A Song for Viggo: An interview with Simon Karlsson
A Song For Viggo is a game currently in development by SaintandSimon studio’s Simon Karlsson, and follows the tragic story of protagonist Steve, as he attempts to keep his life together after the accidental death of his son at his own hands. This game aims to explore the parts of human nature we do not talk about, and try to expose us all to those feelings of depression and anxiety, to promote understanding.
I had the pleasure of a short Skype conversation with Simon, for which I am very grateful, because a game such as this evokes all sorts of interesting questions.
When asked about his inspiration for the game Simon told me he “wasn’t sure” but that he wanted to step out of the box and approach things he found fascinating, such as the topics that people don’t often talk about, depression being one of those, and that he wanted to expose people to feelings of anxiety.
An obvious point of interest for me was Simon’s research, though he told me he had his own personal battle with depression, and therefore extensive experience, he found it difficult to talk to those parents who’d lost their own children, as well as some who were unfortunate enough to share Steve’s involvement in such a fate. Simon spoke openly about how helpful these conversations were in putting together his interactive story.
“you have to tread lightly, and try not to use the word ‘game’, usually people are used to games being fun, and they get the wrong impression”
Simon was earnest in his desire to make sure that he does not want to “exploit” these people who have suffered, but rather he wants to explore feelings like apathy after a traumatic experience, having found the work he’s done so far personally therapeutic, Simon also informed me that he hopes this project can help other people who are suffering with depression, and other psychological disorders explored in the game realise that they “are not alone”, and to help them express themselves.
A Song For Viggo looks to explore deep themes that affect us all, such as short term happiness versus long term reward, and the balancing of the important things in life, and the choices we make, and the large impact they can have on our lives, though seemingly small, like the decision to warm up the car.
Following this, I asked Simon about his interesting choice in art style, as he has opted to use paper craft and stop motion to create his point-and-click experience. The intricate paper models take a long time to produce, but Simon informs me that he likes the “direct response” he gets from the materials he’s working with, and I must say, in the short videos available on the Kickstarter, the choice of paper craft produces a strong contrast in colour that adds to the tone.
When pressed about the length of the game, Simon told me that he wants the five chapters to be short, and that you could feasibly complete the game in one session, and that he wants to use this to create a feeling of anxiousness in the player, but it will still be able to display the balance of mundane activities alongside the important aspects of life, like keeping Steve’s marriage together.
If successfully funded, A Song For Viggo will be available next summer, and I can wholeheartedly say that I am hoping I get the opportunity to experience something as unique and testing as A Song For Viggo promises to be.
Visit his Kickstarter and check it out: