Interview with Danny Silvers of Lantana Games

December 16, 2020 · 3 minutes read

In our launch blog post we talked about our three focus areas - one of which is to preserve video game history through fun, open, and informative interviews with game developers. We’re currently working with several indie game studios and publishers, and hope to get more interviews out to you, our amazing readers/viewers/listeners shortly!

Our first interview is with Danny Silvers, CEO and founder of Lantana Games, the studio behind the Mondrian game series. In the full interview which you can watch below, Danny talks about how he started Lantana Games and got into the indie game scene in Boston, gathered a team and made a name for themselves doing web games, and eventually getting the idea for Mondrian during a game jam. We then discuss Danny’s passion for helping and teaching others, and Lantana Games' student mentorships with partnered Universities.

Danny Silvers, CEO and found of Lantana Games)

Danny explains how he views Lantana Games as the creators of “3pm educational games”, the type of games you play when you get home from school that still teaches you something. He wanted to create something that’s the opposite of many other educational games, which only have a veneer of being a game but in essence are really boring – in his words they are “chocolate covered broccoli”. He wants his studio’s games to be fun and have great gameplay, something you want to pick up for an hour here or there for the rest of your life.

Piet Mondrian in Mondrian - Plastic Reality)

The core of the interview is focused on the Mondrian game series. The Mondrian games are, as described by Danny, a full-circle block breaking game about art history. The first game, Mondrian - Abstraction in Beauty is focused on video game art. Inspired by the works of the De Stijl masters’ limitations on form and color, the game takes an abstract look at the history of video game art, through unlockable features like paddles, balls, powerups, and screen effects. The game is dynamically generated, with millions of level combinations and endless replayability. In 2016, Mondrian was chosen as one of the indie games to be shown and demonstrated at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Arcade.

Mondrian - Plastic Reality screenshot)

In the second game in the series, Mondrian - Plastic Reality, you play as five great 20th Century artists – Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Hale Woodruff, Andy Warhol, Loïs Mailou Jones, and, of course, Piet Mondrian – as you uncover the lost masterpieces of the Modernist movement. Within Plastic Reality, as you play and discover the masterpieces you get to create your own art museum where you can put them on display. With the gems that you collect you can renovate the museum, decorate it, and customize it to your own liking - with up to 144,000 possible variations! The game also includes a level creator called the Mondrian Maker which lets you build your own levels with a simple drag-and-drop interface, and then share them worldwide through the Steam Workshop.

Catch the full interview with Danny on YouTube, or listen to it through our brand new podcast on anchor.fm, and read the full transcript on GitHub!

Thank you so much Danny for reaching out to get involved with us!

If you are an indie game studio or publisher and would like to get in touch with us, send us an email at hello@hitsave.org.