, and laughing our asses off. We talked with the developer, Alasdair Beckett-King, about inspirations from old adventure games, stand-up comedy, and forging your own path. Warning: the laughter never stops.
“Adventure games never went away” is the conceit when discussing the genres resurgence in popularity. However, Double Fine shined the spotlight back on the genre with their highly-successful Kickstarter campaign.
Adventure games are what we grew up playing. We have these shared experiences with our friends and family. We would solve puzzles and laugh at the jokes together. It’s these experiences that fueled Alasdair to make his own adventure games.
I love all kinds of games, I’m not exclusively an adventure gamer. But they are the main kind of game I really enjoy and the kind of game I would want to make. Creating a world and going around and messing about in it is really fun.
Alasdair has no qualms in discussing his inspirations for his self-described Retro Pirate Adventure. His favorite genre of games growing up have been from the minds of Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer, from the studios Lucasarts and Cyan Worlds.
Playing adventure games, both old and new, with his girlfriend convinced Alasdair to make his first game, Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeak Ahoy! Nelly is modeled after his girlfriend and their shared love for adventure games. He joked that while it was intended as a birthday gift, it was late, buggy, and probably the worst birthday present he could give. Except she and many others liked it. The year that it was released it won five awards on the Adventure Game Studio website.
During our conversation it was easy to see how versed Alasdair is with adventure games. With his knowledge of the genre we discussed his approach with injecting narrative, puzzles and humor into his games. He tries to create branching paths so you’re not stuck on one thing. He wants there to be fair obstacles and a variety of puzzles. And he tries to avoid the mishaps of accidental inventory combinations and pixel hunting in his games.
What’s unique about Alasdair is that game development is not his only creative pursuit. He went to university for film and has started doing stand-up comedy. These three different interests may seem disparate, but the lessons learned from one can reinforce others. We find that at the core each medium is about sharing experiences, stories, and creation.
When you look at the career path of a person who achieves something unusual, they’re not linear. They didn’t just get a job at a company and work their way to the top because that company didn’t exist when they started.
Our conversation with Alasdair was a delight. We can tell from both playing his games and our conversation that he’s creating something very enjoyable. Download the first game, Spoonbeaks Ahoy! for free. The Kickstarter campaign for Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet! is happening right now. We feel after you watch his very humorous campaign video you’ll be convinced to also become a backer.