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LD37 – Life As It Could Be

Ludum Dare rolls round again – this time the theme was ‘One Room’.

I’ve got to admit that I really didn’t like the theme – I don’t think it’s really that inspirational and isn’t going to inspire the most original creations out of developers, but a theme is a theme.

I simply used it in the sense that everything stays on one screen mainly, but also the topic of life and that you only get one life and kind of ‘possibility space’ to choose from as it were. So I made a game where I tried to model the challenges, choices, and balancing decisions of life. The walls change unpredictably every few seconds (which I think works really well from a technical point of view actually!) and there are a range of pickups for you to collect. However, the highest score is yielded when they are collected in a balanced way. Just working and earning money all the time will not give you the highest score in the end, for example!

The two enemies – the skull and the black dog, that stalk you throughout ‘life’ didn’t work as well as I might have liked, but I had to have something!

I liked using a pure retro-aesthetic for this – inspired by Golden Era vertical arcade games such as BombJack and Donkey Kong. I felt as though it left me able to really focus on modelling my message in the mechanics, without worrying about impressive sound and art (although they both could have been better!). I also think the retro-aesthetic made it more fun for most players.

The simplicity of the controls also helped with this (just the cursor keys), and some of you will notice a reference to antiquity in the instructions on the start screen 😉 .

You can make your own decision by playing the game here.

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