Mikołaj Kamiński, born in 1987 and also known as Sos Sosnowski, is one of the most prominent figures on the Polish independent game development scene. An uncompromising rebel against the stale conventions that are set in stone to some game creators, a sceptic not afraid to mock even the oldest traditions, and, also responsible for creating a game about finding a needle in a haystack.
He got into programming as a teenager and took his first steps on an old Commodore 64. His first game, Super Chef, was completed by 2000. After that, he created Ski Jump/Adam Małysz the Best, as well as the first game to show his love of nonsense – Gagaryn: The Interspace Exterminator (2001). In the game, the protagonist travels around the cosmos in a bulky spaceship with CCCP on its side. Creating increasingly absurd games, which were released on PC in the following years, was just a pastime for him for some years, while he was struggling with the idea of getting some stable employment. He was an English teacher in a primary school and a technical college. However, the passion for creating games did not leave him and wouldn’t let him forget about it. He begun attending game jams, such as Ludum Dare, where contestants are tasked to create a simple game within 48 hours. It was at an LD where the game Needlesoft Haystack Explorer was created. In this game, the player has to search for... A needle. In a haystack. Literally. Another game jam, Assemble, resulted in Bang Bang Roguelution, where you control your character by smashing your head into your keyboard.
2011 was a turning point in Sosowski’s career. That was the moment he left his job to pursue creating games full-time. His first major success was Thelemite, published on the popular website Newgrounds. It’s a parody of a superhero story, who saves the city from destruction. However, the twist is – the protagonist is a mutated programmer-ninja called Melex, who is unable to save anyone without causing utter destruction. Thelemite was hugely popular among Newgrounds visitors, and Sosowski claims to this day that this is his favourite of his creations.
During the 21st edition of Ludum Dare the programmer created McPixel. The title is a call-back to the popular TV series MacGyver, but this time the hero is a kind-hearted butterfingers, who often finds himself in a situation where he has 20 seconds to defuse a bomb. There is no time for thinking in the game, you just have to click everything and everywhere, hoping for the best. Every interaction with the surroundings results in some crazy or funny gag. All these goofs are much more important than winning. McPixel bravely defies traditional video game conventions. Losing is often much more enjoyable and funny than winning, and game mechanics are absolutely random. The graphics, as the name suggests, are quite archaic, with clearly visible pixels and animations restricted to just a few frames per second. Despite all these, the first version of the game became quite popular, in fact so popular that Sosowski decided to create a full version. This version will be remembered for a long time in the games industry – it was the first game to ever get approved in the Greenlight programme of the most popular gam-distribution platform, Steam.
After this success Sosowski became quite a celebrity in the independent games industry. He did not stop creating games though and his work resulted in such games as: Night Rider Turbo (a ride, in the night, in a car that’s falling apart), or Planet Life (a vicious satire on contemporary consumption-crazed society). He also prepared some happenings, for example one where you could play the classic FPS Doom on a piano. He gave speeches and lectures, and he also organised meet-ups to promote independent games, possibly the most important of which is his brainchild 0h Game Jam, which lasts for zero hours and zero minutes (daylight saving time is the trick!).
Nowadays Sos is into VR. He is working on Mosh Pit Simulator, which uses bugs in a 3D-animation program to have a little fun, juggling around spastically shaking human models. He states that his greatest dream is to one day create the worst game in the world.
In mainstream AAA titles everything has to be polished to perfection. In Sos Sosowski’s creations, the bugs and intentional mistakes, charming ugliness, and, above all, a true smile, are key points.
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