The Spot Check with Henry Sorren, Pulp Horror


For our very first Spot Check, I had the pleasure of chatting with Henry Sorren, creator of Pulp Horror: a weekly iOS Series. I asked him a few questions about what it was like being an indie game designer, while Jeff downloaded played one of Henry's games: Efec and Death (Link after Review).

The Game: Efec and Death

In a world where we are constantly pierced by information on the end of stimuli's razor, is stepping into the twilight zone a valuable reprieve for sanity? IOS Game Designer Henry Sorren opens that door with Efec and Death, the latest entry in his weekly Pulp Horror Series, and asks your mind to venture through to a place it may be reluctant to journey.

Efec is a vampire, risen from stasis by a cloaked figure, into a dark dimension dominated by shadows, to chase Death. Further twisted irony is that Efec must feed, and this search for sangre will lead the player (first-person) through a leaden outworld where the vampire's bloodlust renders inanimate objects such as rocks and webs fittingly chromatic. The absurdist visuals are fascinating, and when paired with the Ave Maria soundtrack hauntingly familiar to fans of the Hitman video game series, as well as the painful screeching of hidden demons, the player is immersed deep in the wanderings of the undead.

The controls themselves are a little difficult to master, with only simple move and turn options on the touch screen, which make it difficult to navigate the shadows of  a frightening forest or subterranean cave. 

To Add atmosphere, uncomfortable buzzing sound effects further distort the senses submerging you deeper into the hallucination. Without giving too much away about the story, the horrific entities and disturbingly poetic tomes Efec encounters on his quest truly belong in this dream, but you know that eyes watch from the darkness...

This is not a typical IOS game where candy is crushed and colourful birds are launched, it is a journey into distortion, perhaps even akin to finding a way through the shadows of one's own mind. We at Jade love when broad philosophical concepts merge with gameplay- spinning Plato's allegory of the cave to seek death in the inner sanctums vs life outside as only one example. Such a bizarre parallel can only be art.

What emotions could be evoked from experiencing the world through the senses of that which should be empty inside? Not all those who wander are lost.

If you are interested in downloading Efec and Death or checking out any of things else in the Pulp Horror, you can check them out here:

The Designer: Henry Sorren

1.What's your name, and where are you from?
I'm Henry Sorren, 19 years old born and raised in Arizona. At the moment I live in Taipei, Taiwan, where the rent and food prices are cheap enough to give an indie developer a chance. The money it would cost to live a year in America would give me about 5 years here, giving me time and an opportunity to build my game portfolio and develop my craft. The only downsides are the cockroaches and the temperature (often 90+ °F) But after awhile you'll get over it. Hopefully.

2.What got you into programming?
I first started programming four days before I left to study abroad for 4 months. I downloaded Unity and began making my first game, "Tasukeru". It was really just something to do for fun, to pass the time before my trip. I soon realized that if you pay $400 dollars (the majority of my savings for the trip), I could get a license to put the game on the Appstore, and since I already had a developer account with Apple, I decided, why not? I'm not even sure if I realized what I was doing at the time, spending almost all my savings for abroad to buy a license I could only use for 2 more days, since I wasn't bringing my computer with me. But for whatever reason I ignored any reason it could backfire, bought the license and submitted my game for review. It was my first game, and could have easily been rejected for any number of mistakes, glitches or errors, but by some stroke of luck, 3 days after being in Europe, my game was approved. My game was the first Slenderman style horror game on the Appstore, it filled a gap that for another month would not be filled, so my sales soared and I quickly made back my $400 dollar investment and then some. Because of this success my eyes were open to the fun, excitement and possibilities that were in game development. I was burning to get home and build my indie company.

3.Why Pulp Horror?
Pulp Horror comes from the pulp fiction novels you see in the checkout line in the grocery store. These books are printed on cheaper paper (extra pulp) and written not with a goal of perfection, but entertainment. I wanted to create a horror series that wouldn't become known for it's amazing graphics or inventive technological breakthroughs, but rather for its insane stories, and ideas.
Pulp Horror is a weekly iOS series that aims to blow your mind and make you think. Think Twilight Zone; the possibilities for stories, worlds, characters are endless. One week you might be shooting Cute Zombies, and the next week you'll be wandering through an abandoned mansion, or befriending a century old demon. I simply want to create weekly thought-provoking games that often scare the s**t out of you. Hence Pulp Horror.

4.What's the biggest challenge you've faced?
So far the biggest challenge is being patient. I have already released 7 games from the series, but so far only crickets. It will take some time to build momentum and an audience for this, but sometimes it's difficult to continue designing weekly games when you aren't turning a profit. But I have no intention to stop anytime soon, in fact I am developing more than ever now.

5.What game do you have in the works now?
Right now I am developing a game about a young girl, probably 5 years old that gets lost in a jungle. She nearly gets killed by a tiger but is saved by this ferocious and huge snake. Essentially the snake poisons the mind of the girl she becomes more like the beast, but I don't want to give too much away at the moment, the picture below was my inspiration for the story. Really gives me the creeps, its not something you expect to see.

-Here is the design I made for the young girl in my game, using Cinema 4D and Z-Brush:
#littlegirl model for new game :) #indiedev #iosdev #gamedev #retrogaming #girl #anime #animegirl #ghibli #studioghibli #japanese

I always have about 3-5 games in production at any given time, each game has a totally different feeling and user experience so depending on my personal mood I will rotate work between the games as I want to. It's a very rewarding process because I never feel tired of working on the games, if I begin to feel bored or need a break I can simply start work on a another. A weekly horror series was a difficult task to undertake, luckily I have a few weeks worth of games backlogged to keep me from losing my momentum. Keep an eye out for this game and many others coming soon. 

Spot Check

1. favourite game: LA Noire
2. most over rated game:
Angry Birds
3. favourite meme:

4. if you were any game character who would you be: Crash Bandicoot!
5. best alignment:
Neutral Evil
6. magic or melee:
7. old school or new school:
No school like the old school
8. Sci-fi or Fantasy:
9.most epic win:
Beating Bugdom with my dad and my sister when I was 8. A classic family moment.
10. In a battle for middle earth where would you be:
Chilling in the Shire

Thanks Henry! Keep on designing your fantastic games, we look forward to seeing what you come up with next, and as always Happy Gaming!

The Spot Check with Henry Sorren, Pulp Horror The Spot Check with Henry Sorren, Pulp Horror Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 7/28/2014 03:09:00 pm Rating: 5

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