While on a panel about indie entrepreneurship at Casual Connect USA 2014, Robin Hunicke described an aspect of people that everyone should be aware of. “It’s fundamental to our culture that we sometimes would rather think of the list of things we can get as opposed to the things we can do,” she explained.
Robin Hunicke, co-founder of the independent game studio Funomena, loves the unique challenges every day brings. Since she started the company in 2012, her work has varied tremendously from day-to-day; at different times, she can be involved in art and design tasks, production, or marketing and business development tasks. Her most recent title is the award winning Playstation Network title, Journey.
Hunicke has a background in art, computer science, and applied game studies. Although, her first love was fine art, her career began in computer science and then moved to design and production. And, in fact, she has been designing, making, and teaching about games for over 12 years. So she knows her background is varied enough that she can wear whatever hats she needs to. However, she admits, “The fact that I know a little about each aspect of game development means that I really appreciate the experts I get to work with each day. Their excellence is an inspiration.”
Making an Impact
Winning the 2012 Game of the Year Award at GDC brought Hunicke the proudest moment of her career, one that she credits to the entire Journey team. She emphasizes, “It was such an accomplishment for this small team to make such an impact on games, and it felt great to be a part of that dream.”
Hunicke is a huge proponent of the metaverse, believing Virtual Reality is the emerging trend that will make a great difference to her business and product. But she is very close-mouthed about how she expects to incorporate virtual reality into the games Funomena is creating.
On the other hand, she is an outspoken evangelist for diversity of thought, design, and participation in both game design and game culture. Hunicke claims the biggest impact on the games industry as a whole will come as “more diverse people make games about more diverse topics and reach a more diverse audience.”
She describes herself as a curious person, so perhaps it is not surprising that she tells us her favorite platform to play on is the real world. Currently, she is playing a lot of the Twilight Struggle board game because she appreciates how elegant the game design is for a rather complex simulation of Cold War politics.
She also plays on console and owns all the last generation consoles as well as a PS4, stating, “I love playing games cozy on the couch in my living room and cherish the few games that really immerse me in that way. It’s an experience like no other.”
Her F2P gaming is quite restrained; her most expensive purchase has been $10 for a familiar (probably a Leprechaun) in Kingdom of Loathing.
Her many hobbies other than gaming include cooking, hiking, traveling and gardening. She also loves photography, comics, watercolor painting, and origami.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.