tiny games, terraria houses, and quarantine life

yeah, i know i forgot this blog existed for several months but let's just disregard that (nobody reads it anyway!)

this year i am going to try to FINALLY clear some of my game backlog! i have so many really good games that I haven't played and I want to.

the thing is, it's just so hard to focus sometimes, especially if they're difficult and require a lot of concentration, or they're heavily story-driven and have a lot of cutscenes. I don't really know a way around that, short of suddenly having inexhaustible energy and possibly access to ADHD meds, so i guess i will just try to push through as much as possible when i can.

games to start: – Hollow Knight, which is supposed to be really hard and really good – Graveyard Keeper, which my awesome partner got me for christmas – The Walking Dead, which I have actually technically started but only a tiny bit. I binge-read the comics while really sick with flu earlier this month, but have heard the games are actually better – Crea. Mmm, delicious Terraria-alikes.

games to attempt to finish, or at least progress in: – Life Is Strange. I have managed to avoid spoilers and I really want to know how it ends. – Portal 2, because I'm the last person on earth who hasn't finished it. – FUCKING SPELUNKY THIS IS THE YEAR I FINISH YOU – Baba Is You. might need some hints but I'm gonna try. – maybe the goose game?? – The Sexy Brutale. time to finish this fucker and find out what's going on. – Cultist Simulator. I was playing this all the time before I got sick and couldn't focus on it, i want to pick it back up. – idk, maybe I should do something with Skyrim other than murderhobo my way around the country stabbing people and stealing their stuff – Gorogoa. I actually stopped playing this on purpose because it was so lovely I didn't want it to be over, but i think maybe it's time. – Celeste! maybe I'll cave and use the easy settings just to increase the chance of ever actually finishing it. – The Iconoclasts. supposed to be really good though I found the controls hard to use. – Heaven Will Be Mine. i have absolutely no excuse for not having already finished this, and i loved the absolute fuck out of We Know The Devil so, you know, gonna do this.

Also I'm super upset that I can't buy Baba Is You until I get paid on Wednesday. :C

So hey, turns out I definitely really fucking love Bitsy and “making something in it” turned out to be actually making like, five things. One of which I did for a game jam and it somehow came... 5th, out of 56?! What the fuck. Apparently a bunch of people liked this tiny 60-second long blob of interactive sadness, because they keep leaving really really super nice comments on it.

I love just how many things you can do with Bitsy and how many different things people have managed to turn it into with various hacks and mods and just clever use of its existing elements, but I also actually really love the basic concept of it existing to make little 'games and worlds' where you can 'walk around and talk to people and be somewhere.' Like, just the idea of making a tiny little digital, pixel-y place where you can wander around and look at things and interact with stuff even if there isn't ultimately a plot or a goal, is really appealing to me.

(... in the spirit of this, I have made a tiny haunted house. It'd be cool if I could ever come up with a plot or some gameplay to go with it, but if not I still kinda like it just as it is.)

well I sure just found out about the existence of Bitsy and holy shit I'm in love with every game ever made in it. they're all so fucking retro-y charming and/or weird and/or evocative and lovely.

gonna make something in it myself as soon as I know what I want the plot to be.

I spent the entire weekend (ok, maybe not the ENTIRE weekend) making a cute little platformy thing with pixel graphics and I'm super fucking proud of it, but I... also want to make some scribbly hand-drawn stuff again? pixel art is fucking hard.


you are a tiny seaslug who has just heard about the Fanta can in the Marianas Trench and is going to clean the place the hell up.

(no of course I don't make all my games aquatic themed so they'll work with the url! i would never. cough)

me a couple of weeks ago: oh wow I don't really know if this is a stupid idea and I can't make games but this flatgame jam thing looks really cute and... maybe I could... download something?

me now: making my fifth game, entering the Ren'py jam just for the hell of it, roaming restlessly searching for more jams to enter so I can inflict my shitty platform skillz on the world once more

so I'm kind of on a small interactive fiction kick lately and I stumbled across Seedship, and it is so tiny and thoughtful and good that I really wanted to mention it here!

the basic concept: you are the AI of a spaceship which is carrying 1000 frozen humans through space after Earth's demise. your job is to check out the planets you come across and find the best one for them to land on and start a new colony. as you wait longer and scan more planets, you can slowly upgrade your scanners to find better options, but the ship will also be damaged over time due to random events – you might lose scanners, bits of the scientific or cultural databases onboard, or even some of your colonists if the wrong part of the ship gets damaged. so you want to wait a while instead of settling for the first planet you see and freezing/suffocating/exploding – but not too long, or the damage will fuck you over just as much as choosing a completely unsuitable planet would.

that's it, that's the whole game. once you've chosen humanity's new home, the game tells you how they got on and where their society ended up. so far I've been enslaved by hostile aliens, created an iron-age collectivist utopia and a whole bunch of stuff in between.

a lot of the reviews for the mobile app said things like 'it's boring after the first couple times' but I can't really agree; I spent about two straight hours replaying it just trying to get a happier ending for my frozen refugee friends. (each game only lasts about 5-10 minutes, so that was a good few playthroughs). after a while I imagine I'll have seen pretty much every variation of possible outcomes, but so far I'm still finding new stuff. anyway, it's free, the writing is good, and several hours of thoughtful evocative entertainment for £0 isn't exactly a bad deal.

but i don't know if i will ever be able to make these things that are dark and weird and poetic and strange and mysterious. there's so much incredible stuff out there, twine games and interactive fiction and visual novels in these incredible strange settings that are beautiful or horrifying or both and i love them but

i don't know if that's, like, in me. or rather, i don't know if it's in me in a way that can come out into stories and narratives and art of my own, rather than just responding to it when i see it in other people's work.

maybe the only things i can create will be little and sweet and fluffy and, honestly, kind of twee. maybe i can tell small, hopeful, little queer love stories and tiny escapist moments like something from a kid's bedtime story, and maybe someone might find them a little bit distracting or comforting or whatever for a while.

maybe that's ok?

i seem to be on some kind of flatgame special interest kick? played through a couple of the others in the flatjam (literally all of them are so much better than mine that it's kind of embarrassing, but hey; it was my first try)

i played through the bones of you and the isle is full of noises this weekend. they are both such beautiful examples of how this sort of thing can work. one is delicate and poetic and the other is rough and raw and they're both extremely good.

& then ended up making another... thing... just to learn a little more about how construct 2 works. can't call this one a flatgame i guess because it fails nearly all of the requirements, but it's. a thing.

now i know how to make something with collision, movement, things responding to other things being nearby. and i should try to figure out what else i can do with that.

i don't really know why i did this, but for some weirdass reason i saw's flatgame jam and i wanted to enter it.

so i have.

check out this terrible piece of trash.

no, really, it's just super tiny, and pointless, and all you do is move around a screen covered in bad, hand-drawn scribbles of sealife and rocks

and i should absolutely not be proud of myself for making it, but i... kind of am? i'm not proud of the game; it's really fucking bad. but i'm somehow proud of myself for making something, anything. for pushing through brainfog and figuring out how to make construct2 do the very simple, very basic things i wanted it to do. for finding the time, in between being a disabled parent with a fucked up brain, to draw some quick, silly sketches of something from this last year that made me happy. and for actually putting it up online as part of the jam instead of going 'oh, no, this sucks, i can't make the things i wish i could make so i won't do anything at all'.

yeah. fuck that. i did something! :D