Toki Tori Talky

When the lovely puzzle game Toki-Tori’s demo was released, I decided to drop a line to Two Tribes to have a little exchange about their debut on the PC after years working primarily on the hand-held. Co-founder and creative director Collin Van Ginkel took a little time to share some thoughts…

RPS: What’s the story so far, sir?

Collin Van Ginkel: I’m Collin van Ginkel, one of the founders and currently the creative director at Two Tribes. It all started out as a hobby, and you know how out-of-control hobbies can become :)

RPS: Why games? And why the games you make?

Collin Van Ginkel: At Two Tribes, we’re all gamers that want to make games. For some reason we seem to stick to the more family friendly genres, such as platform and puzzle games.

RPS: Platform and Puzzlers are splendid! What’s your favourite examples of the two genres? What inspired you?

Collin Van Ginkel: I must say that puzzle games have always interested us. For Toki Tori we’ve been inspired by older games such as Lemmings and (lesser known) King’s Valley 2 on MSX.

As for naming examples…. I think the original Puyo Puyo is a great puzzle game, which I’ve spent a lot of time on. More recently, we’ve got World of Goo of course. But the line between action and puzzle games have been blurred quite a lot.

RPS: What about the origins of Toki Tori? What were the inspirations for it? I found myself thinking of a certain strand of Amiga Puzzler, for some reason.

Collin Van Ginkel: Well, the concept goes all the way back to the early nineties, then still called Eggbert, when we were active on the MSX home computer system. It wasn’t as powerful as the Amiga, but you could do roughly the same type of games on it, so perhaps that’s what makes it feel familiar.

RPS: Could you talk a little about the origins of Eggbert back in the early 1990s then? Where did the idea come from?

Collin Van Ginkel: Like I mentioned above, several games from that day have been influential. Eggbert just sort of came to be, there was no design document or development plan. Perhaps that’s why it took about three years to make ;)

RPS: Now you’ve brought it to the PC. What made you decide to expand from hand-held only into the PCs?

Collin Van Ginkel: We’re moving away from work-for-hire and towards digital distribution at Two Tribes. When we develop games, they always also run on the PC, so it made sense to try out Steam with one of our existing games.

RPS: What excites you about Digital Distribution? Is it just about the autonomy? Is this the future, you think?

Collin Van Ginkel: You’ve got total freedom. As long as you know what you’re doing, you can be successful and build a business by doing your own thing. That has to be exciting for anyone with a real passion for games!

As for it being the future. I think it’s already the present, but it’s still in its infancy, and I doubt that we’ll see traditional boxes going away anytime soon. There are a lot of hurdles that need to be overcome before digital download becomes the norm. In the mean time, it gives companies such as ours a chance to shine!

RPS: What’s the response been like so far?

Collin Van Ginkel: It’s been great. There is such an active community at the Steam Forums, you really have a close connection to these people, I love it :)

RPS: Why did you choose Toki Tori to be the first game to bring across? Did you consider any of your other games?

Collin Van Ginkel: Toki Tori has been with us for a very long time. It’s been ported a couple of times, so it was the best option. We’ll be announcing a second game for Steam in the near future, keep an eye out for that!

RPS: Thanks for your time.

Toki Tori is available now for few pounds.


  1. Bob says:

    Will get round to buying it one day, enjoyed the demo!

    • Rinox says:

      Nice interview. I bought it during the recent steam sales and had a lot of fun with it. Some of the later levels are deceivingly hard, too!

  2. TheApologist says:

    It’s a lovely game – I got it on Wii a few months ago and it’s one of the few games both wife and I play. Steam makes complete sense for these guys. Glad to see them bring their stuff over.

  3. inquisitive says:

    [comment abuse]
    Kieron, I just came across “The Precursors”, not realizing it even existed. I think you did a preview for it once.
    Did you or anyone on RPS ever did a Wot I think on that?
    It seems ambitious, grand, and, potentially interesting, but unfinished. And russian.
    I was wondering wot you think.

    [/comment abuse]

    Yay, yellow bird things. Doing yellow bird things. Thinks. I. I, er, think. Anyways, YAY!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Precursors hasn’t been released in the west, which seems to have a story behind but I can’t quite get to the bottom of it. We’re trying to work out what to do about it, frankly.


    • Casimir's Blake says:


      Precursors sounds like the ultimate ambitious cross-genre sci-fi FPS epic that I’m sure a lot of us are hoping for. But god, it must be hard to translate. *sigh* Back to System Shock again, for now…

    • StenL says:

      Both White Gold and Precursors have English translations for the text, so if you manage to “obtain” them, you could probably understand them well enough to play them.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      @ StenL, that’s not really the issue. There’s no good reason for those games not to be quickly localised and put on Western digi download services. At least then Deep Shadows get some of the cash.

  4. John Peat says:

    TT is a lovely puzzle – whilst it’s hard it never forces you into trying 1000s of possibilities – the clues are always there if you just think about it.

    A lot of games like this pile up the ‘tools and tricks’ and then leave you to hammer your head on the desk until you solve the problem – this avoids that nicely :)

  5. HolyShitMatt says:

    I look forward to their next title. There’s not a large selection of quality family friendly games. Although, some of those puzzles in Toki Tori are mind-numbing!

  6. Kenttsu says:

    I heartily recommend Toki Tori. Puzzles are suprisingly clever and only few of them were trivial. Most of the time I was all smug for getting it right on first try but then realised that I ran out of moves. And then after 10-30 minutes of pondering and several failed routes I found totally new way to think. Very gratifying.

  7. subedii says:

    When I bought this it was more a case of, what the heck, it’s cheap, and I was in the mood for a puzzle game.

    It actually turned out to be really good.

  8. hydra9 says:

    Yeah, it’s a really great, lovely puzzle game. Out of the hundreds of demos I have downloaded, this is one of the very few that made me sign up for the full experience. Great work, Two Tribes!

  9. Rikard Peterson says:

    I’m enjoying it on my “Haircut-PC” Have met a few instances when I thought “this level is impossible”, but then I’ve (so far) soon been able to find the solution without any help. Just right in other words. (The music can be a bit annoying, but otherwise I have nothing to complain about.)