In another effort to kind of avoid the weird secrecy I constantly find myself indulging in as regards new games, allow me to briefly outline what I’m doing for this new game(s). In essence, it occurred to me while at a café (okay, Starbucks) in Birmingham that it would be hilarious to make games based on mishearings/manglings of famous Indie games. And you know me, if I think something would be hilarious, I’m on it.
So I’ve been working on what I’m tentatively titling the Mumble Indie Bungle for the last, I don’t know, three weeks perhaps? I’m working from this big list of potential game titles that I came up with mostly in Birmingham but also more recently. I had settled on six games (you can see my amazing design sketches at the top of this post – that’s how I roll, baby, high fidelity), but over time I’ve whittled it down to five for various reasons (definitely including “aw, shit, I can’t work out how to do that one”). For ongoing reasons of secrecy I don’t think I want to tell you the titles of the games. I may get over that in time.
Anyway, the process has been a really fun design challenge because it’s all a bit backwards. In essence, you come up with a funny messed-up version of a famous game title and go from there. One of my supervisors actually told me this was a good way to write papers too (well, the “pick the title first” bit, rather) and I firmly believe there is truth to that. The benefit, so far, is that it’s kind of forcing me to make games a little more outside my comfort zone because the “misheard” names tend to suggest something specific, independently of what I might want to make.
The idea for the collection, in keeping with the titles, is that it’s meant to be this set of crappy indie games that someone perhaps bought for you, mistaking them for the originals. (But I want to at the same time very clearly make sure I don’t accidentally really trick someone. I think it’s pretty unlikely, so don’t worry.) So you might excitedly unwrap your new bundle of games to find something like Subpar Meat Boy and Flour. (Instead of Super Meat Boy and Flower.) Not that I’m using those two titles, though both were originally near the top of the list.
The challenge for me, then, is to make the game that fits the title, and that is also somehow “wrong” and would fit into this odd, misshapen bundle. As I said, it’s been quite good practice for pushing around outside what I might “normally” make (though, being honest, most of the games are very much the kind of thing I find amusing of course). As of now I’ve finished three of them and am finally making headway through the fourth. And I pretty much know how the fifth should be, so we’re getting there.
There’s one extra twist involved in the bundle, actually, but I’ll keep that a secret for now.