This is the Only Interview
This week on the Armorblog we bring you the excitement and mystery behind the Man known as JMTB02!
Hi, could you first introduce yourself to those who don’t know you?
Of course, my name is John Cooney, I am Head of Game Development at Armor Games. I’ve been producing games for the past few years and I’m the author of series such as Ball Revamped, Four Second series, Elephant games, Dark Cut series, etc.
What led to your interest and involvement in Flash game development?
Like any kid I loved video games, but moreso I loved the idea of challenging people. Flash was accessible when I started thinking about game development so I sunk my teeth into it. At the time I was actually interested in becoming an animator, I loved making animations in Flash and was thinking about continuing that into a future career. But dabbling in a few games I realized that I wanted to go that direction instead.
When did you begin working for Armor Games?
I started working for Armor back in 2004-2005 when Armor sponsored Ball Revamped 3. Ball Revamped was my first popular game on the web and that was enough to get sponsorships for sequels.
What were you doing prior to moving to Southern California? Was it difficult to move and begin working far from home?
I was a college student at the University of California, Davis, working on my Bachelor of Arts in Technocultural Studies. Once I graduated the “what next?” question popped up and it seemed obvious to continue doing game development. Moving is always difficult, I was moving from Northern California which is 450 miles away. It was a difficult move because I had to leave my then-girlfriend behind in Davis while she finished up her degree, but we managed to survive the long distance for the next few years and we’re now happily married!
How do you like working for Armor Games? What is your favorite thing about it?
I love working at Armor Games. Easily the best part of working here is the casual attitude and supportive environment. We’re not a stiff-backed company full of bureaucracy, we’re a small game company who loves making games and doing interesting things within Flash gaming. And the snack food is good.
You have created many characters for your games. Which is your favorite?
I’m really in love with my little Blue Elephant. He’s so much fun to work with and being only a few pixels tall he hits easily into overhead compartments.
Out of all the animals you could have chosen to launch, how did you decide on the Hedgehog?
It was an internet argument, the best form of argument. In an argument with Kongregate’s Director of Games, Greg supported the idea that Sugar Gliders (little flying creatures) were far superior to Hedgehogs. His primary argument was that the flying ability of sugar gliders trumped any quality of hedgehog. So I decided to make a hedgehog fly, and one better, made it a Flash game called Hedgehog Launch.
Which game did you have the most fun working on? What made it such a great project?
Llama Adventure, easily. It is a text-based adventure and it is goofy and fun. I love writing and I had the opportunity to write nearly 25-30 pages for this game. Not the most popular game by any means, but it was incredibly fun to make.
Which of your games would you say has been the most successful so far? What do you think attributed to it’s success?
Success is such a subjective topic, but in my case I would have to say that Achievement Unlocked was my most successful project. On all levels it was fun to make and even more fun to see people play. It by no means gained the most hits but I think it stirred the pot much more than my other projects.
Do you have any games in the works or planned for the future?
I am working on I Hate Traffic and Elephant Rave HD. I Hate Traffic is a smash-em’ up car game in line with I Love Traffic, and Elephant Rave HD is a pet project to get the original up to full-size.
Currently, what is your favorite console game? Favorite Flash game? Favorite board game? When was the last time you played a board game?
Favorite console game is easily Super Mario Bros 2. See any of my previous rants for that subject. My favorite Flash game is currently is a toss-up between a few, Desktop Tower Defense, Transmigration, and a few others. Board game? I love Settlers of Catan and Scrabble, I played Scrabble just earlier this week!
When you are not developing Flash games, what are some things you like to do for fun?
I love photography and have been doing that for over a year now. It’s fun to get out and do some hiking and photography together to get exercise and creativity flowing. I also love running and biking, especially when working towards events. Otherwise I’m a pretty big gamer and enjoy watching ice hockey as well.
You go by the name Jmtb02. Is that cryptic code or does it have a hidden meaning?
Not really, it stands for John MounTain Bike 2002. When I was younger I made a screen name in 2002 for my hobby at the time, and it sort of stuck once I started using it as my login on various Flash sites. I used to keep it secret to keep people guessing.
Throughout your most recent games you’ve hidden random numbers. Are we ever going to find out what those mean?
What hidden numbers ;)?