Demon Hunter: Michael Wenman

Demon Hunter is where we grill a NaGa DeMon participant about games, their goals for November, and more. Read on to meet today’s Demon Hunter, Michael Wenman!

Hi Michael! Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I’m Michael Wenman. Those in the game design world might have heard of me as the principle designer, artist and publisher at Vulpinoid Studios. Here we’ve released a few games, such as the time-travelling pirate adventure “The Eighth Sea”, the freewheeling Dada-inspired “FUBAR”, and the single player iterative game “Spider’s Dance”.  Beyond this, I’ve started producing freelance artwork for a few other publishers, while I’m not earning money taste-testing wine and spirits or designing websites, I study fine arts.

Which games impress you and why?

I really enjoy games that make players explore alternatives and make tough decisions. With this in mind, I’m impressed by games where the mechanisms of play either fall into the background or act as a conduit to entice players deeper into the world. If I have to disrupt the flow of play to go looking through a rulebook, then that’s a failure.

I’m also impressed by the games played on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop. While some impress me more than others, they remain consistently playable while pushing the envelope in one direction or another. I’ve been inspired to buy quite a few games via this show.

How are you participating in NaGa DeMon this year?

In 2010 I wrote a game called Walkabout. It was in a genre that could be called “Shaman-Punk”, a post-apocalyptic setting where spirits and gods have returned to a shattered Earth, it’s basically a fusion of Mad Max, Tank Girl and a Studio Ghibli anime film (eg. Spirited Away/Princess Mononoke). The survivors and the spirits of this setting are out of balance, and it is up to the players to discover the source of problems before restoring the balance to the world. This is a game about relationships first and foremost, relationships to specific people, to cultures, and to your ideals.

It’s been sitting in the back of my mind as a game that I’d like to refine, and all year I’ve been blogging about how I’d fix it up. NaGa DeMon seemed the perfect opportunity to get those thoughts in order and write up a second edition of the game; one that I can use crowd-funding to publish at a more professional level than anything previously done by Vulpinoid Studios.

What are you expecting to be a challenge over November?

This year I’ve taken some time off work and have been studying fine arts. November is the end of the year for my studies; so I’ve got two sculptures, a painting and two series of prints to produce, in addition to my game design work. The challenge is going to be fitting everything in.

What are you looking forward to over November?

I love being a part of contests and game design initiatives like NaGa DeMon because you can be assured that someone is going to create something brilliant, or at least something out of left field. Sometimes you get a first insight into a potential game changer for the hobby.

Who would you most like to play a game with?

I’d love to play a game with Wil Wheaton, especially on his Tabletop Web TV series. I’d love to play one of my games on tabletop. I’ve become addicted to that show, have downloaded every episode and burnt them to DVD to show others. I figure it’s the closest we’ve got to a “gaming big leagues” at the moment.

Thanks for participating!

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