Archive for the 'kitsch game' Category

OMG CAVE STORY RIP OFF

Yeah, I’m sorry. With all the free time I have these days, I should really post more about what I’m doing. If nothing else it’ll keep me focused, heh. Anyway, it occurs to me that I haven’t actually explained what I’m doing these days on this blog. I’ve just posted some vague stuff about a platform engine. It’s about time I explained myself fully, I think.

I’m still looking for a job, and my search isn’t going all that well. I’ve been applying to shops, bars, and places like that that are advertising part time work. They’ve all smiled politely and taken my CV, but nobody’s contacted me as of yet. Maybe my CV puts them off a bit? I dunno. I’ve also been in contact with a office temp agency, which looked promising at first – but I haven’t heard from them in over a week.

This part time job thing is essential to my grand scheme – so from now on, I’m dedicating all my time during the day to finding one. There are a lot of places that I still haven’t applied to, that, to be honest, I was kind of avoiding. Tescos and McDonalds, and that sorta thing. I guess I shouldn’t be so picky. My savings won’t last forever, after all.

On the game development front, I’m more upbeat 🙂

Essentially, I decided that before I start working on a shareware title, I want to take a month to adjust to indie life. And instead of mucking around with engines and demos that don’t go anywhere, I want to finish a short game (something which I haven’t managed in the past five years now). I came up with an idea that I never got around to discussing on this blog, and started adapting my platform engine from the B-game contest to work for it.

That idea is decent enough, and I may come back to it at some point. For now though, something more interesting has caught my attention… (sorry, Josiah 🙁 )

That “project I’m thinking about getting involved with on the side” from the last post is generating quite a bit of interest over at the TIGSource forums, and I’ve basically decided that it’s more interesting than my kitschy platformer. So I’ve decided that instead of working on the platformer, I’m going to work on this. My first milestone is to have a little arena with Quote from Cave Story jumping about in it, and that’s practically done – check it out:

Once that’s done, I’m going to add another character that can shoot and make something that’s basically playable. Then I’ll start a proper thread on TIGSource about it. Wish me luck! 🙂

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Stumbled Upon

Looks like someone’s linked to my site from Stumble Upon, and my traffic’s just quintupled multiplied by an astonishing factor. Hope the site doesn’t fall over when I’m away…

Haven’t mentioned my little platformer in a few days, have I? I’ve added a few bits and pieces since I got back from Galway on Sunday, but nothing too serious. I actually ended up making a ridiculously overpowered map editor, considering the scale of the project:

(They’re just temporary tiles, by the way)

Right, I’m off. See ya in a few days 🙂

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My Picks

TIGSource’s B-Game’s contest is now at an end, and by my count, 27 people have submitted entries to it. This doesn’t include games that have been privately submitted to the mods over there, but I suspect we’ve seen the bulk of them.

The overall standard is phenomenal. Practically everyone got a good grasp on the idea behind the contest and as a result, everything submitted is worth playing – be it for a cool gameplay mechanic or just a brilliant concept.

There are a few exceptional entries, though. I haven’t decided on the best one, but my favourites are these three:


Mondo Medicals – Cactus

The concept: Mondo Medicals needs your help to research a cure for cancer: to do this, you first need to be tested. The game faces you with a number of counter-intuitive first person maze puzzles, and on completion of each you’re treated to bizarre cutscenes that reveal more about what’s going on.

What’s good? The “twilight zone” interpretation of the B-Games concept is the most underexplored take on the contest, and none of the other participants handle it as well as Cactus does. This game is seriously creepy, but in a good way. It’s by far the most stylish game entered.

What’s not so good? The puzzles are fun and the game plays well, but as it goes on, it’s just much too difficult. So far I’ve haven’t been able to beat the “count to 15” stage (even though I’ve counted to 14!), and I’m half thinking about resorting to the walkthrough. On top of this, some levels drag on a bit too long.

My evaluation: One of the best entries to the contest. Had Cactus worked a little more on the puzzles and shortened some of the repetitive levels, it would probably stand out as the clear winner.


The 100-in-1 Klik & Play Pirate Kart – Team Glorious Trainwrecks Dot Com
(Alan Gordon, dessgeega, Develop CO, Eudaimon, Haze Rever, J. “Botagel” Reed, Jeremy “SpindleyQ” Penner, Kirk “kirkjerk.com” Israel, Laco, Matthew “Shapermc” Williamson, MR ISAAC, PizzaTime!, Preston Whited, Quaggy!, Raphael Freight-Train Shinners, Seppel, six, and Swimmy)

The concept: Anybody could have taken a month and thrown together a bad Klik & Play game and called it an entry to this contest. Forming a team of 17 and making a hundred of them in one weekend, on the other hand… that’s just too awesome to put into words 🙂

What’s good? All the authors bring something different to the table – Alan Gordon’s black and white games are probably the best; funny and mostly playable in their own right (My favourite of his was “Keys Keys Keys”). There are good and bad in here, but no game is really “Bad”, so to speak.

You might not feel like playing all of them, but you should probably give these a shot, at least:
Alan Gordon – Duelling Sandwiches, Keys Keys Keys
dessgeega – here comes the judge
Eudaimon – Kill Yourself, Slide Puzzle Insanity: Special Edition
Haze Rever – Hungry Hedgehogs MMORPG
Jeremy “SpindleyQ” Penner – Don’t Stop Believing, Pick up the phone and die (pictured), Piano Tutor
Matthew “Shapermc” Williamson – Sad old man
Raphael Freight-Train Shinners – Emotional Rollercoaster
six – Shakespeare Shakespeare Revolution
Swimmy – Don’t hit the spikes, This game stars my penis

… hell, you should just try them all 😀 I was in stitches the whole time!

What’s not so good? It kinda stretches the “amateurish” interpretation of the B-Games concept to the max. It’s good, but then it can only be so good, if you know what I mean.

My evaluation: Definitely one of the highlights of the contest. I’m totally amazed at the scope of the games on offer – 100 games of any standard is a huge undertaking, but believe it or not, there are very few repeats, even though that was basically their original intention. Incredible!


Poizoned Mind – Pacian

The concept: You’ve been poisoned. Slow acting, but very deadly, according to Death, who accompanies you at the monorail station where the game begins. Before stepping into the afterlife, Death allows you to take one last look around Zone Five, the run down city where the game takes place.

What’s good? Everything, actually. It’s superbly well written, and consequently, lots of fun to explore. Even the music (various Beethoven Midi files which seem to have been at least partially chosen as a joke) suits the game really well. The author claims that the game has only one ending – and it does, I suppose – but there are many interesting and funny ways to get there. The game’s eight fleshed out characters joke, purr, and wax philiosophical about issues as diverse as death, Elvis’s mothership, and gonzo burgers.

What’s not so good? I’m having trouble seeing how the game interprets the theme of the contest. The only thing that seems to qualify is what the author calls “Unparalleled lyneWrap™ technology”, which results in practically every sentence incorrectly wrapping at the edge of the screen. It adds an air of amateurishness to the game that I guess the author felt it needed.

This is minor nitpicking, though. The game is excellent!

My evaluation: I don’t see a lot of people talking about this one on the forums, and it’s a shame, because it’s probably my personal favourite. I hope it isn’t overlooked when it comes to the voting.

The really amazing thing is that the author claims it’s his first game. In that case, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with when he starts on something serious! 🙂

These three are my favourites, but they’re not the only good games that have been submitted : here are a few more highlights that are worth looking at:


Space Barnacle – Golds

An excellent little platform shooter set in space. Again, I’m not quite sure how the author was interpreting “B-Game”, but he’s created something really good nevertheless.


Cottage… OF DOOM! – Haowan

Another very strong contender – Cottage of Doom is a shooter which seems to be roughly based on “Night of the Living Dead”. The niftiest thing about it is that you don’t just have to run out in the middle of a group of enemies and start shooting; to survive, you need to barricade the doors and windows and pick them off in small groups. It needs a little polish, but I had a lot of fun with it.


Gunlimb – Radnom

Play a torso, on a mission to avenge his limbs. Encapsulates everything that’s great about this contest 😀


Hickbilly Bride – Can-O-Spam

GOT SUM PRETTY DCENT LEVL DESIGN IN HERE


Weißer Punkt in der Schwarzlücke – Movius

Here’s something a bit different: A parody of arthouse gaming! Complete with director’s commentary, trailers for upcoming releases, a gallery and a lengthy credit sequence. Wish I’d thought of it 🙂

This is only the start of it – I’ve barely scratched the surface! Check out the rest here: TIGSource B-Games contest forum

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TIGSource B-Game Contest

TIGSource’s B-Game contest has now come to an end. Well, in this time zone, anyway.

I really loved the concept behind this one, and I wish I could have entered properly. No harm though. There’s nothing stopping me from continuing with my entry over the next few weeks!

Once all the big entries have come through tomorrow, I’ll write up a little post with some thoughts on my favourites.

[edit: By the way, here it is.]

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Surprise! I’m actually posting what and when I said I was going to post!

Ok, well, I said I’d post these three ideas, so I’m going to post them. Thinking about it, though, there’s only really one realistic option. I just don’t have time for game 1 or game 2. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

Game 1: The Soap Opera RPG

This idea plays on the “sincere” side of B-Movies that I mentioned in the last post. If time wasn’t a factor, I wouldn’t even hesitate to go with this one. I think this game has by far the most potential, at least for me.

Basically, it’s a short plot driven RPG in the vein of Pulp Fiction – five short stories within a story that intertwine with each other. The interesting thing about it would be how seriously it took itself: everything in the game would have a double meaning – every character’s name would be a reference to figure of Greek tragedy, every item would have significance and a detailed description – even the structure of the game would have meaning. The game, ultimately, would be about death, and coping with death. With that in mind, each of these five stories would be about a different stage of coping with great loss – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

Some of the things I was considering:

* The game would have a kitschy, soap opera style plot line. Every other scene would have a plot twist – the main bad guy killed your father, and then IS your father. The love interest is having an affair with your best friend, and then gets pregnant. And so on!

* Traditional elements of RPG design would be used to tell the story – as the plot went on, you would gain physical items called things like “Guilt” and “Remorse” – in one particularly dramatic cutscene, for example, you would be presented with a menu like this one:

* The game would ask a lot of rhetorical questions about politics, religion, morality, and things like that. It would use the word “sheeple” a couple of times.

* As the game went on, thing would get less and less coherent – near the end the whole thing would just be the main character in the middle of a black screen, mumbling and saying the title of the game a lot. Eventually the whole thing would break down into a stream of consciousness and dump you at the command prompt – but get this – for “effect”, it would dump you at an actual command prompt, like a picture of it or something, and just leave you there for a couple of minutes.

* This last bit is key: I wouldn’t be the designer. I’d create an alter ego to act as the designer, and little elements of this guy’s life would ever so subtly make it into the game. For example, while most of the characters would have fancy Roman or Greek names, there would be a few characters with ordinary names like Bob and Susan, who’d play the really detestable people in the game – like the “best friend” who cheats or the girlfriend who gets pregnant, or the end boss who’s trying to take over the world, or whoever. Also, the main character would basically be a copy of this fictional designer.

I really like this idea 🙂 I think it’s a fun interpretation of the contest’s theme, and potentially a very funny game. But there’s no way I can do it with my time constraints. No way.

Game 2: The awful, awful warioware style game

Another idea I liked is to play up the exploitation aspect (or bizarre aspect) of B-Movies – to make a game about doing something *awful*, as in starting a nuclear war or cheating on your taxes. None of those games seemed substantive enough for a whole game, though, so I didn’t really go anywhere with it. Until I thought about the warioware aspect, and it all fell together.

This game would just be a mash up of a few dozen minigames that got you to do really reprehensible things, but only for a few seconds at a time. A screen would come up with (for example) instructions to “deny the holocaust”, and you’d control a pen that had to scribble in a book for a few seconds to win.

Some examples of the minigames I’d thought about:

* Cheat on your taxes
* Steal an election
* Deny the Holocaust (Thanks Stephen!)
* Start a nuclear war
* Stop a war prisoner from escaping
* Lie to the electorate
* Rob a bank
* Shoot a puppy

… I honestly don’t know if I have the stomach for this game. I think it would have been kinda cool, but I’m such a wuss that I don’t even like listing horrible things. Anyway, this game would have taken too much time. So it’s not really an option either.

Game 3: The tribute to Ikiki

This is the game I’m almost certainly doing, if I do anything at all. It plays up the “amateurish” aspect of B-Movies… sorta. Actually, it would just be a simple game built around a slightly bizarre game mechanic. I’m thinking a big destructible world where you make things explode by headbutting them. I’d mess around with it, get it to just about work, and then make the whole game with it, similar to how people like Ikiki seem to approach their games.

This idea is a lot less ambitious than the others, but it’s the only one I have any hope of finishing. Also, it’s potentially the most fun to play out of the three. I also kinda like that I really have nothing planned here – I’ll probably end up making a good deal of the game’s content up as I go along. Which sounds like an interesting experiment to me. 🙂

By the way, all of these games are up for grabs if anybody else wants to do them!

I’d love some feedback on this. Is game three a decent enough choice? Or should I try to simplify one of the first two and go with that? Hell, are any of them any good?

Cheers for reading down this far, anyway 😀

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An intro

I’ve been thinking about what I could enter in this contest. I had a bit of trouble deciding exactly what a “B-Game” should be – different interpretations led me to different approaches, and as a result, I have not one, but three games I’m trying to choose between.

Also, I’ve managed to highlight a couple of core features that I think apply in all cases:

Number 1: B-Games should be Kitsch, not Camp. Essentially, a game in this style should take itself very seriously, as if the designer really believes he’s doing something groundbreaking. If he’s poking fun at amateur game design though, then it’s a parody, not a homage. So I think this is fundamental. Also, as far as I’m concerned, this approach is a lot funnier!

Number 2: A B-Game, by definition, I think, should be a “second grade” game – i.e. it should have a certain degree of amateurishness. After all, once your production values hit a certain point, you’re making an A-Game, regardless of what flaws the game might have.

Number 3: A sincere, unprofessional game isn’t necessarily a B-Game. One more thing is needed, I think – the game needs to be ever so slightly bizarre. It needs to head in a direction that normal games don’t usually go.

I’ll post my three game ideas tomorrow – it’s getting a bit late 😀

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Final Fantasy VII is camp, Final Fantasy VIII is Kitsch, Final Fantasy IX is Trash

I am so entering this.

Here’s the competition description, as quoted from the rules:

Description:

Just like cinema has its B-movies and cult cinema, video games has its B-games. They’ve got Ed Wood and Roger Corman, and we’ve got Jazzuo and MDickie. You’ve seen ’em, you’ve played ’em… we’re talking about games that are bad in the right way.

By popular demand, TIGSource is sponsoring a competition to celebrate the creation of B-games! We want to see some bad games with some great personalities! Broken gameplay that works; low budget graphics that titillate the primitive and perverted parts of our brains; outrageous themes beyond the ken of normal human beings. We want to see bad games with that certain “je ne sais quois.” Terrible, hilarious, sincere games that have the kind of moxie that can only come from the independent game community.

Do you have what it takes to make the baddest, baddest game there is?

Check out this topic at TIGSource for more information!

Apologies for the grouchy post a few days ago. I was just a little annoyed at myself for my perceived lack of progress. Stuff is still being worked on, though I’m working long hours at the moment so I don’t really have the time to do much of anything. But hell, in three weeks I’ll have all the time I could possibly want 😀

Watch this space – I’ll post a bit about my entry for this contest in the next few days.

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