Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Game Dev Quote of the Week: Bits of Awesomeness Edition

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 11, 2014

This Game Dev Quote of the week comes from a team effort by the wild, weird, awesome guys at Dejobaan Games, circa 2010, in a post-mortem about one of my favorite indie games, AaaaAAaaaaaah! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity.

An excellent video game isn’t just about presenting interesting rules — it’s about delighting the player with bits of awesomeness all over the place. The best arcades did this well during the ’80s.

In their heyday they were like miniature Las Vegases for kids, filled with interesting details. At the core were the games — but they weren’t just all dumped into a dusty warehouse. Step inside one now — the decor (tacky, yet awesome) starts with a pitch black room with wavy neon lights and disco balls. The cabinets are densely-packed, with illustrations sprawling over them. Peek around to the front of each one, and you get a glimpse of a ridiculous matrix of lights playing out. Off in one corner of the room is an illuminated glass cube filled with plush toys and a gleaming claw.

While you’re picturing the ambient glow, listen to the sounds of a dozen games beckoning with their distinctive sounds. The best arcades were spaces to explore. And like that, our favorite games delight us all over the place — it’s a little like stumbling across little Christmas presents wherever we go.

We tried to do this with Aaaaa!, starting with a solid core of gameplay. If we could then make people grin at something as silly as the options menu — and then apply that to all the details — people would want to keep playing the game just to see what’d happen.

So! BASE jumpers must lose a lot of teeth — why not make teeth the game’s currency? Elevator music in the level selection menu? Sure! And we included a guided anti-meditation, in case you lived a life of too much relaxation, and wanted to feel as though bugs were crawling around your body. Each little piece made the game stand out a little more.

Another example of excellence in this respect is the game Rock of Ages – which I think might be kind of a boring game if it weren’t for all the delightful details.

You can read more in the Aaaaaaa! Post-mortem. Full of little bits of awesome!


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  • Felix said,

    Having spent a lot of time in arcades as a kid, that quote strikes a chord with me. No, I wasn’t going to play the games; heck, I never had any money to spend on them. But the experience… now that was something special.