Sunday, June 19, 2011

Game Designer Sunday: Jonatan "Cactus" Soderstrom

I'm going to start series of posts reviewing different game designers, and the games that they put out. I think that the people behind videogames are often an overlooked part of games. People may know the development studios behind their favorite games, but they rarely know the specific designers in charge of the game ( except for the obvious famous ones: Shigeru Miyamoto, Cliff Bleszinski, Hideo Kojima, etc. ). This series will hopeful shed light on some of the important people in video games.

I don't know what this is, either.
This post is going to be about Jonatan Soderstrom, or better known as Cactus. Cactus is a Swedish game developer, who is well known for his prolific output of games. He's released over fifty of them, and each has a very distinct style. The reason I chose Cactus for my first post is that he is one of the few game designers who has a unique style that can be seen in all of his works. It's pretty easy to know if a game is made by him.

A scene from Norrland
Although many of his games are incredibly difficult shooters, he has created a very diverse set of games. My favorite game of his, Pychosomnium, is an illogical puzzle game, set in a dream. It provides a very atmospheric, surreal, and weird story for the player. Another game of his, Clean Asia!, is a hardcore, arcade style, shoot 'em up. It is equally weird, but in a completely different way. One of his more recent games, Norrland, is more of an artgame. In Norrland, the player is the Swedish equivalent of a redneck spending a weekend in a cabin in the Swedish wilderness. All of these games are very different, yet share a similar quality that all Cactus games seem to have.

Overall, Cactus is one of my favorite game developers. I urge you to try out  some of his games. All of them are for free on his website, He has so many, that even if you don't like some of them you're bound to find enjoyment somewhere. The games that I would recommend most would be:

-Clean Asia!
-Mondo Medical


  1. Hrm, time to go try out some games I've never heard of before!

  2. i was looking for an online game to pass my time. I'll give a try to cactus' games. thanks mate, keep it up!

  3. Norrland looks like a rather strange game

  4. gonna check this out,
    really like this style,

  5. I'm gonna have to check out some of his games. I'll for sure be one the lookout for games by him in the future!

  6. We swedes have alot of good game developers!
    (i'm getting educated to one myself atm)

  7. I'll have to check this out thanks!

  8. Cactus is a very fun game. I enjoy it.

  9. Haha, what on earth is that top picture all about.