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Tom Hall discusses his future in mobile gaming and the pitfalls of Kickstarter

secret spaceship club screenshot

Tom Hall has had a busy year. After attempting to regain the rights to his long-lost platformer series Commander Keen from his old studio id Software and its parent company ZeniMax Media, he set out on his own to create the studio Pieces of Fun. Its first projects were going to be a Keen-style platformer called Secret Spaceship Club, and Worlds of Wander, an engine for people to build their own platformers to play and share just like LittleBigPlanet. But after a failed Kickstarter campaign Hall was in search of a new project, which led to his joining PlayFirst, the studio behind the Diner Dash mobile games. Digital Trends caught up with Hall to discuss his new gig.

“I’m here to make some great mobile games,” says Hall, “Luckily, PlayFirst is all about that. I’m looking forward to visiting a stellar franchise (that my wife and I love) and bringing my wide variety of game design experiences to bear on that and future games.”  

Hall’s first project is making a new entry in the Diner Dash series. A staple of mobile gaming, the once ubiquitous series has been quiet in recent yers since the release of Diner Dash 5. “Diner Dash is amazing, in that it takes real-world skills and makes them applicable to success in a game. My wife is better at the game than I am (almost supernatural) because she was a waitress.”

What will happen with Secret Spaceship Club, though? Will Hall be able to finish the game? Is PlayFirst interested in taking over the project? “They aren’t involved with that. I don’t really think it’s a good fit,” says Hall, “Kickstarter is awesome, but I think my pitch didn’t make the need for servers and community support clear, and the creator plus game [set up] muddled things a bit. Ah well. Those who don’t take risks don’t do really cool things. It was a great experience though, and I’m looking forward to bringing the same creative indie spirit to PlayFirst.”

As for what that creative spirit will produce after work is done on the new Diner Dash, Hall’s not saying just yet. “I can’t give away all the big secrets,” he chides.

Here’s hoping that Hall and PlayFirst’s partnership leads to good things. 

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