Interview with James Howard, Developer of ‘Neon Shadow’

After seeing the submissions for the OUYA game jam, I was able to talk with James Howard, developer for the entry, Neon Shadow. It looks like a great throwback to old-school shooters and may interest those who have grown tired of modern shooters.

JH– “Neon Shadow was made after-hours by a trio of developers who all work at Tasty Poison Games in Cape Town, South Africa. Our in-house projects keep us busy during office hours so throughout the OUYA Create competition, we jammed in our spare time.”

Neon Shadow is an old-school FPS that was created for the game jam. Where did this idea come from?

Back in December last year, a few of us played some of the old 90’s shooter classics over the office network during our lunch break. We played a few deathmatches in Doom and Duke Nukem 3D and had such a blast playing them. When the jam came round early January, we were keen to bring back some of that frantic over-the-top action that you don’t tend to find in modern shooters. 

Will Neon Shadow be purely multiplayer?

Currently Neon Shadow is multiplayer only and we really wanted to focus on developing a fun game that you can play with your friends. 

Can you give us some info. on the weapons, maps, and general gameplay?

Neon Shadow as it stands today is a pure free for all deathmatch and there is currently only one map. The game can be played 4 player split screen on the OUYA or up to 6 players online over the internet. There are four weapons available for players to use: the shotgun (the player’s starting weapon), the plasma rifle, the grenade launcher and the super powerful charge cannon. Weapons are strategically placed through the level for players to collect and all vary wildly in their offensive tactics. We really wanted to make each weapon feel different from the next, and I feel we succeeded in creating a great variety.

What wasn’t included in the 10-day limit that you plan on incorporating in future versions?
We made the entire game after hours during the 10 day jam so naturally we had some great ideas which just didn’t quite make it in. We wanted to have more complex levels with customisable player characters. We also wanted to add a co-op mode where players could team together to fight against swarms of enemies. Our lead artist, Filip, has some awesome artwork that wasn’t quite ready in time for the deadline. We’d love to take the game further and if we get enough positive feedback from fans and fare well in the competition then it could be developed into a full game with backing from Tasty Poison Games.

Is Neon Shadow an OUYA exclusive?

If Neon Shadow gets enough support it will be developed into a full game and OUYA will definitely be our first priority. Other platforms are a distinct possibility.

What makes this shooter unique from other FPS games?

In my opinion, the current trend of FPS games lends itself towards the generic military theme, taking some of the fun-factor out of the genre. Neon Shadow goes back to the roots with a classic feel that we believe the modern audience will appreciate. Another aspect missing from most contemporary shooters that we wanted to revive is the four-player split-screen option, which is a blast to play with friends on the couch!

How would you describe the experience working with the OUYA?

Working with the OUYA has been really exciting! The system is a great entry point for independent developers like us, who want to bring our games to the big screen. The system is based on Android which I already have experience with. This is a huge plus as the development environment feels very familiar, avoiding a steep learning curve that you usually experience with new platforms.

Where can gamers find updates on Neon Shadow?

You can follow my updates on my personal twitter handle which is @jameshhoward. You can also follow @Tasty_Poison for updates at Tasty Poison Games or visit the website at

Is there a beta or prototype version we can play?

Yes! You can go play a version of the game in your browser here. If you’re lucky enough to have your hands on an OUYA you can download the version submitted for the contest here.

Do you have anything else that you want to tell potential fans?

We want to give a personal thank you to everyone who has supported the game and given such positive feedback. We’d love to develop the game to its full potential and we encourage those of you who want to support the game to visit the competition entry page and vote with a like or a tweet.

We’d love to hear what players think of the game, all suggestions and criticism are welcome!

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