It’s a sunny Friday afternoon in late summer and I’m sitting in a dark room in a house in Hastings, blinds drawn, glued to the Playstation. I’ve got a sneaking, skiving-off feeling - wasn’t there something less fun I was supposed to do today that, thanks to this game, I’ve now forgotten about? But gaming is, in part, why I’m here – the room in question is Richard Hogg’s studio, and I’m playing Hohokum, the game he’s been working on since 2008 and, as part of a small team of collaborators, has developed from a single-level demo to the full, publically-released Playstation game I’m messing around with today.
Bringing the game to this point has clearly been an intense process for Hogg, who branched out into videogame design from an already established career as a graphic artist and designer. He started out at Airside, in a job he entered into as, in his own words, “a bitter, failed fine-artist in my late twenties.” The job would prove instrumental, cementing the playful approach visible in his work even before videogames entered the mix. He eventually left Airside to set up independently, balancing self-initiated projects with commissions spanning editorial illustration, ad campaigns, identities and animations, for a client list including the Design Museum, O2, Barclays, the BBC, and Wired magazine. Grafik itself was on that roster, too - readers of the printed mag might remember Hogg’s illustrations for Nat Hunter’s How to be Green column in 2010.