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Top 5: Carlos Villarreal Kwasek

We catch up with the multi talented game developer, animator, illustrator and designer -Carlos Villarreal Kwasek - to discuss five of his top sources of inspirations: Riven, Alien Isolation, Device 6, Papers Please and Limbo.



I first played Riven when I was 17 and I think it’s an all time classic. It is one of my favourite games of all time as it really opened my eyes to the power of video games and got me interested in CG. Not to mention the fact I also listen to the soundtrack often. It does a great job of immersing the player in challenging gameplay, beautiful graphics, emotional music and an engaging story. Cyan Worlds created a new vision and aesthetic with Riven and I think it opened the doors to the possibility of games becoming blockbusters.


I wanted to play Alien Isolation as soon as it came out last year because I love the original Alien films and this game made a clear statement of going back to basics. It was like going back in time and becoming a character in the movie, which was very refreshing. I think many industries have been following the vintage trend and the whole mood of this game is vintage Alien. Being a UI Artist myself, I think that the UI work in UI here challenged the futuristic Sci-Fi-floating-touch-screen discourse, and at the same time influenced the continuing trend of the analogue aesthetic.




Device 6 is probably the first truly challenging puzzle game for mobile that also delivered on (really high) quality. Its intro sequence is so cinematic that seems like it’s from a film, it’s also very challenging and it truly utilises the concept of a mobile device which becomes part of the gameplay. I think that few companies have taken mobile games seriously enough to give them the AAA treatment like Simongo did here. So I was very pleased to see people doing quality games for mobile – challenging the free-to-play model. I have been working on AAA for some time now and after this game I turned my head to the potential of mobile.




I found Papers Please through Steam and got hooked immediately, I have chosen it because of the powerful political and educational message it transmits to the player. It’s a very indie and underground game, and that is the beauty of it – it stands out because it is a rebel underdog. I am very interested in educational games and this one is one of the cleverest I’ve seen out there. I think we should all be influenced by it.




My fifth and final choice is Limbo, which I picked because it is a true game-noir – arguably a new genre in gaming that Limbo defined. It also gives me the creeps while keeping it simple. I am not a horror genre person but it made me take horror more seriously as it has proven that you can develop a game that is stylised, beautiful, simple and – on top of all that – really scary!


Carlos was a key collaborator for the motion graphics work on the James Bond Goldeneye computer game. See more of his work over at



Creative Director at Dazzle Ship
A designer who's work has been featured in numerous magazines and books. Computer Arts magazine named him a ‘Leading creative’. Hyper Island invited him collaborate as an 'Industry Leader'.

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