Updated: Nov 6, 2022
Daryl, you’ve been designing games for quite a long time now, with many titles to your name. Your games cross different kinds of styles and mechanics. Can you tell us your thought process through your different types of games?
For me it always starts with an interesting mechanic combined with an interesting theme. I’m constantly thinking of new mechanics, and it is easy to think of functional mechanics that work well in isolation. But it only really becomes a game when these game mechanics pair with a meaningful theme. You can easily tell when a theme is pasted on, or worse, when mechanics are ill-fitting. When great mechanics correspond to a great theme or story, that’s when you know you have a great game.
Let’s tie that in with the newest game Origame has published. Were there other word games that inspired the design of Alphabeasts Attack! and how did you land at its final iteration?
When we first started Origame back in 2019, we had planned to publish a word game called Alphabet Soup, which had a similar mechanic to Alphabeasts Attack! However, there were a few aspects of the game that I didn’t fully like, so we shelved it indefinitely. I personally really enjoy word games and I’m always thinking of how to create new ones, so I tinkered with the core mechanic of Alphabet Soup with a co-operative framework, giving us Alphabeasts Attack! I think that co-operative word games are such a good idea because one of the drawbacks of word games is that the player with the best vocabulary usually wins, which means the game usually doesn’t have much tension and players with weaker vocabularies don’t have the most pleasant gaming experience. In a co-operative game, you are only as strong as your weakest link, so everyone has to help each other and pull their own weight.
Alphabeasts Attack! will be the first word game under Origame. The previous games have a distinctive Asian feel. Can you share with us how you think it fits into the Origame niche?
Thematically it doesn’t fit in with the other Asian games, and truthfully it would be a huge stretch to force-fit an Asian theme on Alphabeasts Attack! (although the illustrators involved are both Singaporean)! However, more important for us at Origame, is making games that families young and old can enjoy, and Alphabeasts Attack! fits this mould perfectly. Alphabeasts Attack! is a highly customisable family game for all ages. And, it has all of the hallmarks of a great Origame game - engaging illustrations, interesting mechanics, and sleek and fun gameplay.
What do you think sets Alphabeasts Attack! apart from others in the Origame catalogue?
Alphabeasts Attack! doesn’t have an Asian theme or backstory, and because it is a word game it provides a very different challenge from the usual strategic thinking that our other titles require. Another thing that makes it stand out is that it is a completely co-operative game. All players need to work together to beat the game, whereas our other Origame titles have been intentionally designed as competitive games, though we did introduce a co-operative mode in our previous release, Rainforest City.
For families looking to play Alphabeasts Attack!, what do you think are the most important skills we can cultivate when playing word games?
I think approaching language as something that is fun and enjoyable is probably the most important life skill that both children and adults should pick up. Games are the best way to do this! Once you stop seeing language solely as a tool, or worse, as an academic means (of torture), anxiety of language and letters drops and we can really start to appreciate the limitless potential it offers us.