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Road To The IGF: Dan Paladin (Dad 'N Me)

In this latest 'Road To The IGF' interview, Gamasutra chats to artist and Alien Hominid co-creator Dan Paladin about his 2006 Best Web Browser Game finalist, the distinctly twisted Dad 'N Me.

Simon Carless, Blogger

January 11, 2006

4 Min Read


Over the next few weeks, Gamasutra will be presenting a regular 'Road To The IGF' feature, profiling and interviewing each of the finalists in the 2006 Independent Games Festival main competition. Today's interview is with Dan Paladin, perhaps best known as the artist behind 2005 IGF multi-award winner Alien Hominid, but also the co-developer of 2006 Best Web Browser Game finalist Dad 'N Me.

Paladin created Dad 'N Me alongside programer Tom Fulp, another co-founder at Alien Hominid developer The Behemoth, and the founder of the Newgrounds website. As the official explanation for this eye-opening free indie Flash game explains:

"Bully your way across the playground and through town in this classic 2D brawler where YOU'RE the bad guy! Throw kids into traffic, blow them up with propane or just throw a lawnmower at them. The world is yours for the taking! "

Paladin sat down with Gamasutra to answer some of our questions about this distinctly different Flash game:

GS: Tell us a bit about your background in the game industry, when your developer was founded, your location, your previously developed games?

DP: I have worked as a professional developer since February 2001. I prefer independent games because they are less restrictive and more immersive in the creation process overall. I have worked on Whacked!, Soldier of Fortune 2, Alien Hominid, and currently working on a game for The Behemoth (which I helped found).

GS: Tell us a little about your game - genre, how long it took to make, what it was inspired by, why you wanted to make it?

DP: This game was inspired by our original web-game, Chainsaw the Children. We thought it would be fun to explore the world of the chainsawer and give him a family - give him strong family values that don't extend anything having to do with manners into the real world. His child has been taught the same thing, and acts upon it when dropped off at the park by Dad.

GS: What do you think of the state of independent development? Improving? Changing for the worse or the better?

DP: My thoughts remain the same since last year's IGF. We need a stronger community that is less bent on competing, and more bent on helping each other with information or anything else.


GS: What do you think of the concept of indie games on consoles such as the Xbox 360 (for digital download) or on digital distribution services like Steam? Is that a better distribution method than physical CDs or downloads via a website/portal?

DP: I think that digital distribution is great and I use it myself. It's perfect for impulse buys, because it lands right in your system as soon as you make your decision. It's robably a bad idea for people addicted to purchasing videogames when they first come out, but a good idea overall.

GS: Have you checked out any of the other IGF games? Which ones are you particularly impressed with, and why?

DP: Unfortunately I haven't been able to check out any other games other than Darwinia. I thought it was quite interesting, but haven't played long enough to give any kind of warranted remark.

GS: What recent indie games do you admire, and what recent mainstream console/PC games do you admire, and why?

DP: I kind of like how Battlefield 1942 was so good that it ended up having a (non-indie) spinoff, Battlefield 2. Both of which I enjoy very much! Both worlds can be good!

GS: Do you have any messages for your fellow contestants or fans of the IGF?

DP: To the contestants: Good luck and have fun! This is a great opportunity to get noticed, regardless of the outcome. To the fans: thank you for helping the indie scene stay alive!!


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About the Author(s)

Simon Carless


Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.

He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.

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