A short interview with Tom Grochowiak

I currently have a few irons in the fire. Much of what I’ve been doing the last several months revolves around the independent video game development scene. I’ve had the good fortune to play quite a few excellent games, and am writing for one now.

A lot of good stuff is coming from Poland, lately. Since I also have a linguistic background, naturally I had to check out Polish. Well, I fell in love instantly, and am currently taking a Polish class in Washington, D.C.

Tom Grochowiak, the owner of MoaCube (creators of Cinders, which I have written about previously) was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule and answer a few quick questions that I will be passing along to my Polish class. You are fortunate, blog readers, because you can see his answers too! 

For starters, how about you introduce yourself? (In Polish, of course. It’s a class so we oughta learn something!)

Nazywam się Tomek Grochowiak. Jestem twórcą gier i właścicielem małego niezależnego studia MoaCube.

(Ed.: “My name is Tomek Grochowiak. I am a game designer and owner of a small independent studio, MoaCube.”)

Alright, back to English. We aren’t that good at Polish yet…

It’s probably fair to say you and your company, MoaCube, are best known for your game Cinders. Mind telling us a bit about that?

Cinders is a modern adaptation of Cinderella, with an emphasis on shaping the story through your choices, and an active female protagonist. It’s a visual novel, so the gameplay is a lot like in those choose-your-own-adventure books. You progress through the storyline and make decisions for your character, affecting how future events will unfold.

What else do you have going on?

We’re currently working on Solstice. It’s a fantasy crime mystery set in an enclosed city in the middle of a frozen wasteland.

What’s important to know about the game development community in Poland? Do most developers work in or near a location like Warsaw, or is it more spaced out?

It’s pretty spaced out, but of course Warsaw is the biggest hub. The community is very active and tightly-knit. A warning though: Polish game developers drink a lot. 😉

So, there’s your story-oriented game Cinders, your tactical game Bonfire… and of course you aren’t the only Polish game developer. Wastelands Interactive has military simulations like Fall Weiss, Crunching Koalas has their puzzle game MouseCraft, and INTERMARUM just released the business management game Race to Mars. Clearly developers in Poland are creating a huge variety of games, but would you say there is anything “distinctly Polish” about what you ladies and gentlemen create?

It’s hard to tell. If there’s something “distinctively Polish” about the games made here, it’d probably seem natural to the point of invisibility to us. I’ve heard Western gamers say that Cinders or The Witcher has a distinctively Slavic setting and feel, though, so maybe there’s something to it.

BONUS QUESTION: Who should we be reading when we get tired of Henryk Sienkiewicz? 😉

Poland stands with great fantasy/SF writers, like Andrzej Sapkowski, Stanisław Lem or Jacek Dukaj. I also love Marek Krajewski’s crime stories. They’re very dark, though :).

Dziękuję bardzo, Tomek!