The MAN Who Became a Game: Thoughts & Commentary on MANvsGAME… The Game
This entry was posted on January 22nd, 2012 in General | 0 comments

A few days ago my first project of 2012 was released. It was almost a year ago to the day that I had released my first full-length game titled LPAMAN & The Missing Phoenix, a tough-as-nails-seemingly-impossible platformer inspired by the rock band Linkin Park. While the end product was playable, it was also rough around the edges. It was unfairly difficult, borrowed way too much from other games and was pretty much what you’d expect for a first go-around. Over the year I learned and improved, and while I still make difficult games today, they’re actually not stupidly difficult and I’m much more confident overall in my skills as a game maker.

So yes, here we are a year later and I’ve just released MANvsGAME: It’s Show Time!. A fan game inspired by a live video game broadcaster at Twitch.tv, MANvsGAME. To say the reception it received was great would be undercutting it for someone of my caliber. I felt that in wake of such a positive response, it would be cool to perhaps try to express not only my thoughts, but an overall commentary on how things came to be and how things were received. To the best of my writing abilities, at least.

The Origins:

It was after really seeing the bond between MAN and his best friend Zeke on the show that the wheels started turning. Originally, the idea for a MANvsGAME game was an action game with a buddy-system (which thanks to recent exposure I just might make one day). That idea was put on the back-burner indefinitely due to lack of content to base the game on. At the time, MAN was just beginning to find his foothold in a pool of live streamers and had not yet established the many, many memorable moments we have today.

As for how MANvsGAME: It’s Show Time! came to be, it was really just everything coming together at the right time. The idea can be traced back to one day when MAN began a show with a brief look into how he gets ready for the cast. It mostly consisted of bad angles while MAN did his best (silent) show-and-tell to some retro 8-bit tunes. The wheels began turning again. A new idea was born as a tongue-in-cheek collection of mini-games similar to the Warioware series. Apply deodorant, pluck noticeable nose hairs, wet hair, and so on. All set to an overall timer. After weighing the possibilities, it briefly became a JRPG-esque quest after hearing MAN’s somewhat distaste for the genre. You could say it was originally meant to be a “troll” game, much in the same vein as my The Teapot Chapters games.

Referential humored games be damned, I liked the RPG idea and ran with it. I had no interest in building a complete RPG engine though, so I decided to extend the concept to include different gameplay styles, somewhat inspired by Zelda II. The idea to turn them into mini-games based on MAN’s favorite games (or moments involving games) was simply natural progression. It seemed better to try and emulate some of the more memorable moments of MANvsGAME, thus keeping with the “fan game” idea without abusing the creative freedom.

The game was never meant to be anything large or epic in scale. From planning to completion took three weeks of free time, and was always meant to be a time waster at its core. And while it was always meant to be short and sweet, it was also meant to be full of content. What started as one or two minor mini-games evolved into three mini/small games with even greater referential depth. Then came the unlockables, and the unlockables unlocked with the unlockables. Again, all thanks to natural progression. It’s fun to hear MAN frequently doubt my attention to detail, only to be proven wrong sometime later.

On a personal note, by extending the game as far as I did, it also allowed me to grow as a programmer. Trying to take cues from games built by people with far superior programming skills and knowledge was a challenge, but I was more than happy to try. Depending on who you ask, I either succeeded or failed in that aspect. Good news is as of this writing I’ve yet to receive any hate mail or angry letters from the developers so that either means they don’t know, don’t care or have no problems with the recreations. As long as I don’t have to hire a lawyer or anything, I’m good either way.

Article continues on page two… “Why MANvsGAME?”


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