Meme Run is bringing outlandish viral elements from the Internet to Wii U. Ninja Pig Studios’ upcoming eShop title is unique to say the least, although players calling the game uncreative have slandered Meme Run as of late. Jordan Schuetz has something to say about that.
Jordan Schuetz is the founder of Ninja Pig Studios and the man behind indie games IQ Test and Meme Run for Wii U. We wanted to know how Jordan was reacting to criticism of Meme Run—a game that has yet to even launch. Here’s what he had to say about his company and products.
Note: With the exception of editing for clarity, spelling, and proper punctuation, all responses remain in their unaltered state.
Nintendo News: Well let’s run right into this interview. Can you tell our readers briefly who you are and what you do?
Jordan Schuetz: My name is Jordan Schuetz. I’m a 20-year-old college student and indie game developer.
NN: How long have you been developing games? How did you start coding?
JS: I’ve been developing games since 16 years old. After getting my first smartphone in high school, I became very interested in developing an app or game for the device. I self taught myself how to code after school and would work on games all day. After a year, I started to publish some really successful games. IQ Test on the NOOK was a huge hit, along with some other titles like a gun app, and a multiplayer drawing game for NOOK called Draw & Guess Online. Strobe Light was one of my most popular apps with over 250,000 downloads to date.
NN: Why did you decide to start your own game development company?
JS: I started my company since I love hearing that people enjoy my games as much as I enjoy making them. I work really hard on every title I make which makes positive feedback so rewarding.
NN: Okay. “Ninja Pig Studios.” What’s up with the name?
JS: The name comes from a silly character I drew in my art class in junior high. Ever since, it’s been my pseudonym online.
NN: Do you work with others to make your games, or are you “forever alone”?
JS: I am usually a sole wolf, but I always reach out to other developers for feedback, advice and support. The developer community is amazing! I love attending conventions like the Game Developers Conference in San Fransisco. A few other developers I know host weekly coding meetups where we all hack away together to create awesome games. Me and my brother Garrett Schuetz also work together on projects. Ninja Pig Studios’ latest title Meme Run was developed by me and my brother.
NN: Is Ninja Pig Studios a full-time job for you? Do you have to look elsewhere for income?
JS: As you know, college is very expensive, but luckily Ninja Pig Studios has provided me with the funds I need to go to university. I’m studying Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems. Along with making games, I’ve developed education software for universities which is equally as profitable as game development.
NN: What is your philosophy when designing games? What kind of products do you try to release?
JS: I make games that I enjoy playing. IQ Test is a great example of a game that I love. Knowing a game by heart, then watching other people struggle with it while I laugh is just so rewarding to me. Meme Run is the same way; even when developing it, me and my brother were just sitting next to each other laughing at every new feature we would add since it’s such an outrageous and entertaining game. The products that I release are products I love and they aren’t made for anyone else besides myself.
Knowing a game by heart, then watching other people struggle with it while I laugh is just so rewarding to me.
NN: Your next big game is Meme Run, a game some might call outlandish, psychedelic or overstimulating. Where did the idea come from, and how did the game come together?
JS: Me and my brother are huge fans of the Montage Parody subreddit. After spending months on the subreddit, my brother came up with the idea of creating a game using memes. We then sat down over the summer and coded the entire game together and were hysterical every step of the way.
NN: Even though no one has played it yet, Meme Run has received mixed reactions from the Internet. Does the criticism concern you, or are the naysayers just, well, trolls?
JS: My college friends have actually played it and they love Meme Run. Something about the gameplay is really hypnotic. The criticism hasn’t concerned me at all, but I am bummed that the criticizers will be missing out on the fun if they don’t pick up the game. I understand my games aren’t for everyone, but the funny thing is, most of the people criticizing Meme Run secretly enjoy it, but just don’t want to admit it.
NN: Who is Meme Run targeted towards?
JS: Targeted towards everyone. The hardcore audience should like the game due to how hard it is to stay focused on keeping your character alive. Likewise, the casual audience should enjoy the game since it has very basic controls that anyone can pick up.
Most of the people criticizing Meme Run secretly enjoy it, but just don’t want to admit it.
NN: Do you expect the game to be popular? What makes it a fun game?
JS: It will be insanely popular! This is a game you just want to show your friends. It’s so outrageous and unlike anything you have seen before! I expect kids to boot up their Wii Us, and begin playing this game and their parents will just look at the TV screen and say “What is this?” It’s a game that adults don’t understand but kids love.
NN: Y U NO MEK GAME FREE?
JS: If gamers want Ninja Pig Studios to keep making awesome games, I need some revenue to keep moving forward in life. Purchasing Meme Run helps support me and my brother to keep making new titles not only for Wii U but future platforms.
NN: Will Meme Run feature any levels, modes, powerups or characters we haven’t seen yet?
JS: There are a lot of things you haven’t seen yet since the beta gameplay footage didn’t make it far enough in the game. The terrain is procedurally generated so it should be slightly different every time you boot up your game.
NN: Where do you come up with many of these seemingly random elements (air horns, riffles, Illuminati symbols)?
JS: All from the Montage Parody subreddit.
NN: You submitted Meme Run to Nintendo for testing multiple times. What issues did the game face when seeking approval?
JS: Can’t say specifics.
NN: Do you believe a company like Nintendo should judge a game based on something subjective, like “quality of gameplay,” when deciding to approve a title for their online marketplace, or should their testing be limited to logistical and technological concerns about the ability of the game to function?
JS: I think companies should look at their audience and what they enjoy playing. Nintendo approved my title since they realize I’m targeting an untapped market and I’m providing a title that is new and innovative. Game development isn’t about following some formula, it’s about creating fun. As long as the customer has fun playing your game, you have done something amazing!
I’m targeting an untapped market and I’m providing a title that is new and innovative.
NN: How helpful was Nintendo in supporting you and your company? What kind of resources did Nintendo give you?
JS: Nintendo has been amazing! It’s been a pleasure developing for their system. I love all of the fans on Miiverse and love communicating with them on a daily basis. Seeing people love the games I create is what keeps me going all day!
NN: If Meme Run was not approved, would you have (ﾉಥ益ಥ）ﾉ ┻━┻ ?
JS: It would have been very upsetting since I want as many people to enjoy my titles as possible. The Wii U needs Meme Run and I’m super excited that it will be published!
NN: What are your future plans for Ninja Pig Studios?
JS: It’s a secret :)
NN: Anything else you’d like to say to the Nintendo and meme fans of the world?
JS: Thanks for the support! I read everything you guys email, Tweet or send my way. If you ever want to get in contact with me, don’t be afraid to ask.
Nintendo News thanks Jordan Schuetz for taking the time to answer our questions. Meme Run arrives in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U December 18.