Okay, that was cute. Also, I learned a thing!
Page 23, Game 18: Jumpin’ Jupiter : Prelude by Quantum Sheep
Jumpin’ Jupiter is a game for the ZX Spectrum, which leads to the question “WTF is a ZX Spectrum?” A quick Googling informs me that it’s basically British for “Commodore 64.” Apparently, it’s one of the best-selling AND cheapest home computers of all time! Until about an hour ago, it didn’t even exist in my world. Cool.
Anyway, I downloaded an emulator, and discovered that the people who made it wanted me to pay for it. So then I went and found a more different emulator, stumbled around the pull-down menus, and I was off!
In Jumpin’ Jupiter, you jump around and collect tea. When you have all the tea, the door will open and you may move on to the next level.
So, first: is this the first British game to make “collect tea” the game’s objective? It can’t be, right? That’s just so overwhelmingly British it must be an entire subgenre. Google?
Wow. “Video games about tea” doesn’t turn up shit. What the hell, capitalism? How can this market possibly be untapped?
Anyway. This plays about like you’d expect a platformer to play on forty-year-old technology. It’s cute, it’s engaging. Bounce around, avoid stuff that will kill you, grab the tea. There’s also a mechanism where some levels also require you to grab a key to bring down a wall surrounding the exit door, which I kinda don’t understand the point of. I already have to grab ALL the tea before I’ll be allowed to leave; would making it just another cup of tea really matter that much to gameplay? I guess a touch of variety is nice.
Despite being for a platform older than my wife, there’s a very modern sensibility to how the game was built. Unlike most games of the era — hell, unlike a lot of the games I’ve played on this trawl — it does a really lovely job of teaching you its mechanics as you go. Here’s what you can do, here’s how this stuff works, here’s some stuff that would like to kill you. I appreciate that, a lot. If anything, it might slow-roll a little too slowly; I was several levels deep before I felt challenged at all.
That … might actually be more of a problem than I’m giving it credit for. Games of the era were meant to get the shit played out of them; they had to get to the fun part quickly. I’m not sure a game that forces you to go through its extended tutorial each time you play it really would have worked.
Whatever. It is what it is; a cute little retro platformer that’s honestly pretty well done. Can’t say I expect I’ll come back to it much, but I’m glad I played it.
I have no idea what the “Prelude” part of the game’s name means. Perhaps there’s an entire old-school tea saga waiting for me out there.
Will the next game be intended for modern computers?
Page 19, Game 16: Choice Chamber by onemrbean
“A real-time, crowdsourced, procedurally generated game where your fate is in everyone else’s hands”
That’s gonna be an emphatic “yes.”
Crowdsourcing requires, you know, a crowd. That’s not exactly a gimme for most of these little indie guys. Let’s see how it works.