Games have been so intense lately, but what about when you’re just hanging with your pals? Since we’ve been loving on the intensely fun party titles that Jackbox Games has been coming out with, I thought I’d sit down with my pal Senior Software Engineer, Ben Jacobs and talk Jackbox Games and the future.
Candice: Since we’re all very fond of the Jackbox Games — which ones did you work on?
Ben: My first project here was You Don’t Know Jack Social for iOS. Everybody here kind of gets their hands dirty in every project, but I worked a lot on Fibbage, Quiplash, Drawful, Trivia Murder Party, and Bidiots.
Candice: Which game holds a fond place in your heart?
Ben: Bidiots. I don’t know if people played it enough to get the strategy aspects of it, and some of the bizarre Easter eggs we hid in there.
Candice: We’re all big fans of Cookie Masterson, what job do you think he’d do if he wasn’t a game show host?
Ben: Is sitting alone in the dark eating potato chips and petting your cats a job?
Candice: What are some game ideas you guys have been noodling around?
Ben: OK, prepare yourself : VR sushi rolling.
Candice: Which game gave you guys the most difficulty when developing?
Ben: Trivia Murder Party was an enormous game that I don’t think anybody on the team truly appreciated the scope of until we were so far into it we couldn’t back out. Fakin’ It might be the longest running labor of love we’ve done. We prototyped it before Fibbage even came out, and then it took 3 years for us to finally get it right. Credit Mike Zuba, Dave Innis and Arnie Niekamp for keeping the dream alive for a long time.
Candice: When not testing your own games, what are you playing a lot of?
Ben: Overwatch, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Let it Die, and I just accidentally bought that Kingdom Hearts collection, so maybe I’ll be able to understand the story this time.
Candice: What brought you to want to work with Jackbox?
Ben: Like most of the folks here, it was because I loved You Don’t Know Jack. However, I think the small, focused team drew me in. It’s incredible to be able to work with awesome people who all get to affect a project in their own unique ways.
Candice: If you could relay a message to young people looking to get into game dev and coding, what advice would you give?
Ben: 1. Make games. All the time.
I think they tell young writers to just always be writing, and I tell any young game developers to just be constantly working their craft. We live in a time where anybody with a laptop can make a game with very intuitive tools. There are no excuses any more.
2. Make weird stuff. Any nugget of an idea, play around with it. That’s how innovation happens.
3. Pick the discipline that interests you most and get really good at it. Most developers don’t want a person who is pretty good at art, pretty good at design, and pretty good at programming. They want a team of a fantastic artist, programmer and designer.
4. Iterate. Don’t just throw away an idea after the first road block. Be able to morph gameplay, and respond to feedback with reasonable changes. Back up old versions of projects so you can show how a project changed over time. That’s very compelling stuff for hiring folks.
Candice: Plug any upcoming projects and such that you guys have in the works!
Ben: Buy The Jackbox Party Pack 3! Coming soon to Nintendo Switch!