A Tarot Reading of Edmund McMillen

Year of Birth:

Edmund has done a lot of good stuff, and raised at least two or three eybrows. His blog has a link to his latest game can be found, uh, there and there. He's putting out an anthology CD in about 10 days, pre-order here, offer valid while supplies last. He's been releasing so many games lately, and I've been reviewing them, that I figured I'd go ahead and interview the crazy bastard. Since I compared him to Crowley, I figured I'd do the interview in Tarot form, which turns out to be effective games journalism. For reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_Arcana

(Draws "The Fool") Who does this card remind you of?

Mostly of myself, ive made a lot of big mistakes in my life that have come back to haunt me, some of them have come through in my work. But as the days go by i learn from them and try to become less of a fool over time.

(Draws "The Devil") What's your experience with controversy?

I tend to enjoy controversy, as im sure you know. Ive always been intrigued by Taboo subjects and tend to write about them a lot, things just dont seem fun to write about if they dont spark some kind of dialog or instant reaction from people.

I grew up as a catholic, horror movie watching, garbage pail kid collecting, indie comic reading anti social nerd some of that's bound to come through in my work.

But yeah, i write about what i think is interesting, and blood, guts, death, sex, religion and gross out humor is what i personally think is most intriguing.

(Draws "Wheel of Fortune") Do you consider yourself lucky? Describe the probability of your life turning out like it has, estimating to roughly an order of magnitude. Feel free to list individual probabilities (such as being born, being turned on to games ect.) and I'll do the math for you.

I dont know about the luck thing. I cant say i believe in luck, and usually when it comes to a roll of the dice i tend to be very "unlucky".

If i were to break down my life into core pieces that molded me into who i am now though it would look like this.

Being born left handed.
Teenage mutant ninja turtles turn me on to drawing.
Gets an NES with Mario and Zelda.
Plays street fighter in the arcade for the first time.
Plays doom for the first time.
Meets with indie comic artist who takes me under his wing.
Starts making a series of "adult" indie comics called this is a cry for help.
Turns comics into a website and starts making flash movies
Meets Tom Fulp who supports my work.
Starts making flash games with Tom and Caulder
Gets freelance job at chronic logic
Pitches Gish to Chronic logic
Gish wins IGF 05
Designs Triachnid with Florian Himsl
Blast miner wins IGF 07
Starts work on Braid
Designs Aether with Tyler Glaiel

(Ed: doing the math, the probability of Edmund being who he is, p(E)<=1:10^13 - what an unlucky exponent)

(Draws "Justice") What do you think of Jason Roher's work? He's a programmer/designer and you're an artist/designer, what is the eigenvector of your direction relative to his?

I really appreciate his work but havent played all his games yet, hes someone ive been meaning to talk to but havent had the ability to do so yet.

I think we both tend to write our games based on abstract personal experiences and have a lot in common in that respect. As far as the process goes i obviously have to work with someone else to get my designs done since i dont have the ability to program, so in that respect his designs might come through a little more clearly.

(Draws "Priestess") Why do you think indie design is currently so male dominated? And why are you such a misogynist?

Because men are way better then women obviously.

(Draws "The Hanged Man") Are you the Hanged Man? If not, who is?

if your going with the "Sacrifice ----- Letting go ----- Surrendering" meaning yeah that's me.

Ive recently gone through a big hardship that has caused me to let go and surrender to a lot of the things in life i just cant change. Surrendering to these things i spent my whole life trying to control has caused a rush of creative inspiration that's come in the form of my last 4 games ( and 3 in the works ).

(Draws "The World") Where is humanity going and what role will videogames have in that direction?

Fuck if i know, i just make make them.

(Draws "The Emperor") You've made a lot of games with a number of programmers, and you've been releasing in rapid succession lately. Do you think this fluid, swap-meet, over-the-net, game dev orgy could be applied successfully by other artist-designers?

Yes i do, i highly recommend it. Everyone's different and its fun to play with the varying dynamics of different setups. just keep it simple and work fast, ive noticed the faster the game gets done the more clean and clear your original vision stays.

(Draws "Temperance") Aether was a great aesthetic departure from your previous work, and has a softer pace as well. Would you care to explain yourself? Start at childhood.

Shit.... ok.

Aether is about my childhood, I was a self imposed lonely kid. I didn't feel much of a need to play with other kids because the games i played in my head were just a lot more fun. But there are obvious downsides to withdrawing from social situations and escaping into ones mind. Like the boy in aether, as i spent more time in my mind ( flying through space) i withdrew more and more from reality (the earth getting smaller).

In the game though the boy visits planets (fears) where he runs into aliens (inner demons) and atempts to fix each planets problems, but the aliens remain the same. The more time he spends in space (his mind) the smaller earth (reality) gets, till the point when it comes back it breaks under his weight.

(Draws "The Star") Have you ever been contacted by psionic entities from Sirius?

Not yet.

(Draws "The Lovers") Why have only a handful of games (Facade, Passage, The Marriage, The Sims if you're on E) tackled human relationships in gameplay, and what's your opinion of World of Goo?

I assume its because human relationships are hard enough to tackle in reality. And i love world of Goo.

(Draws "The Hermit") Now that Santa Cruz real estate is plummeting, have you thought about getting a place? Have you ever wanted to grow your own food in a remote place and make games using a laptop, windmill/solar-panel/battery-system and a satellite connection? Because I've wanted to do that.

Heh, a 1br house in sc has plummeted to about 800k now! ill never buy a place here.

But D and i have talked about saving up some money and trying out the hippy art scene for a few months every year. You know like, saving up 4k and renting an RV and just driving around making art for a few months without having to worry about the real world. Once i have some money, im going to run away for good.

(Draws "Chariot") To where do you see your career barreling forward, and who will you hurt in the process?

At this point the chariot seems to be making so much dust im not able to see whats coming, i have no idea what ill be doing in the next few months, im just taking it day by day. Its also my personal goal to not run over anyone in the process, in fact my real goal is to take a few people along for the ride... lets hope its a fun one.



Viviparous Dumpling

Carious Weltling


Meat Boy


Clubby the Seal


Blast Miner




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I feel confident in saying I

I feel confident in saying I could find an interview like this at no other website.

Stacked Deck?

How did you draw so many trumps in a row or were you picking the cards based on topic?

Also, go South Carolina!

Thanks for the kind words

Thanks for the kind words John.

I was "drawing" only from the Major Arcana, and at that, in my head. It's a motif.