Recently I had the chance to interview Darius Guerrero, an indie game developer who created Monument Rush and Monument Rush 2: Rigged Run. These are mobile games that you can download off of the Apple Store and Google Play for free. It’s a runner game where your finger is the controller and you dodge and jump over obstacles to see how long you last.
Darius Guerrero: I grew up in a country where Internet is one of the slowest yet most expensive in the world. I didn’t have the means to connect online, so I spent all day making comics my friends would enjoy. When I got the chance to rent a computer, one of the first games I played was Canabalt and I was blown away. A few minutes of gaming made me feel more immersed in the non-dialogue story than any comic I ever made. It was then I realized that I’d rather make a living making something like that, but knew that it wasn’t really an option our education system would allow me. I bought a few books on game development with a promise to myself that I’d make my own game someday.
Eventually, I graduated with a degree in psychology and went on to work for the government as a capability building manager and it was there that I met this girl who played games like crazy. I wanted to surprise her with a game of our own, so I spent eight months asking for technical assistance from my IT friends, visiting forums, and buying more books. I’ll never forget the smile she gave me when I showed her what I was working on. I wanted to enter game development because of my love for it, but I jumped in because of my love for her.
DG: I wanted to create a spiritual successor to Canabalt despite one-button games being pretty much the trend nowadays and hundreds out there with pretty much the same gameplay. I wanted to create something that would make the players feel the thrill of running on rooftops like Canabalt did but with features that would set it apart from all the others, and even the original.
PPC: What inspired you to use the Illuminati as a theme?
DG: Tired of the constant flood of army, medieval fantasy, and zombie games? Me too. Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of great games with those stories and plot elements, but there are fresh stories out there that’d translate just as well into the medium of video games. The conspiracies surrounding the Illuminati carries with it unlimited potential in terms of video game story telling, and for whatever reason hasn’t been explored much. Though we have video game stories that have evoked the 1984 Orwell’s feel, there are very few that have outright said that the protagonist is going against the Illuminati.
DG: The first Monument Rush got positive feedback from a lot of people. It was simple and elegant, but I wanted to incorporate slow motion scenes and guns into the mix. I thought of updating the game but I didn’t want to put off fans of the first game by bringing in drastic changes. I thought of turning my ideas into a new game with another name, but I didn’t want people to think that I re-skin my old games and package them as new. I ended up uploading it as a direct sequel to the first, so I could justify the similarities and introduce the drastic changes with less risk of backlash.
PPC: Now that you’ve made Monument Rush 2: Rigged Run, what’s next for you?
DG: There’s a certain idea that developers can now sit back, relax, and work only to update for bug fixes once a game is published. That’s not really the case. As more people discover the Monument Rush games, more work has to be done to maintain momentum and keep the game fresh. I plan on releasing huge updates for the two Monument Rush games, and I hope these updates make my girl, and all Monument Rush players, smile some more.
To find more information on Darius Immanuel and both the Monument Rush games, you can check out his website!