Category Archives: kotm

escape from the lesbian gaze

you’ve heard of the male gaze. but that’s old hat. are you ready for the big new thing in objectification? it’s the lesbian gaze – that’s right, the lesbian gaze! it’s bold! it’s exciting! you’ll wonder why you ever settled for the male gaze in the first place!

escape from the lesbian gaze is a game i made for this month’s klik of the month klub. it’s a stealth game. it was made in klik & play, so it won’t run in windows 7. sorry!

glorious trainwrecks dot exe

this steam greenlight bullshit reminded me of something i wrote in rise of the videogame zinesters:

I want zinesters to find new, inventive ways to distribute games. Fuck Steam and the App Store! Let’s invent new networks for letting people sell their games online. Let’s bring back CD compilations of games, available at your local co-op or coffee shop or by mail. And let’s take advantage of what our predecessors, the shareware authors, never had: a fast, centralized Internet to distribute our games for free.

glorious trainwrecks dot exe is exactly the kind of inventiveness i want to see more of. made by mike meyer, it automatically indexes glorioustrainwrecks.com and allows you to browse games by event – whether they were made for last month’s klik of the month or for the gdc pirate kart or whenever – read their descriptions and download and play them instantly. glorioustrainwrecks is an amazing site that empowers everyone to make games, and uses monthly two-hour game-making events to help authors understand that creativity is more important than polish and presentation. naturally, the site itself is kind of a mess – it’s kind of like the junkyard scene in “labyrinth,” or the labyrinth scene in “barbarella.” which is why mike’s program is so useful – it’s a way to explore that labyrinth. there are amazing things to find.

naturally, there are other problems still to be solved – a games marketplace like steam that anyone could participate in without having to pay a hundred dollars would be tremendous. but a program that instantly connects the user to a thousand weird, free games to which anyone can contribute is a wonderful place to start.

put on your make-up in the dark

klik of the month, the two-hour game-making party that glorious trainwrecks throws every month, is somehow five years old! actually, i don’t think it’s that surprising – i think it speaks to a desire for more spaces where people can dabble in messy, judgement-free game creation. some of my favorite games have come out of this weird experiment – so have, i think, a lot of my own best games. in fact, the game that sparky and i are collaborating on right now began as a klik of the month project.

my entry for klik of the month’s five year celebration is put on your make-up in the dark, a game based on true events. yesterday, as i was putting on my make-up, the power went out. i spent a couple more seconds applying cosmetics, then realized i could just go in the other room which had both natural lighting and a mirror.

secret hint: you can press F9 to save a screenshot of the game for posterity. i know somewhere in game maker is a function that would let me just drop a screenshot at the end of every game, but i couldn’t be bothered to figure it out.

my favorite game of klik of the month 60 is putt-putt saves the stew, a game jeremy made with his four-and-a-half-year-old kid that i think epitomizes what is so wonderful about the glorious trainwrecks attitude toward creation. check out what jeremy wrote about the game: “i get the feeling eric’s kind of tired of working on the game, and i don’t want to push him if he’s not enjoying the process.” compare / contrast to some other game developer / child collaborations maybe?

creature racing!

a week ago i stumbled on this brilliant two-player game michael brough made for the gdc pirate kart. it’s a simple abstraction of a sports game – moving their pieces on a grid, players try to push a ball into a goal. there’s hidden complexity: pieces can push other pieces, including the opponent’s pieces, and can even push whole rows of pieces, ball included.

and the way he uses randomness or chance – such an important part of many of michael’s games – is really smart: players take turns moving their pieces, but each time a player’s turn comes around she gets a random number of moves. if you knew that your opponent was going to have the same number of moves as you next turn, the outcome of any strategy would be immediately provable and the game would turn into a much more boring numbers game. also, one of the player’s three pieces is chosen as the active piece for a round – the player can switch to a different one, but this costs one “move.” and there’s risk involved, because the piece that takes over is chosen at random.

for this klik of the month i wanted to make a really really simple abstract sports game. i started on an abstract two-player wrestling game: each player had a randomly-shaped body that acted as a barrier to the other player’s randomly-shaped body, and both were trying to outmaneuver their opponent to reach a goal area. it was similar to the first screen in dys4ia – but getting it to work in game maker was kind of an ordeal. then jim showed up.

someone asked what he’d been working on, and jim replied that the week before he’d made a four-player, single button racing game. sparky looked up from his twine game and asked, “a single button for each player?” immediately, i realized i wanted to make a four-player racing game in which all players use a single button to move their creatures. we talked out the idea. you’d have to mash the keyboard to make your creature move, meaning you could overshoot and move one of your opponents’ creatures by accident when it switched. i knew how to decide the order in which the players’ creatures moved: it would switch at random.

i gave up on the wrestling game and took two more hours to make creature racing! it’s not entirely dissimilar to chicanery, so while it uses the spacebar as the one button by default, i think it’d work better mapped to a dance pad or pop’n music controller. for a two-player variation, give each player two creatures.

realistic female first person shooter

months ago we collected over 300 games by 100 people to submit to the igf as the first ever IGF PIRATE KART. it got a lot of attention for games that might never have otherwise gotten it. but unfortunately, it wasn’t chosen to appear at the 2012 gdc as one of the igf finalists. but the joke’s on gdc – pirate kart organizer excitemike raised a bunch of money and rented out space on the expo floor, there to present THE GDC PIRATE KART to an audience of industry suits, marketers, coders and outliers.

my first game for the gdc pirate kart was based on a post on a “men’s rights” forum, men going their own way. forum member “xtc” conjectured about what a first-person shooter with a woman lead character would be like – not one of these unrealistic “strong female character” games forced on us by a feminist-controlled media, but a game that depicts how a woman might actually perform in a role we’re accustomed to seeing male characters in. as soon as i read the forum post, i knew i had to make this game a reality. click here to download realistic female first-person shooter! (windows only for now.)

and this was only the first day of game-making for the pirate kart! well, actually, people have been adding games to it for the past month, and they can continue to do so up until and after the kart appears on the showroom floor! the kiosk has been enchanted with some kind of voodoo that will allow it to download games from the website even as it runs at gdc! wow! join us in making games that will be played at gdc 2012. let’s give the industry some new ideas about what a game can look like, and who can make one.

shoot game legacy

it was klik of the month today, and after playing risk legacy – a version of risk where players place stickers on the board during the course of play, permanently changing the game – i wanted to make a game that tracked the layout of the game world from one play to the next. and to do it in two hours (full disclaimer: it took me an extra half-hour to finish) i had to do something pretty simple and not super interesting.

it’s a two-player shoot game. (windows only, cause i used game maker.) shoot the other player to win.

but there are also obstacles – yellow walls and moving purple things. you can shoot yellow walls to turn them into purple things, and you can shoot while a bullet is already in the air to turn it into a wall. the layout of the walls, purple things, and purple thing mush at the end of the game is saved to disk. the next time the game is played, that layout is read back into the game – but all the purple things become walls and the purple thing mush becomes new purple things, or something. i don’t actually remember the details, but the game environment somehow cycles between games.

oh, and the game doesn’t quit on its own, because i was in a hurry. when a player gets shot the screen turns the color of the winning player. then you can hit escape to quit. and run it again to see the end conditions of the last game become the starting conditions of the next.

fountain and gauntlet 4

klik of the month happened today. the first game i made was for inclusion into the igf pirate kart. it’s a physics game.

the second game i made fit the theme i suggested for this month’s klik: violating atari’s intellectual property, in honor of the cease & desist pongvaders received this past week. this second game is gauntlet – but for four players! it’s not as crazy as it sounds, the players actually move as a unit. one player is given control over the up button, one over down, one over left and one over right. and then there’s a button to make everyone shoot. by working together, the players can navigate the gauntlet of obstacles that await them! because of the unique four-player play, i naturally called the game gauntlet 4.

lazer bitches

klik of the month snuck up on me this month. (i thought it was next week.) but fortunately i was able to come up with a terrible game idea just in time!

i finished reading through hitmen for destiny this past week. there’s a pretty good GAME THEORY stand-off in that comic between two characters armed with pistols. one of the pistols is loaded with bullets, the other with blanks. neither character is willing to fire her gun, naturally, because there’s a fifty-fifty chance of revealing her opponent’s gun to be the lethal one. i wanted to make a game about a stand-off.

LAZER BITCHES is a game for two players. each player is a LAZER BITCH armed with a LAZER GUN. but a LAZER BITCH also has the reflexes of a JAGUAR. if one LAZER BITCH fires, the other will immediately retaliate! one player uses the arrow keys and one uses wasd, but they both share the shoot button, the spacebar. the overlapping controls make the game reminiscent of my earlier this little piggy.

thanks to radix for the flash version. get a friend and play LAZER BITCHES. that is what we call FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS.

other games this month: spindleyq collaborated with his almost-four-year-old to produce a game about a chimp riding a unicorn to a castle on pluto, and L made a variation on my knife-tossing game that replaces the knives with feathers, which is the kind of edit i’m jealous of not having thought of.