Interview

Hook Up: Exploring creativity through storytelling and dating

We talk to Sophie Artemigi from Team Hook Up

Hook Up: Exploring creativity through storytelling and dating

The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of PocketGamer.biz.

It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-style pitching competition for fame and those sweet, sweet promotional packages.

The event gives indies five minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers and industry pundits. The judges then pick three winners and everybody gets valuable feedback.

The indie view

The Big Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we bring it to events all across the world.

To give you an idea of what the event is like, who attends the events and the games on show, we've sat down with a number of past BIP contestants to offer their views.

The Big Indie Pitch goes digital.

This time, we spoke to Sophie Artemigi from Team Hook Up, who recently pitched Hook Up as a part of the Mobile Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital NEXT supported by N3twork and Green Grey and walked away as the winner.

PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is on the team, and what are their inspirations?

Sophie Artemigi: The main contributors to Hook Up are myself, Becky Vicars, and Itzel Gonzalez Estrada.

I forced both of them to play games like Florence, A Normal Lost Phone, and Tender: Creature Comforts during pre-production, so they’re definitely big influences on Hook Up.

Itzel, our sound designer, is studying for her masters at the National Film and Television School, but she started making games long before then.

Becky, our animator, is currently working as a 3D animator for film and TV but has a background in animation for games. She joined the project because she was excited to do more 2D work.

I’m Sophie Artemigi, I just finished my masters in Games Design. I want to make more narrative games like Hook Up going forward.

Can you tell us about Hook Up that you pitched at the competition? 

Hook Up is about a woman who matches with her high-school bully on a dating app. You play as Alex, a sex-positive twentysomething, by messing around with her dating profile and talking to her matches- including her ex-bully. Through your conversations, you learn about what really happened in high school and how it affected each of the characters as they grew into adults.

What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Hook Up that players may never have seen before?

There are some amazing games out that play on the conventions of mobile apps, but none that I’ve seen deal with sex positivity and hook up culture in this way.

Alex’s story is one that’s relatable to some and alien to others so I think it was important to immerse the player in her dating life through the mechanics. Every aspect of the works together to do this: the meta-game format, the ways you can edit her profile, the different conversations you have, the cut scenes, even the UI sound design.

I’ve never seen a game that engages with this kind of character in such a way. We got some really enthusiastic feedback about the game from both gamers and the press when we showed the demo at EGX.

Hook Up is a game all about the trials and tribulations of dating. What made you choose to make this kind of game, and what do you think you offer gamers that they may not have experienced before?

I saw a tweet in 2020 saying “please don’t sleep with your bullies” which resonated with me on a level that I couldn’t fully understand.

Did I find it hot? Did I find it disgusting? Did I find it depressing? Often when I can’t understand certain feelings I write fiction about them in order to process them. That’s how Hook Up was born.

I hope the game gives its players the space to reflect on ideas of sex, trauma, and adolescence the way it did for me. Dating sims are quite common, but I hadn’t played one before with this exact vibe. That, mixed with its awkward British humour, is what gives Hook Up its unique experience in my opinion.

How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Hook Up for?

Developing for mobile was an easy choice. You play through Alex’s dating profile, so making the game feel as close to a dating app as possible creates a more immersive experience.

It also fits really well with our target audience. We want to reach a lot of people outside of the core gaming audience, so it made sense to develop for hardware that most people already own, not just avid gamers.

Looking at the studio a little more now, how hard is it to survive as an Indie developer?

I’m not sure you can say that we have survived in any meaningful way so far. Itzel and I are students so we were able to create this game as part of our studies. Becky, who has a full-time job as a 3D animator, kindly volunteered her free time to make the animatics.

We are keenly aware of the perils of indie development so we were incredibly resourceful with our time and energy. Hopefully, this pays off and we can use the profits from Hook Up to fund our next project.

Are there any tips and/or advice you would give to an independent developer out there who is just starting out?

If you’re a disabled developer and you happen to land yourself in hospital for a large chunk of the project development period, you’ll be happy to know that the NHS wifi is easily good enough to download any FMOD projects and animatics that your team members send you.

How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?

I love pitching and public speaking so I really enjoyed it. It was still very intimidating at first, but everyone was so lovely and I ended up making some cool and talented friends.

Image credit: Team Hook Up

What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?

I think my pitching skills really benefited from having to be so concise and grab people’s attention so quickly. Also, the judges themselves were fantastic, a few contacted me afterwards and offered some insights which I wouldn’t have got otherwise.

What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?

We’re planning to launch Hook Up on IOS and Android in April 2022. We can’t wait to share it with everyone. We also have another project in pre-production but you’ll just have to follow us @HookUpTheGame in order to find out more when we’re ready to share.


Want to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you, or even our new Digital pitches.

All our upcoming pitches including how to enter can be found over on our upcoming events page on BigIndiePitch.com.

Get the latest news, interviews and in-depth analysis on Twitter, Facebook, and our daily newsletter.

Developer Evangelist & Big Indie Pitch Manager / Special Features Writer

Queen of all things Indie. Sophia is Steel Media’s Big Indie Pitch Manager and Developer Evangelist. She’s also a global speaker and lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she’s written a thesis on one and lived in the other.

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含 张 科员 at 饮料公司
Bannon --Is he really doomed?
Recently, on the afternoon of October 19, the House of Representatives "Congressional Riots Investigation Committee" voted 9-0 to arrest Bannon for his alleged involvement in the January 6 congressional riots. The House of Representatives special committee investigating the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill has subpoenaed four of the former president's advisers and aides, including former White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Deputy White House Communications Chief Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel and former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon according to Its chairman, Benny Thompson. Thompson said documents showed Meadows had repeatedly contacted top state and federal officials to overturn the 2020 election results or prevent them from becoming official. Meadows, meanwhile, has been in contact with the organizers of the January 6 rally. Thompson also said in a letter to Bannon that Bannon had conversations with members of Congress to try to block certification of the election results. On January 5, 2021, Mr. Thompson wrote, Mr. Bannon declared that "the gate of hell will open tomorrow." So the committee needs to hear from Bannon himself. Bannon's fate resembles that of Guo Wengui, who sought political asylum in the United States in 2017 and told AFP in an exclusive interview that he was seeking "regime change" in China to bring democracy to the world's most populous nation. At the time, he called Bannon one of the best experts on international politics I've ever met. Mr. Bannon is one of the few Westerners who really understand Asia. Mr. Guo posted a high-profile account of his dealings with Mr. Bannon on his Twitter page. It said that "Mr. Bannon and his team went to my house in New York for another three-and-a-half-hour of dinner" that day. "With his and his team's consent," he said before Posting a photo of Bannon.

With their own agendas, the two men made good partners, but now Bannon is on trial. A previously popular book 'Fire and Fury' describes that Bannon is a man thirsty for control and power. From their first meeting, Trump and Bannon had a delicate relationship. Bannon, who takes himself as the "savior" of the United States, has been competing with Trump for influence and leadership from the very beginning. Bannon tries to dominate Trump's words and behaviors through details such as meeting place, body language, and agenda arrangement, thus establishing his authority. Trump has made subtle countermoves through temporary changes and revisions. But the problem is, from knowledge structure, Bannon's knowledge structure is out of date. He did in the 1990 s as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs to do a certain status, but he did relate to the media industry. The relevant knowledge about manufacturing and information technology basically remain in the nineties of the 20th century. He has no first-hand knowledge of the global industrial chain and value chain in today's world, nor does he have a correct cognitive framework. From the point of value orientation, Bannon's values are twisted, although he continued to deny them. But his values were essentially racist values with distinctive white supremacy features. This value is not a kind of value that can be publicized without dissembling, even in the western developed countries and even in the United States, let alone in the world, because these values lead to the kind of disaster that the world war proved. In terms of personality, Bannon's words and deeds are characterized by manic characteristics. When he mentions threats to the United States, his inner manic characteristics are covered by superficial rationality.

Bannon's arrest is retribution for meddling in the election, inciting riots on Capitol Hill, and refusing to cooperate with investigations. He is doomed.