Talking to a Cactus (Q&A with Jonatan Söderström)

Experimental game developer, co-creator of Hotline Miami, and all-around really cool guy Jonatan “Cactus” Söderström was kind enough to let me ask him a bunch of questions. Here are his awesome responses.


Hi, Cactus! Could you say a little bit about yourself for those who don’t know you?

My name is Jonatan Söderström, I’m 28 and have been making games for ten years. At first I focused on short freeware projects, and managed to create around fifty games. Now I’m mostly working on bigger projects together with Dennis Wedin via our “studio” Dennaton.

What’s your earliest memory of video games? 

My earliest memory of games is my dad suggesting that he’d buy us a NES for christmas. I was around four-five I think and I had no idea what a video game was, I thought it was something like a flipper game and found it very uninteresting until I actually got it. At first we only had Super Mario and I really liked it. I started drawing my own games on pieces of paper and cut out characters that could move around on the worlds I had drawn.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had playing a game?

That’s a hard one. I was really absorbed by Half-Life the first time I played it. I remember buying it because it had all these press quotes on the box saying it was a great game, but I wasn’t really very excited about it. I usually played darker (and a lot more mindless) games like Blood 2 and Requiem Avenging Angel. Long story short, I was blown away by the seamless storytelling, the AI and generally the mature handling of it all. So, either that or playing the old Lucas Arts adventure games with my friends and family.

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“I Can Beat My Dad at This”

Welcome to the very first post in the Gamer Stories series! Each post in this series will feature a story, anecdote, tale, yarn, etc., from a gamer about his or her experiences with games. If you’d like to tell your story, please get in touch.


Super Mario Bros. was special for so many reasons. It was the first video game I owned, the first I beat, and it came on the same cartridge as the premier shooting sim of its day: Duck Hunt. But, the real reason it sticks out for me is that it was the first time I can remember thinking, “I can beat my dad at this.” Which was, just… huge. Obviously, my sofa cushion forts had been better and more livable than his for years, but Super Mario Bros. was something we both played, and that I won.

Brendan Hurt
San Francisco, CA:

Hi, my name is Brendan and I’m a gamer. They say admitting it is the hardest step.

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