Category Archives: Game Idea
That’s possibly the worst title I’ve ever come up with.
Considering the types of shenanigans that typically occur during Black Friday, I was the only one of my friends that was looking forward to working when my store opened on November 29th. There just had to be a good story waiting for me when the doors opened at midnight, and I’d just had two on-the-scene reporting articles in the previous two weeks. Surely, Black Friday would come through just like the releases of the next-gen consoles.
However, you may have noticed that my blog is strangely absent of a Black Friday write-up. It wasn’t that I didn’t go or didn’t feel like following through; it was that the event went so unbelievably smoothly that I had zero content to work with. The customers at my store were very polite, kept their places in line, and calmly accepted the news once we ran out of PS4s and Xbox Ones. I didn’t imagine that it’d be enough to formulate a headline, so I decided to leave it be.
So, why am I writing about it now? Because I recently crossed paths with this.
Apparently there was a story to tell, but it wasn’t in my area, right? …Right?
Well everyone, it’s time to talk about Syfy original movies. Love ’em or hate ’em, one thing we can all agree on is that they’re prolific as hell and we all know at least one person that likes them. If you’re reading this article, that one person is me. Yes, I admit it, I’m a big fan of Syfy’s unrelenting deluge of absurd melodrama, provided I have a friend to watch with (those movies are boring as shit when you watch them alone). I will contest to the grave that Syfy’s shark movies are the best of the worst.
However, if you guys have learned anything about me by now, it’s that all roads eventually lead back to video games. As I sat in my living room this summer, watching sharks twirl through the sky and attack beach communities and bite two children in half only to leave their legs running around like beheaded chickens (yes, that happened in one of them), I couldn’t help consider how these antics would fit into some of my favorite video games. Since I apparently have way too much time on my hands, I now proudly present to you five game-movie alliances that are at least absurd as the movies themselves.
Now is as good a time as any to let you guys in on a common saying of mine. When I say that “Japan Happened,” I’m referring to that special brand of over-the-top fun and absurdity that it seems only the land of the rising sun is able to produce. If you’re unfamiliar with this sort of aesthetic, a quick glance at certain animes and Japanese game shows should be more than enough to fill you in.
This week, everyone’s buzzing about Japan World Cup 3.
Is it a game? It is a movie? Is it a cultural phenomenon? Whatever it is, it’s definitely a prime example of Japan Happened.
Since I posted that news blurb, I got to reminiscing about the NES game released by Capcom in 1990. Little Nemo: The Dream Master was one of my favorite games as a kid, mostly for the novelty of transforming into different animals to use their powers, although I never did beat it back then. Now that the Nemo comics are getting a revival, I’ve decided to see how well it stands up against my knowledge of game design.
The results are… mixed.
With the EVO Championship Series making a bang over the weekend, it’s hard not to reflect over fighting games you love — or in my case, games you would’ve liked to love.
Earlier in the year, EVO left the coveted 8th game slot open in favor of a donation drive. Rather than pick the final game themselves, each game was given a page whereby supporters could ‘vote’ for their desired title via charity donations. The money raised went to fund breast cancer research, and the title to pull the most donations would take the final game slot. One of the games on the list quickly pulled ahead of all the others. That game was My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic.
My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic is a fan-made creation of the dev team Mane6. It originally started as a joke image, but MLP fans are known for nothing if not their extraordinary devotion. The game has been in production for the last two years, with occasional screenshots, demo videos, and playable torrents floating around the internet in that time. It’s been noteworthy for its exceptional art and animation, move sets detailed to each character’s personality, and its ingenuity in building a fighting format for quadrupeds — something yet to be experimented with in the world of gaming.
That is, of course, until Mane6 received a cease & desist order from Hasbro just weeks before the initial release.
Project Length: 20 Weeks (10/16/12 – 3/12/13)
Team: Rotten Ideas (5 Members)
My Roles: Concept art, Story, Level Design, Character Development, Set Pieces, NPCs, Easter Eggs
End Product: Game Demo
In the winter of 2012/13, I was part of a game design team called Rotten Ideas. Over the course of 20 weeks, we developed Shape’Scape, a multi-character puzzle-platformer. I was responsible for the story, character designs, facial expressions, NPCs, set piece assets, and about 30-40% of the level design. I also participated in the overall concepting of the game, but that was a shared process amongst the entire team.
Project Length: 4 Weeks (7/12/11 – 8/11/11)
My Roles: Gameplay Mechanics, UI Design
End Product: Full Interface Conversion & Demo
One of the most important elements of gaming is the user interface. Even an immaculately designed game can come crashing down if it controls poorly or the player can’t ascertain the information they need. As a test of skill, this project was a challenge to take a console-based game — one that has plenty of buttons available — and translate it to an Apple product format. The game needed to convert logically and remain as intuitive to play as it was on its home platform.
To meet this challenge, I chose the 2008 Prince of Persia. Neverminding that this is one of my favorite games, I felt that it had a control scheme that I could condense without losing the essence of the game itself. Prince of Persia is and always has been about fluidity of motion, and as such I believed it would benefit from simplified controls anyway.
Project Length: 6 Weeks (1/29/13 – 3/14/13)
My Roles: Gameplay Mechanics, Level Design, Play Testing, Writing (Content & Layout)
End Product: Playable Board Game, Complete Game Manual
This project originated as an exercise in creating additional level maps for the game Portal 2 that utilized a game element that had been cut from the final product. My teacher had suggested to me that I prototype my ideas in a board game fashion, and with that in mind, I decided to make them out of Legos. It was fast, simple, and wouldn’t fall apart easily.
Unexpectedly, as I built my level designs, I began thinking about how Portal would work if it really WERE a board game. Before I knew it, my mind was teeming with ideas about how to translate the design into a unique physical format while maintaining the essence of the original. My project completely changed gears so I could explore the idea in full.
I realize that style is a very subjective topic, but I do believe that after having spent 20 of my 27 years of life following Sonic the Hedgehog, I have some degree of intuition on what helps and hurts the series. (Then again, my rampant textwalls in my other sections probably illustrated that a long time ago.)
Project Length: 5 Weeks (10/19/12 – 11/16/12)
Team: HotKeys (6 Members)
My Roles: Public Relations, Writing & Documentation, Character Development
End Product: Game Design Document
In the fall of 2012, I worked on a team of six to develop a mock-up FPS for the Xbox 360 over the course of five weeks. My team, known as HotKeys, developed a game called Relapse, revolving around a zombie-like virus having broken out in a military facility. It is up to Sgt. Jax, a soldier and engineer, and Dr. Mirez, a doctor and medical researcher, to put a stop to the outbreak before the infected make it outside of the base.