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Button Mash talks to Dejobaan’s Ichiro Lambe

Dejobaan Games are the incredibly talented guys behind such titles as AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity and The Wonderful End of the World. Today, Dejobaan’s intrepid leader Ichiro Lambe talks to us about the life of an indie developer, amongst other things.

Button Mash: I know as indie developers you all work 30 hour days, but on the off-chance you do get some downtime what games do you like to play to unwind?

Ichiro Lambe: Yesterday, my fiancée and I had a small dinner party with a few local game developers. We ate shabu shabu, drank wine, and talked about normal human things briefly, before descending into industry talk. Because that’s what we live for. Always. Forever.

But: I like experimenting with mixing drinks; Leo (my biz guy) and I co-own a garden; and I like to go out dancing. I used to salsa dance, in particular, but I think those days are behind me. Alas!

BM: What’s your all-time favourite game?

IL: Katamari Damacy. It’s joyous. It drips with character. It’s fun alone, or with other people. And you can be a spectator and still enjoy it. Plus, the title song:

I mean, that’s the most joyous song I know. Also, your father starts out saying things like, “We can believe in you for 8 minutes”:

Jesus. Japan is insane.

BM: Your games frequently feature rather offbeat humour, do you have any notable influences or things that inspire your work?

IL: My father once said to me, “Son, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” I have lived by those words for decades.

BM: What was your favourite indie title featured at PAX East?

IL: Och! Our own Drunken Robot Pornography. But if you’re going to twist my arm and make me pick someone else’s, I’ll say that it’s Retro/Grade, in part because of Matt Gilgenbach’s heart-wrenching story behind it. The man is both insane and awesome, and probably spends 80 hours a week on it, working his fingers to nubs, and his nubs to dust. He uses genetic algorithms to optimize the shaders, for God’s sakes. As a developer, I love games as much for what goes into them as what comes out.

BM: What titles that people probably don’t know about should we look out for this year?

IL: Och! Our own Drunken Robot Pornograpwaaaaaaait a second, you’re not going to get me twice, Mister Biggin. Fine. A Valley Without Wind, by Arcen Games (, is juuust now starting to get press. Kotaku said this:

“Well, it’s a platformer. I mean, it’s not, it’s a roguelike. But totally a platformer. Really, it’s a dungeon-crawler. It exists for exploration. Well, no, for upgrades. Actually, it’s kind of an adventure game. Also there’s mining. With magic. And I think I can build a town.”

I mean, seriously? That’s awesome. I also just like the guys I met at Arcen, and would love to see ’em make miiiiiiiiiillions of dollars with this one.

BM: Do you have any advice for aspiring developers starting out in the game industry?

IL: 1. Meet as many other game developers as you can, and talk to them regularly. There’s no force more uplifting than a group of like-minded devs who say, “You can do it. Now, get off your ass and do it.”

2. Actually do something. Tiny. No, smaller than that. Get something done in a week. It can be ugly, but it needs to be finished.

3. Put that tiny thing out there, and get people to beat on it. Then repeat from step 1.

BM: And finally, do you think you could defeat Valve’s Gabe Newell in a game of chess?

IL: Yes, but I would want the rules to allow us to cheat. So, for example, I’d see if another Valvite would be willing to fake a code emergency (“Our pointers are null reffing! We need garbage collection in here, STAT!”), and while Gabe was gone, I would swap out the pieces with live baby mice.