culture / James Shasha

An Interview with Sink

crowtelgif2-t2bs68cw

Sink is a game developer and crow princess. Her latest game, Crowtel, is “a cute action platformer about a lazy crow managing a hotel”. Crowtel was made in game maker over the course of 9 months, and features adorable pixel art and a thoroughly charming soundtrack by the talented CaptBeard The game is lovely & short & available free, so please check it out and support it if you can over on itch.io. A few months ago, we talked about her work on Skype.

what went into crowtel? as in like influences & also development-wise?

Influences would absolutely be KeroBlaster’s hotel level, I love that level so much and wanted a whole game devoted to that idea. A broken down, old hotel and it just kinda evolved from there.

what steps did you take to promote the game?

For promotion I basically just tweeted a gif almost every week until i released the game and people seemed to really find it fun and cute! I never really went further in marketing it than that. My pal Carpetbones did a trailer for me for free haha!

were there any specific goals you had for the game?

Yeah there was, all of my games up to that point were extremely personal and I actually couldn’t get myself to release any of my work because I felt it showed too much of who I am. Crowtel was kind of a curtain from my personality and just let you forget about your problems and have fun.

ugh i can totally relate to that i have like 7 shit projects on hold rn because i feel weird about putting them out there

Yeah totally, thats exactly how I felt b/c I made one about being trans before I came out and stuff

so it was really scary

i feel like there’s this impossible expectation that in order to be a successful “”””indie”””” you need to be a beacon of constant positivity & support for your audience/ customers

Yeah absolutely that’s often how I see most popular indie dev’s first games, they are really accessable and not very personal

what are your goals as an artist?

I would say my goal is just to be able to pass by every month being able to work on video games and actually doing something that makes me happy. That may sound like a bad future to some or a bad end-goal but I honestly feel that is the most realistic thing I can aim for right now.

by pass by I mean financially

yea i definitely feel the same way. thats the dream

mhmm totally, like I cant imagine another thing I could do that would make me happy

I am currently in college but I feel like I am wasting my time every day b/c none of the classes I am taking actually help me in achieving my dream career

while if I were at home working on games I think it would actually benefit me much more

what year are you? and what are you studying?

I am only a freshman and I don’t really know exactly what I am studying haha! I am just taking my basics so far so I don’t need to decided. I may actually not book any classes next semester to work on a new game for 8 straight months and see if that can actually become a viable option. Depends on if my parents let me though heh (I still live with them)

nice. do you have plans for that game yet? both like, conceptually and how you wanna release it and stuff?

yeah I do, I have most of the mechanics planned out and I am actually starting a greenlight page for it soon. it’s a sequel/remaster of Crowtel.

HOT NEW DIGS ON THE SINKIEST GAME OF NEXT YEAR

HAHAHA! I am trying to prove that I can make a better platformer than the original crowtel

but mostly I actually really feel like that game’s idea could be super expanded upon and made better

right, sweet, now i’m really excited. expanded how (if i may ask?)

well right now I am thinking re-master the original game by re-doing some of the art, making the enemies give more feedback, and fixing all the bugs and stuff.

that makes a lot of sense. crowtel is really charming, playable, not to mention fucking hilarious. is there more personal/raw themes or goals you have for renovations?

like, the crow is obviously under a lot of stress & maybe im projecting but there’s this anxiety that runs through the game

to me it comes through in the platforming & difficulty

Thanks a lot that is very nice of you to say!! : ) yeah that actually makes sense I didn’t really design it with that in mind but it probably made it through into the gameplay subconsciously as I went though the worst year of my life so far while making it haha! -I went through a life changing illness and coming out as trans and going off to college while it was being made so it has a lot of stress connected to it when I see it. Like I remember how I felt when I made certain parts of the game.

wow yeah. that seems like a lot & i can totally appreciate that sort of relationship to a game. i kinda rely on making games as a healing process

yeah I agree, it’s a time where you have complete control over a world. it’s a releif

and similarly i’ve been working on diaries of a spaceport janitor for over a year now & it can feel like a prison sometimes. but also really liberating?? idek videogames are weird

Ah yeah absolutely, working on something for so long can really feel weird like that haha! I find it’s all dependant on what exactly you are working on whether it’s art, sounds, story, level design etc

b/c I knwo making sounds took me so long for crowtel because it felt like a prison like you said

there were so many people countin gon the game coming out soon so I had to do it even thouhg I had zero motivation at the time

how did you get through it? bc i am kinda there now a little haha

That’s a good question actually haha. I think I mostly thought about how amazing I would feel after the game was finally finished. The promise of working on something new after I finished that step. b/c I was so tired of looking at that dumb crow haha!

but at the moment of working on it I felt like garbage

what have your main influences been outside of games lately (if any)?

I would say ghibli movies (specifically Kiki’s delivery service, and Howl’s moving castle) mostly if we are talking other kinds of media. Otherwise I would say lots of carpet patterns and hallways as I think there are a ton of cool hidden things in common places that nobody really notices

I think subtle design is really cool and not appreciated enough

I can elaborate on that if it makes no sense haha

actually i once spent like 3 hours in a carpet store surropticiously taking photos for videogame inspiration. so i definitely understand that lmao

YEAH! Totally that’s exaclty what I am talking about

I take the bus to school every day and there are always really interesting seat patterns on them

finally i know this might be a hard question but what do you want your art to look like/do/say/be 5 years from now? what do you want alien conquerors from the distant future to glean from your games, plucked from the dust of our digital past?

I definitely want it to be a lot more personal and experimental, and I want to be comfortable with being able to share those personal experiences. Right now though I am trying to make accessable games because I know people will like them and I am kinda trying to make a name for myself right now. I think it would be cool for a progressive theme or story being told through all of my games from now on, showing a constant progression in all my work. Just one story that continues in all my work. That would be real neat haha

 

Download Crowtel on itch.io http://sink.itch.io/crowtel

Buy the soundtrack here https://captainbeard.bandcamp.com/album/crowtel-the-birdsongs

follow Sink on twitter: https://twitter.com/sinksadventure

Advertisements