Interview with #IDARB Creator Mike Mika

Posted on January 12, 2015 by Tyler Nienburg

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 1. So mike what made you want to design games?
I’m a child of the 80s. I grew up at a time when there were large dedicated arcades as far as the eye could see. It’s hard to describe to people who grew up later, but that was the beginning of it all – we were seeing videogames for the first time and it was magic. I was obsessed. I was going to make games no matter what.
2. Why did you decide to make a game like IDARB?
I wanted to go back to the process of making games with my friends before it was a “job.” What would happen if I took away the deadlines, the planning, and the structure and just make a game for the sake of it and for the fun of it? Like I used to do on my old Commodore 64 computer. I really enjoy making prototypes. It was meant to be just another prototype, really.
3. How many people help work on IDARB and who are they?
At the core, it was myself and Kevin Wilson. Kevin works with me at Other Ocean. We grew up together in Michigan. His older brother is one of my best friends. It’s kind of weird to be working with a guy you remember being born and coming home for the first time just doors down the street. The rest of the crew came on in varying stages, like Jeff Nachbaur, John Mathis, Glen McKnight, Frank CIfaldi, Chris Larkin, and Ian Sherman were the next wave. Among that group we got game play feedback, the tons of characters, the videos, the trailers, the demos on the road, etc. Chris was pivotal to getting the Twitch integration in and the website. Jeff, John, and Glen did a ton of characters, teams, and production things like ESRB ratings submissions, etc. Frank is our mouthpiece! He took the game on the road and helped get the word out as well as writing a TON of the text that is in the game, most notably the single player mode. Then there is Bob Baffy, the voice and sounds of #IDARB, another childhood friend. We’ve been making games since we were teenagers in high school. One of the rotating ads in the game is “Genetic Fantasia”, which was the name of my first little game company I co-founded with Bob. By nature of the game, so many people contributed beyond that team that we have a pretty extensive credits list.
4. So most of us know how random IDARB is with the random hashtags throughout the game and live streams. Was it hard to make that happen? Why did you guys decide to do the hash bombs?
We had discussed doing something like Hashbombs in a previous game concept, one we would love to revisit, and is actually disclosed in #IDARB as Hiscore Hero. We pitched it to a few people and it just never got moving for various reasons, but we always loved the idea of it. When this game started to come together, the origins of it and the backstory were a natural fit for the Twitter integration. So we started to dabble with it and we experimented with it. I still remember when Kevin called me over to his desk to show it off. It was like he was Gandalf. We knew it was going to be something special.
5. So from what I heard your Aunt made a song for IDARB who is she?  And is there just that one song in the main menu or more?
Yeah! My aunt is a singer and songwriter in Nashville. I used to go to Tennessee in the summers and see her perform and she’d take it to the Grand Ole Opry, etc. The beauty of Facebook was at work, because she saw what we were working on and she was like “I’ll make a song for it!” and sure enough, a couple days later we had the song that plays in the attract mode. It’s so crazy becuase it’s such an odd mix of people and talent that came together. I love that I am getting videos of kids singing her song. My aunt loves it. That was the only song she contributed, the rest are Bob Baffy’s. Keep your eyes peeled for the soundtrack release here:
6. Will IDARB have add-ons? If so how often? Do you guys have more achievements planned?
Yes. As often as we can. Yes. The nature of the add-ons is still pretty speculative. We’re working on a bunch of things right now, from easier ways to share creations, to more customization options, more hasbombs, more arenas, and some new mechanics. I hope to have a decent update out in Feb/March that’s a little smaller but fixes a few things, followed by some new features in the next update that were produced from the feedback we’ve been getting.
7. Are you guys impressed by the reactions to the game?
I’m absolutely floored by them. I honestly had a conversation in December with Chris Charla at ID@XBOX where I was doubtful anyone would even like the game.
8. How long did IDARB take to develop?
It started in January, and was a night job up until around August. I’d put the kids to bed and work all night. Kevin would do the same thing. In August we started to spend more time on the game to get it in shipping shape. Throughout the year, the entire staff would throw in ideas and art, etc. We’d all rally around shows, so we’d pile on days before Game Developer Conference, E3, and PAX.
9. For us that don’t know what does #IDARB actually mean?
It means “It Draws A Red Box,” which came from the text of my first tweet about the game. I think Dean Sitton, a friend of mine, was the first to make it an acronym IIRC. We ran with it.
10.  What did you base IDARB off of?
So many things. The ideas that people were contributing seemed to be coming from the same places. Old EA sports games like NHL 94, NBA Jam, Sensible Soccer, Bomberman, Smash Bros. – it was just from everywhere at the end of the day. It should have been a total disaster, but somehow they all just came together.
11. Will we see more IDARB in the next year or so?
Definitely. We only shipped V1 from the road map. We have some pretty big plans for it. I really like the Minecraft model of updating. We’re adopting that.
Thank you for taking your time for answering these. See you on the #IDARB field
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Tyler ‘Tyboy’ Nienburg released Rectify Gaming back on December 17th, 2013.Feel free to contact the head of Rectify at