So, this is a game I made. I've been working on it for awhile and I just finished it. It's called "Jumpman". There are mac and PC versions and you can get it at:http://runhello.com/
There's also a video of the game at that page.
The idea of this game ( if it's OK for me to get pretentious for a minute
) was to kind of imagine this platonic form of the generic "really old platformer"*, like from the age of the 2600 and the Apple //, and then to try to take the world that these games described sort of "at face value". All those old games (for hardware reasons, of course) seemed to kind of take place in a world of floating neon blocks where faceless creatures slide endlessly back and forth for no reason. I wanted to imagine a world that was really just built that way.
The thought was to kind of take all the things that have become possible in games in the last 29 years-- physics, 45 degree angles, a z axis-- and bring the new technology into an early-80s-style platformer while at the same time changing the platformer's basic nature as little as possible. The hope is to try to make you believe that every 2600-era platformer would have looked like this if only you'd pulled the camera back about 4 feet. Like, every old game had something where you could walk off one side of the screen and suddenly appear on the other, right? What was actually happening there? Did space in the world where Pac-Man lives just happen to loop back on itself every ten feet? What would happen if you just took the camera and turned it a little bit to the right, would you see Pac-Man duplicated every 10 feet stretching off into the distance forever...?
The gameplay in Jumpman is, as the premise would suggest, pretty standard for a 2D platformer (although, about as hard as I could make it) but there are a few new mechanics added that are hopefully fun. Most of these have to do with exploring the idea of taking a single "level" from a platformer and trying to bring out all the possibilities latent in it, thinking, if you just jostle the components or look at it from a different angle it becomes something totally different. Like, if you think about it, the levels in these games were basically just abstract blocks-- in the days before those fancy-schmancy tiles
there was nothing really to distinguish wall from ceiling. You could take a level map from one of those games, hold it sideways or upside down, and half the time you'd have an equally valid level map.
So, Jumpman outright lets you do that. There are controls to "turn the world" in the middle of play and rotate things such that the walls become floors and ceilings. In a lot of levels you have to do this to progress. There's some neat things you can do with this, like sorta you can walljump by just tilting the wall just enough to get footing on it. Etc.
Anyway the end result of all this is a game that (I hope
) is built out of just a few simple, familiar components, but that comes at these components with just
enough of a weird perspective to make some really fun and unique and occasionally fairly complicated situations emerge.
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If anyone cares, I started making this game about a year ago after I played "Passage", which kind of blew my mind and showed me just how complicated a really simple game can get (this + Knytt were basically the only modern indie games I had played at that point) and at about the same time a particularly sadistic romhack called "Kaizo Mario World" (which is really fun when you give it a chance!). The early-80s graphics were partially
at first a way to make a video game with very few art resources, but the more I got into the project the more the game sort of turned into an intentional love letter to the apple // games
I'd played as a kid and the more I kinda started to like the aesthetic on its own terms. I'm now actually planning to try to play with the whole alternate-dimension-of-apple-// thing more in future projects (Hence "RUN HELLO"...).
Anyway thanks for listening to me ramble, and I hope you enjoy this