GN: I'm sure you've been asked this before, but I've always wondered... Why the decision to release Alien Hominid (the full game) for consoles first instead of PC? It came off as a really risky move, and the profit margins are so much lower.
Tom: It wasn't really about profit margins at the time, it was all about the dream of making a console game and seeing it on the store shelves in a nice little box. The whole time we were making it, I always said, "I don't care if I never see a dime. I just want to see this on a store shelf." Of course, now that I've gotten that out of my system, I'm hoping we can have a profitable business around this stuff.
GN: Stylistically it came off to me as 100% arcade, really. I don't think it was "console" or "PC" styled.
Tom: Yeah, it definitely had a lot of arcade sensibilities. Not to mention it was heavily inspired by Metal Slug, an arcade game. Although the true inspiration was really Gunstar Heroes, a Genesis game.
GN: Ah. Yes, my love for Treasure's games is no secret. I dare say I'm a tad obsessed.
Tom: I worship Treasure, they make such great stuff. Radiant Silvergun and Guardian Heroes for the Saturn were two more of my favorites.
GN: No arguments there. But yeah, I get the vibe that arcade gaming has been a big influence on you. It seems odd to me that Newgrounds and flash gaming in general has proven people really do like to play these instant gratification games. Why do you think arcades are having so much trouble getting people to pay a quarter for the privilege?
Tom: Arcades weren't able to keep up with home consoles and the web. The home games look better than a majority of the arcade games nowadays. When I was a kid, I wanted to get dropped off at the arcade because the games were so much more amazing than what I could play at home. Nowadays, a kid can stay home and play Xbox 360
GN: You think it's just a technology thing?
Tom: I wouldn't credit it 100% to technology, but that is a big part for me. I would still go to the arcade if I knew the games were years ahead than what I could play at home. But when I think of an arcade now, I don't think of the latest, hottest games. Except for those driving simulators that feel like you're really in a car; those rock. Even if the arcade had something like Alien Hominid, I would expect to just play it at home.
GN: People want a lot for 25 cents, I suppose. Do you think that fundamentally arcade-born genres are going to seem obsolete to gamers that don't remember plunking quarters into Street Fighter II or Raiden?
Tom: I don't think they will be obsolete. They may be considered more of a budget sort of game, though. For example, someone might not pay $50 for a new top-down Raiden, but they would pay something to have a new Raiden on Xbox 360 Live Arcade. Or they would play a new Raiden on the web and pay for a full version. A lot of people don't want to make time for a $50 game. I love getting a quick fix that doesn't demand hours of my time.