Interview Jay Tholen, Creator of Dropsy – A Creepily Charming Indie Game

Jay Tholen gives us some insight into the grotesque, malformed but apparently misunderstood story of the cheerful clown Dropsy

The main character, Dropsy, kind of freaked me out when I first saw him. He’s (in my mind) the quintessential scary clown figure, playing havoc with my dreams. However, according to the creator Jay Tholen, Dropsy is a happy game. Saying that he’s “been working with Dropsy so long, it’s hard for me to see him as anything but adorable.”

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I’m not sure if that makes it all the more scary for me, but I’ll take it.

There’s clearly a unique charm to Dropsy, with the cheerful use of images to convey text and the seemingly vibrant world. Perhaps it isn’t destined to leave me shaking in my bed at midnight—ironic as it is that Dropsy was successfully funded on Halloween.

Jay’s role in the creative process behind Dropsy is “Lead designer, artist and co-composer”, he resides in Central Florida and has been “making little games” since he found “Klik & Play as a young lad.” He notes that “Justin Warnes is the programmer for the project, and we’re bringing on an animator and additional composer to round the team out.”

“Dropsy is an open word adventure game with an emphasis on exploration and discovery. While it still resembles classic point-and-click games mechanically, the challenge lies in exploring and understanding the gameworld to its fullest extent.”

Dropsy may have all the charm in the world, but it also seems to have some solid, long-lasting gameplay and replay value.

“After obtaining clues through environmental details, NPC interaction and simple puzzles, the player’s perspective of the gameworld shifts. This allows you to revisit areas or characters you’ve encountered in the past, and use that new information to interact with them differently—pushing the plot forward.”

Dropsy is the adventure game I’ve always wanted to play. Creating a new world for people to explore is also incredibly exciting to me. There are so many little nuances, and I can’t wait for people to discover them.

The apparent—obvious even—creativity behind Dropsy was what drew me in; the vibrant colours got me wondering what it was all about and who was behind it. Often times, this is the case with indie titles. The ability to let your creativity flow is what produces hit titles like Fez and Braid. When I asked Jay what made him decide to make Dropsy, he said he…

“…felt that Dropsy is the adventure game I’ve always wanted to play. Creating a new world for people to explore is also incredibly exciting to me. There are so many little nuances, and I can’t wait for people to discover them.”

Could we ask for a better reason? 

Dropsy reached its goal of $14,000, and will now be released on Windows, Mac and Linux. When asking whether Dropsy will ever reach consoles,

“Maybe! It’s not accounted for in the current budget or plan, but I’d love to eventually bring the game to as many platforms as possible.”

I also inquired about a possible release date for Dropsy, it looks like…

“If… two stretch goals to add an extra Composer and Animator to the team are met, we will be playing dropsy in October of 2014.”

If you are backing the project, however,

“you’ll be getting the game earlier; and even earlier if you’re a beta tester. If we don’t reach those stretch goals then Dropsy will be released in early 2015.”

Getting Dropsy to this point hasn’t been without issues.

Jay initially funded Dropsy in 2011, raising $1,613. He came back earlier this year with the aim of raising $25,000, but sadly the funding was unsuccessful. When I asked if he had ever considered quitting development, especially after the Kickstarter in June of this year, Jay said,

“Not with Dropsy! Even after our unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign over the summer, I knew I’d still be finishing the game—even if it took years.”

Dropsy is definitely a game everyone will be keeping their eyes on; it looks wonderfully charismatic, charming and totally worth your time. Don’t let the grotesque appearance of Dropsy scare you. Inside he’s an adorable and loveable character. With innovative puzzles and design to boot, you won’t want to miss out on Jay Tholen’s indie title Dropsy.

You can keep up with all the latest on the Kickstarter page, as well as pledging and sharing to help push the development on to its last stages.

@thetommyroberts 


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Author
Tommy Roberts
Tommy Roberts is a UK based freelance writer for hire.