My game graveyard, part two

Last week I wrote a post about how I have so many unfinished projects. Then I wrote part one of this series, where I looked at some video game ideas I had abandoned. Today I’ll look at more.

Duelin’ Poohs

A crap game I hacked together while I was trying to learn to use MonoGame. Two players play on a shared keyboard (I have fond childhood memories of this control scheme) as two differently colored versions of Winnie the Pooh: Sad Pooh and Blue Pooh.

Each Pooh can shoot little pellets at the other, which will cause the struck Pooh to briefly grow in size. Each Pooh also has a two buttons to slowly grow and shrink the size of the opposing Pooh. One interesting thing you could do was actually shrink the opposing Pooh down until he was a negative size—at which point he would actually invert and start growing again! (You can see this happening to Blue Pooh in the screenshot below).

Like Vernal Luncheon, Duelin’ Poohs features an original soundtrack, this time composed expressly for the game. I cannot fathom how I could augment or improve this game in any respect. It’s strangely fun for about 10 minutes (your mileage may vary). I consider it my only finished game (not counting all my childhood GameMaker games… which are a story for another time).

Duelin’ Poohs soundtrack


This one was ambitious. Around the time I had this idea, I was getting into the YouTube channel Game Maker's Toolkit. GMTK covers fascinating game design topics such as how games generate novel content, an interest of mine at the time. I had recently played Hollow Knight, which became one of my all-time favorite games. GMTK had an excellent video detailing the world design of Super Metroid, a major inspiration for Hollow Knight.

All this conspired to make me want to create a game of my own that took place in an open 2D world like Hollow Knight or Super Metroid, but where everything was procedurally generated. The world, the game areas, the NPCs, the enemies, the bosses, the powerups, even the textures of the walls would be procedurally generated. Automatically generating content that feels natural & hand-designed is already a difficult problem in any of these specific cases, but it really compounds when you want to generate everything. I spent a lot of time brainstorming ways to solve each of those problems, continually coming up with more places I could use generated content as I went.

What I didn’t do was spend a ton of time building anything. One thing I did end up building was a neat algorithm for generating the world map. It would decide the relative placements of each game area, the connections between them, and the powerups required to pass these various connections. It was only a tiny fraction of what I had envisioned the game being, but I do think it actually did a good job of creating natural & novel world layouts each time, so I was pretty pleased with it.

Untitled Rhythm Game

A couple years ago I joined a game jam based around the Game Boy Advance, where participants would build a game for the actual GBA system. In preparation for this, I ended up learning a lot about the Game Boy Advance hardware, which was a fun blast of retro coding for me.

Originally, I thought I might make a game where you direct a band of thieves in a tower defense-inspired style. That ended up seeming too complicated given my limited knowledge of the platform I was working with, so I decided to go simpler. I thought a rhythm game could be easy and fun, and would let me focus on making the soundtrack, which I was excited about trying to do with GBA hardware.

Once again, I ended up spending the majority of my energy on the preparation end rather than the building end, and the game never panned out. In this case, though, I think I got what I wanted out of the experience, since I learned so much. The game jam is annual, so there’s always next year to take another shot at it.

Have you ever tried to make a game of any kind? Which of these ideas do you think sounds the most fun? Do you ever spend too much time & energy planning and not enough executing? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​