It is hard to believe we haven’t had a chance to interview someone in the Fuwa community in quite some time. Today’s member is one which has been around for quite some time. You might know him as the creator of Unhack or Without Within. If not, you might know him as the basketball-loving, visual novel producer. We were really happy to have a chance to sit down with InvertMouse and get to know him a little better. Let’s just say this one was a long time coming. You can even ask InvertMouse for more details about the long journey toward this interview.
First off, I wanted to thank you for your time today and giving me a chance to chat with you today.
Thank you! I am happy to be with the FuwaNovel community for the past 5-6 years.
I know quite a few people are aware of your presence and the games you’ve created. For those that don’t, would you mind introducing a bit about yourself?
My name is Marcus, and I have been developing games/visual novels under the name InvertMouse since 2012. Unhack was my first title under this name. The Last Birdling is my latest game, and Without Within 3 was released on May 4th, 2018.
I must say, I’ve been following your games for quite some time now. What can you tell us about Without Within 3?
Without Within 3 (WOWI3) is Vinty’s third adventure, this time, taking place in Singapore and Malaysia. Rumors of ghost sightings have been spreading around, and it is Vinty’s duty (apparently) to uncover the truth. Wherever Vinty goes, shenanigans follow!
As this is the third game of the series, would you say if it would work as a standalone, or would you need to read all 3 to get the full experience?
The work stands alone nicely, but those will read all three will get the best experience. Since the first game is free, there is no harm in giving it a shot!
I’ve heard that you’re responsible for all the writing in all your games, is that the case? If so, what drives you to want to write such stories?
That is indeed the case. There are no sappy or romantic reasons behind it. Storytelling is what I dedicate my life to, and I just want to share as many tales as possible while I am around.
Was there anything in particular that made you find a passion for writing stories, or was it always something you planned on doing all along?
When I was a kid, my mum would buy me these brain teaser books, perhaps hoping they would make me smarter (they didn’t). Instead of doing the puzzles, I would instead scribble all over the pages, inventing characters, and stories from beginning to end. So yes, all I have to say is, sorry Mum.
If I recall correctly, the first game that you created was Unhack. At the time, you were working on all aspects including the art. Did you ever make any games before that?
I made a LOT of games before Unhack! But they are god awful, so I hope no one will ever dig them up.
We’ll try to do some digging and see what we can find. Getting back on track, when you first created Unhack, what did you have in mind? Was it a story you wanted to share or was it more of a concept you wanted to see happen?
WHY YOU DO THIS (TuT)
Before Unhack, I had never produced a game with the intent to make money, so that project was about me testing the waters. Unhack’s story was so tropey, and I do not like it much in retrospect. Unhack 2 is much, much better.
On that note, what made you decide to start working with artists, voice actors/actresses, and musicians in your projects?
It was because I put my Unhack 1 art onto Steam Greenlight and it got ripped into a trillion pieces! The good of these projects comes before anything else, so if others could do it better than I can, let’s go there.
That makes sense. Are there any artists or others you prefer to work with?
All the artists I have worked with so far have been wonderful. I have met a few who act cool and casual, which I am not into. This is serious work.
Would you care to elaborate a bit more on what you mean? Were they difficult to work with?
I have never worked with them for long, so I don’t have too many details. Just things like a lot of swearing, as if I were a friend at a Friday night dinner. It’s good to have fun, but we need to keep it professional. If we were chatting on Twitter afterward, for instance, that would be another story.
Fair enough. It would make sense to be professional in a work environment. Moving forward, what would you say made you choose visual novels as your genre for your games?
I have written several novels (embarrassing teenage angst stuff) before I made the switch, but I have always loved video games, so it was a perfect mix for me. That said, I actually plan to move back to traditional games after Without Within 3.
Oh really. Care to share a bit more about the traditional games you are looking to make?
Oh, my friend… you will see.
Looking forward to it. Let’s talk a little bit more about you, Marcus. I know you post quite a bit about basketball, anime, and your hobbies. What would you say are your favorite things to do?
I love basketball, but my knees no longer allow me to play more than once or twice a week! Game development leaves me with very little time for anime. I still leave time open for games, though. You can learn a lot from other creators.
Do you also do game design as your primary job as well or are you now full time into indie game development?
I program software for my day job. They are often gaming related, so I am extremely fortunate in that regard. My visual novels have allowed me to cut my work days from five to four per week. I would love to go full time someday if money allows.
What do you normally do in your downtime outside of work and game development?
Studying games, reading gaming related news. I am single-minded, and right now, I like to devote myself to the gaming scene.
Do you take some time to watch anime, read visual novels, or read novels to get more ideas for your games or just for enjoyment?
I find games teach me the most, so that’s where my current focus is. As for visual novels, they’re all so long! I would love more VNs that are 5-6 hours in length like Narcissu, or An Octave Higher, which I have tremendous respect for.
Reading a lot of your previous Tweets, I see you also really like Hong Kong. Is there a reason you have such affinity to the place?
All my stats go up by five when I am in Hong Kong. That’s my home! My dream is to build a game dedicated to Hong Kong someday.
What would you tell others about Hong Kong that makes it such a great place?
The reasons are all personal, to be honest. When I see those Chinese street signs, the red taxis, they bring me back to a simpler time. I also get special treatment there, because everyone is fascinated by my quirky Cantonese accent!
I’m guessing it’s a mixture of Aussie and Cantonese making for an interesting combination?
Something like that. One time I was asking some high schoolers for directions, and they asked if I was a tourist. I thought “Oi, y’all weren’t even alive when I lived in Hong Kong!”
Haha. Sounds like most kids these days. Lastly, I was wondering if you had any aspirations or goals you want to reach in the future? Be it in life, work, or your hobbies.
My goal is to someday produce a title that has the same reach as games like Undertale or Stardew Valley. I will do it in my own way, though.
We hope you’ll be able to reach your goals. Is there anything else you would like to let people know about?
If readers are open to following my Facebook page or subscribing to my newsletter, I would really appreciate it. Both can be found at:
I will go dark for a while after Without Within 3, and when I return, I’ll have some big news to drop.
Thank you again for your time again InvertMouse, we hope to hear from you again soon. Keep us in the loop regarding your future endeavors.
For additional information about InvertMouse and his works, check out these links.
InvertMouse’s Website: http://invertmouse.com/
InvertMouse’s Twitter: @InvertMouse
InvertMouse’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InvertMouse/
InvertMouse’s Tumblr: http://invertmouse.tumblr.com/
The last birdling was surprisingly good, the art was also to my liking, there is no voice acting though, but i can understand why.
I thought you were dead! Good to see you writing articles again. 🙂
Do give me a shout if you manage to dig up those games. 😀
Best of luck on your endeavors, InvertMouse! I hope you’re able to meet your goals one day.