Interview with Pontus Wittenmark

We did an interview with Pontus Wittenmark, the creator of Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack, about his game, game development and games in general. Here's what he said:

1. What were your favorite game or games when growing up?

The first game I ever saw (at my father’s workplace) was King's Quest I. Upon seeing it, I couldn’t believe anybody would choose to do anything else with their time other than to play this game.

A few years later me and my brother got a Commodore 64 which is when I really lost myself in games. Last Ninja 2 was my favorite, until I finally got a disk drive at which point Maniac Mansion probably grabbed that number 1 spot.

2. When did you start making games?

I recall making “choose your own adventure game” style games on the Commodore 64 as early as maybe a 10 or so. The theme of the game was The Simpsons – I remember drawing Marge’s hair ascii art parenthesis – good times…

3. What made you start developing games?

I think seeing the first “Meanwhile” cutscene in Maniac Mansion is what set me off – I couldn’t believe you could not only make cool action games, but also tell actual stories.

4. Why did you decide to make this particular game (Justin Wack), what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea and story?

I always wanted to do story driven games, and to an extent I felt Lucasfilm/LucasArt kind of perfected that type of storytelling back in the 90s, so obviously I was very inspired from games like Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle.

I was playing around with a bunch of ideas, but the time traveling nature of the Justin Wack story felt like the one that could result in the most interesting puzzles, so I got busy with that one (even though it clearly stood out as the least original of the ideas).

5. What are your characters based on in Justin Wack? For example real life experiences, movies etc. Who would you be in your game?

Well Justin and Kloot (the caveman) are both loosely based on myself. I guess Justin represents the more neurotic side of myself, while Kloot represents a more carefree lust-for-life. Or something along those lines – maybe I should have a psychiatrist look into it at some point…

6. Are you planning on making more games? What will your next game be about in that case?

I’m currently working on porting Justin Wack to more platforms, but yes – after that I’ll definitely plan on making more games. I have a few more or less sketched out ideas of more story-driven games, and even one more action-based – I’m looking forward to seeing in what order they pop out of me.

A big thank you to Pontus, for taking the time to answer these questions. It will be interesting to see what else he makes in the future.

If you're interested in trying Justin Wack and the Big Time Hack, you can find it here.