INTERVIEW: Jenna Hoffstein of The Counting Kingdom

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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Counting Kingdom Featured

Recently, we got the opportunity to ask some questions of Jenna Hoffstein, who developed indie tower defense game The Counting Kingdom. One of the PAX 10 this year, it was a very well received title. Though the game was originally released on Steam, it is now also available on iPad and iPhone as of November 6th. This interview was conducted via email between Andrew Gallagher, who both reviewed the game and came up with the questions, and Jenna.

How did you get the idea for The Counting Kingdom and what other games have influenced it?

Jenna: The idea for The Counting Kingdom came out of asking the question “How can I use addition as a game mechanic in a way that’s strategic?” With The Counting Kingdom my goal was to create an educational game that was fun! A lot of learning games are very quiz-based, so I wanted to make sure to build this from the bottom up to have engaging game mechanics. I like to describe the game as Plants vs. Zombies meets Math Blasters.

The Counting Kingdom | Interview

How did the development process for The Counting Kingdom Go? Were there any difficulties that were faced?

JH: The development went very smoothly; we didn’t really face any major difficulties. I tried to reach out to teachers regularly and playtest with kids as often as possible, both of which helped keep the game moving in a really good direction.

The Counting Kingdom | Interview

Was it easy or difficult to get The Counting Kingdom on to Steam?

JH: I was fortunate to be able to show the game to a Steam representative earlier this year, who felt that it would be a good match for the platform. Many gamers at this point are parents looking for great games for their kids!

How well did The Counting Kingdom do in terms of sales and general reception?

JH: Both the PC/Mac and the iOS launches have gone great! The vast majority of reviews from both players and journalists have been hugely positive, and my very favorite moments are when I hear about kids enjoying the game.

The Counting Kingdom | Interview

Have you seen our review of The Counting Kingdom, and if so what were your thoughts on it?

JH: I always expect reviewers to have a variety of thoughts because everyone reacts to a game a little bit differently. The only element of the review I questioned was the time to play the game; the game is aimed at kids, who take much longer to play through the entire game than an adult would.

The Counting Kingdom | Interview

Does Little World Interactive have plans for any other games in the future? If so, what type of games would you like to make?

JH: We have lots of ideas! Right now nothing is set in stone, since a lot depends on the reaction to the iOS launch. We’re contemplating different devices to port the game to, as well as possible updates. We’ll continue to make wonderfully fun educational games!

The Counting Kingdom | Interview

What are some of your personal favorite games?

JH: I enjoy a huge variety of games, but indie titles have a special place in my heart. I really enjoy the experimentation that we see coming out of the indie community; as a designer, I always find it very interesting to see something new! Monument Valley is probably my favorite game of this year, but I’ve also really enjoyed Banished and Threes.

We at oprainfall would like to thank Jenna for her time and look forward to future content from Little Worlds Interactive, ’cause gamers are still gamers, no matter what their age.

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.