Let Go Let Atari
Now I’m in the midst of doing stuff for this year’s Global Game Jam, but this morning I was still working away on my other current game, Lo-Fi Dick Fight. I’ve been pretty up and down about it as a game, sometimes thinking it was, if not a work of genius, at least something kind of hilarious and with a vague point to make, but other times thinking it (and I) was a piece of trash. Funny how that goes. Ha ha.
Anyway, I’m trying to write blog posts again, so just wanted to include one small observation about making the game. One thing that’s happened over the course of thinking about how to make it is oscillating wildly between “keep it simple” and the desire to make it into some kind of “proper” fighting game, with various moves and possibilities that would make it complex and interesting. I find the latter really distressing because I don’t know how to play or make fighting games, and yet I’m always drawn to it – it seems like a “natural” thing to do, probably thanks to watching that Super Smash Bros. documentary a wee while ago.
Anyway, one nice thing has been to return to the game that essentially inspired the aesthetic and general approach, Atari Basketball. The old crappy one, that is actually one of the more awesome Atari games (in my humble opinion). Anyway, the nice thing is to reflect on just how simple that game really is, and then to let that be my guide in Lo-Fi Dick Fight. In the basketball game you can just move and shoot (or jump if on defense). That’s the entirety of the game. You score points and there you go. Terrific.
The thing that really made my day this morning and that pulled me part way out of my latest despair was realising that Atari Basketball doesn’t even do y-sorting! If the players overlap, one player is just always on top of the other, no matter their relative “depth”. Something about that just made me feel so good about the possibilities of games and what’s “acceptable” and what isn’t. I immediately deleted the y-sorting line from my code and life just looked so much better.
Anyway, the plan is to finish this game fairly soon, although, of course, it will have to be a 10-in-1 cartridge affair, so I have to come up with modes. But I have thoughts.