Center for Games & Playable Media
- Author(s): Chu, Winston
- Zhou, Jun
- et al.
For our game, my partner and I chose the word “Soulmate” as our theme. In order to encapsulate this word, we decided to make a platformer with a bit of a twist. In our game the player is put into a calming world with platforming challenges that get progressively more difficult. In the game, the player controls 2 characters on separate “screens” and does their best to navigate and beat each level. To complete levels, a player must have patience, awareness, and skill in order to move on. Some obstacles players must face include, bugs that move back and forth, deadly pitfalls, spikes, and moving spike bars. Many of the tricky jumps in the game take patience to make rather than speed running it through. This allows the player to absorb more of their surrounding and hopefully feel more immersed. For our, aesthetic we went for a common looking platformer. Rather than have something sci-fi or fantastical, we wanted to use a happy and innocent look in order to capture our theme of soulmate. Because we were also limited on animation possibilities and didn't use too much text, our game is more gameplay oriented rather than story oriented. Together, these elements create a serene game with mainly challenging gameplay based elements. As previously mentioned the goal of this game was to make a platformer that had mechanics reflecting the theme word of “soulmate”. Doing this reflects the reading on Metaphor vs. Mechanics and how games such as Risk, Monopoly, and Magic the Gathering all integrate their key themes into their gameplay. Personally I believe that our metaphorical mechanics is very strong. In this game we also tried to make characters that the player could also relate themselves with. Typically, when thinking of a soulmate, one tends to think about a male and female couple but to help more people relate to the game, we chose to use basic, cute stick figure looking sprites that are human. In the game there is also very basic mechanics that we went over in class. Our game is a very simple platformer at the surface but with a twist that leads to many new possibilities. Since we chose the word soulmate, we decided to use that metaphor and turn it into a new “mechanic” by adding a second player that is bound to the first. In addition to controlling the second character, the player must watch out for the second character as the two characters move and die together. Not only does this help extend the soulmate metaphor, but it also creates new mechanics and adds depth to gameplay. In many ways the game is still similar to classic platformers such as Super Mario, in that they share common enemies and ways to die. However, since there is a second player added in our game more depth is added to this classic genre. Since both character’s deaths are linked, this create a puzzle for the player to navigate. They must be cognizant at all times, watching and thinking about where each character will land. Although not added, more mechanics and interactions between both “screens” could be implemented. An idea for this could be something like a player on the top screen being able to push a box onto a button allowing the second player to have access to something. This would add a more puzzly element to the game, in turn adding even more depth overall. Initially our game was too difficult as we had gotten used to the mechanics in the game so that’s what we mainly focused on redesigning. In our final game people said that it was just the right amount of challenging to keep them going. Some people made remarks on the only decent art on which I would have to agree. However for the most part the gameplay seemed to be the highlight as we hoped it would be. Others also liked how the mechanic of 2 people moving together was implemented but it may be interesting to see what it would be like if the game was multiplayer and if it had more interactions between the two screens. Overall I think the feedback was generally good because of the people we asked. I believe that there is still a lot of room for improvement in areas, particularly in art. Other things that could be added are more mechanics and maybe more levels for those mechanics to be placed in. Some also remarked that the end screen should be something a little more impactful that just a white screen and I agree with that.