South Brooklyn couple has hit with new fungus-based video game - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Oct. 21, 2015 12:59 pm

South Brooklyn couple has hit with new fungus-based video game

Untame's “Mushroom 11” is being met with rave reviews. We recently sat down with its creators and confessed our love for mycelium.
“Mushroom 11 is the most unique game I’ve played in quite a while,” Ars Technica raves.

"Mushroom 11 is the most unique game I've played in quite a while," Ars Technica raves.

(Courtesy photo)

The new release from Brooklyn-based indie game developer Untame has been quite a hit.

Mushroom 11, is a game set in a post-apocalyptic world, where fungi have taken over. It went on sale last week to rave reviews.

  • A headline from Kotaku read, “Mushroom 11 Is the Weirdest, Coolest Platformer I’ve Ever Played.”
  • Ars Technica said, “Mushroom 11 is the most unique game I’ve played in quite a while, and it’ll be great for people who want something different.”
  • We said in February, “You haven’t played a game like Untame’s sophomore effort, Mushroom 11. We are very confident of this.”

You can download the game here.

We talked to the people who know most about the game in the world: its creators. Meet Julia Keren-Detar and Itay Keren of Untame.

The Mushroom 11 team, left to right: Itay Keren, Julia Keren-Detar, Simon Kono and Kara Kono.

The Mushroom 11 team. (Courtesy photo)

Q: The game has done quite well. What did you make of the reaction?

Julia: Everything is sort of a blur for us cause we’re kind of in the middle of it. It’s been really great, with all the reviews coming out and people liking the game it’s been really exciting.

Q: How did you get the idea for the game?

Julia: It came out of something called the Global Game Jam, which is when you have to make a game in 48 hours based on a theme. The theme was a snake eating its tail. Itay came up with this idea pretty quickly actually. After 20 hours we had the basis of this game. People said it’s really fun and it plays really well and we decided to keep working on it.

Itay: What we saw there was a platform for a protagonist where instead of moving directly, it moves by destroying pieces of itself. So you have this different kind of mobility.

Q: What is your work process like? Where do you work?

Julia: Mostly from home but we do have a coffee shop. There’s a group of other indie developers and we sometimes meet up at park slope area. But mostly it’s just working from home or working from a coffee shop.

Q: Is it hard working with your spouse?

Julia: [Laughs.] Our game is interesting because there’s another married couple on the team. It’s definitely  interesting but the arrangement works out nice because you’re only really managing two households. One can go out and do contract work or part-time work while the other works on the game.

Check out this fungus.

Check out this fungus. (Courtesy GIF)

Q: Are you interested in fungus? (Full disclosure: I am interested in fungus.)

Julia: It’s something that came out of the prototype. We came up with the idea that it should be a mushroom which led to so much discovery of mycelium. A lot of the research came out of it, I learned so much about what mushrooms can do. We were really inspired by Paul Stamets who has a TED Talk about how mushrooms could save the world

Itay: One of the things we were particularly proud of was we spent a lot of time researching this after we decided on it. A lot of the story is told through images and writing on the wall. We took a lot of time and asked a few scientists to help us to make sure all the information was sound and actually created a theory of how the story would work in the game. I don’t want to spoil the game but there’s no dialogue boxes. All there is are sporadic random events that you see on the walls and posters and formulas. Giving away what we envisioned could ruin the experience of playing it for people. There’s a lot of cross references between places in the game. We built this intricate system that is really never pushed on anyone.

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