Arcade Thang Retrospective

here it is its basically geometry wars lol lmao

im really happy with this, its polished, feels pretty tense and im really pleased it only took a single quiet weekend, it was very fun to make. ive still got game jam muscles babyyy

comparing the experience of this to making my other larger projects woke me up to a sort of survivorship bias that my games have - all the stuff ive shipped is simple platformers, pixel art, etc, because anything more complex or demanding is just... impossible to make presentable or robust. ive had friends say its lazy, but its just reality. im realising it has to be simple simple simple, or it just wont exist. since trying to make games with deeper systems, i think i personally try too hard to make a game with a Twist or something that's Never Been Done, systems-wise. this ends up with me hitting design walls which i dont have the skill to overcome, then i scrap the game. for now, it might be more worth it to copy games i love, with some mild tweaks to bump the game in a direction that i wish it was bumped

so!! ill keep it so much simpler from now on heehoo

tho................... it is really getting to me how game-y all of my work is. there's like, serious games, and then there's game-y games, yknow? i think im biased towards systems-y games because im an engineer. but not everyone is an engineer, yknow? i barely think about narrative, purpose or motivation because a systems sandbox is more than enough. im making things just for myself, which is fun, but i want other people to actually play my stuff!!

so, id like to put in more effort into figuring out what makes people want to play a game in the first place, and making a game that gives people something to talk about after playing it. this geometry game doesn't really inspire discussion, it's honestly just a fun not-too-challenging realtime reaction test with progression a la vampire survivors

but im not sure if vampire survivors is really what i want to make lol.. ive had my itchio-front-pagers and ive sorta had enough of "fun game it has nice Controls and Game Feel you should add a boss and-" comments.. i am so thankful for that though and had fun. but i think im beginning to focus on what i really want, which is my art having some sort of meaningful effect, even if it's only for a tiny number of people

which is hard!!!! im on step 0!!!!!!! i guess i can begin by giving my games any freaking story at all lol

my ideas for future games. there's a zero ranger screenshot, and 2 black and white drawings ive made. one of a fighter jet launching missiles at a huge geometric pyramid enemy, and another drawing showing a sketch of a giant woman boss heehoo

so for this geometry game, ive got a small idea for a fuller version if people enjoy the roughbox prototype. it's an old (2020 old!! wtf i grew grey hairs looking through my folders to find my old mockups, i thought this was like 1 year ago) idea i had about a pilot battling eva-style angels who invade earth. theres one pilot and shes terrified, barely putting up a fight against the angels and beating herself up over her failures. she slowly gets more powerful but not much more confident.. her friends are reassuring her on the intercom and explain to her - while yea she's failing, she's the only pilot who actually showed up, every other pilot was too scared. she's failing but failure is a part of trying. its a story of realising self worth!! idk!! its important to me!! i read and write at a 3rd grade level its actually so embarassing /srs

anyway, i think ive got the whole bubbly polishy gameplay-y enjoying-ur-time-while-playing thing down i think, but i want to cultivate my art having a lasting effect, or just giving people something to talk about - even if the only thing to talk about is how Bad it is. ive been so scared of putting emotion into my games for those exact reasons, but i think id welcome it now.. thankfully, its something i can learn, given enough time and practice. i dont even know where to begin.

which is very exciting!

goodbye eri screenshot, 'its missing a pinch of fantasy, dont you think?'
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