The Gameological Questionnaire

Adam Heart

Adam Heart, creator, Divekick

The developer of a satirical fighting game prefers tacos to booze.

By Matt Gerardi • June 12, 2013

Last week, we asked Gameological readers to submit questions that we could pose to developers on the E3 2013 show floor. We picked five of our favorites; those questions constitute The Gameological Questionnaire.

Divekick, due out sometime this summer, is a celebration and satire of the world of competitive fighting games, lampooning prominent figures and trends from the community. It began life as a side-project for Adam “Keits” Heart, a well-known Street Fighter player and the former editor-in-chief of Shoryuken, a leading fighting game site. I found him demoing his wares at Sony’s E3 booth and got his answers to The Gameological Questionnaire.

[I mention “Fraud Detection” in the interview, so I ought to explain what that means. Divekick matches are best-of-nine rounds. If a player loses four fights in a row, the game issues a “Fraud Detection Warning”—essentially accusing the hapless loser of being a fraud. If the suspected fraud loses again, the message “Fraud Detected” appears on the screen.]

The Gameological Society: If Divekick had a super-deluxe edition that cost $1,000, what would you put in the box?

Adam Heart: It comes with several things. Number one, it comes with a 3D printer so that every trophy or achievement you earn in game prints out physically for your to keep. And you can paint it yourself. It’s very cool. The other thing it has is a taco dispenser. It’s a new technology, but it rewards you for your victories with a taco. Which you can then eat.

Gameological: Do you get anything special for “fraud detection”?

Heart: Two tacos. It’s proprietary technology. It’s very, very good.

Gameological: Anything else?

Heart: Probably a back massager and some sort of heart rate monitor to make sure you’re not overly stressed, because it’s a very stressful game.

Gameological: There are new consoles coming out. In terms of game design, what kind of exciting things are on the horizon that you couldn’t do before?

Heart: I don’t know. As a designer, personally, I tend to design very focused multiplayer experiences that are not big on the tech end. I’m not looking to redefine the wheel. I’m just looking to make the shape better. Yes, the new generation excites me, but as a gamer, not as a designer. I’m not the type of designer that’s ever really going to take advantage of that type of thing, I think.

Gameological: If an alien species discovered your game as the last remnant of humanity, what would they learn about us?

Heart: They would learn that we respect each other, and we learn to respect each other through combat. And we only use our feet.

Gameological: Except when you have shoes on your hands.

Heart: God forbid they play story mode in the game. They’re going to think we’re the worst. The story mode is funny. It’s kind of out there. It’s mean to some of the characters.

Gameological: You just put in [fighting-game community mainstay] Seth Killian, right?

Heart: Yes. Codename: “S-Kill.” You know his story?

Gameological: No.

Heart: Okay. So imagine we’re living in a world where a shadowy, evil organization behind the scenes is trying to rebalance everything so that they can repackage and resell it again. And S-Kill is their leader. They’ve failed to rebalance professional divekicking, so he’s come out to do it himself. He has to rebalance, repackage it, and sell it again. That’s his mission.

Gameological: That’s not a reference to anything in particular, is it?

Heart: Nope! A hundred percent original.

Gameological: What wine pairs best with your game?

Heart: I’m not a drinker, so I don’t know. I’ll go with a non-alcoholic wine. So, grape juice.

Gameological: Then let’s change the question. What kind of taco pairs best with your game?

Heart: Just meat and cheese. Bare essentials. Not the extras that you don’t need. Not sour cream. You don’t need lettuce. You don’t need salsa. You don’t need taco sauce. You just need meat and cheese. That’s it. If you season the meat right, you don’t need to do anything else. And yes, that’s related to Divekick. I hope we seasoned the meat right.

Gameological: What’s the craziest idea that came up in production but didn’t make it in?

Heart: I can’t even tell you because we might use it later. We have some really wild shit.

Gameological: Is there one that you’re definitely not going to use?

Heart: Give me a moment. [Pause.] No. Nothing has been unsalvageable. Every bad idea I’ve gotten has turned into a good idea. They’re all usable. That’s a tough one. The worst idea would have been four-player mode. In a game where you can’t block or turn around, four players on the screen at once sounds awful. But we do play team-style Divekick. One player per button. Think about it. It makes sense until you realize the kick button is the important one, and the guy on the dive button is like, “Please don’t fuck me over.”

Gameological: You would just grow to hate the other person.

Heart: It’s a good team sport because the team that’s winning is clearly having more fun. And that’s how you know it’s good.

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31 Responses to “Adam Heart, creator, Divekick

  1. Roswulf says:

     He got the spirit of the Gameological Questionnaire, just the perfect mix of whimsy and genuine thought.

    Great interview!

  2. duwease says:

     He really divekicked the shit out of this interview.

  3. Citric says:

    If I got actual trophies when I got trophies I’d care about trophies.


  4. CrabNaga says:

    He wants it to seem like it’s such a great value, but you know that the taco dispenser is really just a different setting for the 3D printer.

  5. HobbesMkii says:

    I realize that there’s more of these coming, but the wine question is both brilliant (I certainly wanted it asked) and yet also apparently wrong for this demographic. I’m really hoping at least one of these guys was a sommelier in a previous job.

    Also, how many of these game developers aren’t drinkers? I mean, alcohol has destroyed many, many lives, but…alcohol. Alcohol, people!

    • neodocT says:

       I don’t know what it says about me, but the wine pairing question is my favorite one.

      Not to mention that, c’mon, this game is played with two buttons! It’s a perfect drunk game!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      It seemed like a lot of the straight-edge punks I knew when I was younger just replaced drugs and drinking with fighting. Maybe it’s the same principle here, but in game form.

    • John Teti says:

      I, too, got worried about the wine question when these first two interviews came in, but there are good responses in some of the interviews coming down the pike.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Ugggh, John, you should’ve tagged that with SPOILERS. Now my questioning of the merits of the wine question is revealed as unfounded.

  6. neodocT says:

     But he really took the spirits right out of the wine pairing question…

    • George_Liquor says:

      Why must you lash out at us like that?

    • Girard says:

      Not being a drinker myself, I didn’t really miss those spirits. Not being a meat or cheese-eater, though, his description of the ultimate taco was kind of stomach-churning.

      • neodocT says:

        Wait, you’re a vegan teetotaler? I thought you were Russian! 

      • Girard says:

        I’m a vegan teetotaler, but I am not Russian.
        I did live in Russia for a bit, which led to a LOT of scenes like this:

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        @paraclete_pizza:disqus    Effectively the same thing happened when my wife was a bridesmaid in a Wisconsin wedding.  She informed the reception hall that she was vegetarian and they brought her a plate with a meager serving of steamed, unseasoned vegetables.
           Going to Wisconsin and declaring vegetarianism is akin to walking into the VFW and wiping your ass with the American flag.
           I think the rest of us were having steak in chicken gravy, served over shredded ham, or something.
           But Tolstoy was a vegetarian  so you have at least one long-dead Russian on your side.

      • Girard says:

        @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus : Tolstoi’s mirthless moralism, pacifism, and attendant vegetarianism played at least some part in my formation as a younger Girard.

        I’m actually in Wisconsin right now at this Games & Learning conference thing. They are feeding me really well, actually, but I’m guessing UW is accustomed to feeding needle-nosed academics and liberal college-type with their herbivorous ways.

      • Girard says:

        @neodocT:disqus Also, I had a very similar series of exchanges whenever it came to booze. “You don’t drink? But of course your drink vodka! No? But you drink beer, right – is like Coca Cola! It doesn’t count! No?” Then they look at you like you have a third eye in your forehead.

  7. craigward says:

    Iron Galaxy?  is this Cannibal Ox’s video game company?

  8. JokersNuts says:

    I still don’t understand Fraud Detection 

    • Merve says:

      That’s alright. Most credit card companies don’t understand it either!

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      Basically when someone loses five rounds in-a-row, the game calls them out as a fraud.  

      • Chalkdust says:

         But… what if they (by which I mean ‘I’) just actually suck that bad?

        • Matt Gerardi says:

          Yeah…it’s one of those fighting game community inside jokes. In the past, when a player doesn’t perform as well as expected in a tournament, they’ve been labeled as a fraud. It’s just one of those little nods to that scene.

        • Chalkdust says:

          @mattgerardi:disqus Ah, I figured it was something along those lines but, not being familiar with the fighting game scene, lacked the full context.

  9. WarrenPeace says:

    I got to play this game at C2E2 (The Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo) this year, and it was lots of fun. I’m looking forward to buying it on Steam or wherever.

  10. Toparaman says:

    Every fighting game should have a character with shoes on his hands.