My hobby is to create classic-like video games for playing today
I grew up in the Spain of the 80s, dreaming of mythological heroes, spaceships and giant monsters. Back the day it was common to find arcade cabinets in bars and restaurants, and I was fascinated with them: their colors, their sounds and their frantic adventures. But the family economy was not good enough for the kid to waste coins into machines, so I used to spend my time watching others play and, without realizing it, I spent years studying the graphics, mechanics and level design of those games.
Of course I dreamed of creating my own titles, but the dream seemed too big…
As an adult I found myself stuck in an oppressive and gray routine, but I got tired of the situation and decided to use the nights to achieve my childhood dream. At that time the arcades of my youth were considered dead, so I took a skull as a logo and a story from those years as a name, and I started experimenting with my favorite things from the old days: pixel art, chip tunes and intense action.
My project as Locomalito is to create new classic video games, digging into abandoned genres and styles, working over a low flame, without pressure or deadlines, with my own resources and in my spare time.
Ten years have passed since I published my first title, but here I am, making games in the same way for reasons that not everyone would understand. The fact is that with a collection of published games, anecdotes of all kinds and wonderful people around, this small project has become so big that I no longer know how to live without it.
My work routine
I design my games in a notebook that I keep on my bedside table. I draw sketches, point out ideas and make daily plans in it every night before turning off the light. In the evenings, at the end of my working day and my family life, instead of watching television or reading a book, I sit down at the computer to implement some of the things I left in the notebook the night before.
I try to develop something every day, either drawing a sprite, coding an action or assembling part of a map. When a game has enough content ready, I start playing routinely, taking notes to fix things here and there, polishing and balancing everything until the game feels right as a whole thing. It's a slow, almost artisan process, which I call WIPping.
I use GameMaker since it's early versions to create my games. It is a friendly tool and one in which I have been digging for years. For graphics I use a little Windows XP icon editor called Iconomaker that accidentally fits my needs like a glove.
Not a lone wolf
Despite what it seems, I'm not a lone wolf. My brothers in arms are Gryzor87, a close friend and a talented composer who I really admire and Marek Barej, who illustrates the covers of many of my games.
For a couple of years now, the people of Abylight Studios have been working hard to publish my games on consoles and commercial platforms, something that is out of my reach alone.
But none of this would be possible without my family and all the people who support my games. Of course, the future of this project is always uncertain… But who cares? It's fun so far ;-)
The philosophy behind my games
Classic style. There are as many ways to style a video game as artistic expressions, but only one of them can be considered the folk of video games. Pixel art and chip sounds are no longer a technical limitation, but an artistic choice as valid as oil painting or acoustic guitar.
Secrets and rewards. Hidden stages, special objects, Easter eggs and bonuses are always there for the experienced, curious and crazy players. So open your eyes and try things while playing.
Single difficulty. Difficulty is part of a game's personality, like the script in a movie. There are no difficulty options in my games, just the one I carefully crafted for each level and situation.
Direct to the point. My intention is to offer the biggest amount of content in the shortest possible game length, and the only way to achieve this is by launching something new to the screen every few seconds, avoiding repetitive or meaningless content.
Extras. A video game is more than a piece of software. Looking at a cover, reading a manual or touching the details of an arcade cabinet are also part of the experience. You will always find extra material next to my games.
Tributes. I learned a lot by styuding the work of legendary creators, so everytime a project allows me to do it, I create a little homage to praise them and their work. I'm never shy about crediting my masters.