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Monday, August 13, 2007

Timetravel Bloboid is a platformer with a rewind time feature that is pretty much the fad these days. Use the cursor keys to move your character, jump or activate switches. Hold the space key to turn back the clock, though this action will drain your energy at an alarming rate. Collect vials of green liquid to restore your energy meter.

The exit is only accessible once all coins in each level has been acquired. A level editor is included.

Name: Timetravel Bloboid
Developer: Axel
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
Direct download link: Click here


Blogger Jason Rohrer (jcr13) said at 8/14/2007 03:15:00 PM:  
A perfect example of how a single, core idea alone does not make a great game.

Granted, this one was made in 36 (or however many few) hours, but still:

We're given this nifty rewind feature, but very soon we learn that we can't use it to rewind back from death. That means that after one wrong move (like a mis-jump that brushes a moving, spiky ball), we must start back at the beginning of the level again.

So we're supposed to use the rewind to obtain coins that would be impossible to reach otherwise (like those deep down in a long shaft with lava at the bottom---fall down the shaft, collect the coins, and then rewind right at the last moment to pull our character back out of the shaft). None of these "impossible" collections involve interesting puzzles, though. Instead, each level simply presents a long series of hard-to-navigate "traps" that you know how to get through at first glance. The hard part is making it through all of them in succession without a mis-step. One wrong move (like pressing rewind a bit too late and falling into the lava) and you have to make it through all the same traps over again.

So you end up going through the same traps over and over, perhaps dozens of times, before you finally make it through a level.

I'm not ranting about this game just to put it down---for a 36 hour project, it's quite impressive.

My point is about Tim's observation that a rewind button is "pretty much the fad these days." I don't need to tell you what will soon be seen as the center point of that "fad" (Braid). But so many people have dismissed Braid as "nothing but a rewind time game." Rewind is old news (Prince of Persia: Sands of Time).

But for those of you who who feel that way (and I'm guessing that Tim doesn't, and that the "fad" comment was off-the-cuff), I'm telling you again that you're wrong. I should give up on convincing you, though, you'll convince yourself the instant you lay your fingers on a keyboard that's hooked up to a machine running the game.

So, it's not just about a particular gimmick or feature, but what you build around that feature, and how you explore the use of that feature, that separates the common from the sublime.

I'll pull out the movie Memento as an example---you can't sum that one up as "just another movie that shows its scenes in reverse order." Not that there are many movies like that (the recent French film Irreversible and some movie from the 70s that I can't remember right now), but if there is a "fad" of scenes being shown in reverse order, Memento should not be included on that bandwagon.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/14/2007 03:21:00 PM:  
Must... refrain... from making... comment about... core idea alone... and And Yet It Moves...
Blogger Jason Rohrer (jcr13) said at 8/15/2007 06:15:00 AM:  
A link to help you mine meaning from kon-tiki's exercise in self-restraint:

Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/16/2007 02:12:00 AM:  
Thanks for the feedback, Jason. I get your point.

Fact is, when finishing the engine, I actually wanted to explore the rewind mechanism and it's possibilities. But it just wasn't a very realistic goal with less than 24 hours left to make graphics (something I'm not particularly good at), levels and menu screens, etcetera. So instead, the game became less puzzle-based and more of a skill game, as I tried to do my best with the few enemies and obstacles I had the time to implement.

I'm sorry if the game disappointed you, maybe you were expecting something a bit more. But personally I'm quite happy with it, considering the short time it took me to make it.

Thanks again for the comments.
Blogger Jason Rohrer (jcr13) said at 8/16/2007 04:31:00 AM:  
Whoa... sounds like you're taking my comment the wrong way. My comment was more about Braid than about your game.

When the folks who have actually played Braid rave about the experience, (calling it one of the greatest games of all time, etc.), some of the people who haven't played Braid respond by saying, "Yeah right, over-hyped, it's just another game where you rewind time, Price of Persia did that too, so what?"

My point was that one novel feature alone does not automatically make a great game.

Your game is impressive for a 36-hour project. Nice graphics, elaborate levels, etc. But I'm sure even you would not call it "mind expanding." So a rewind button, alone, is not what makes Braid mind expanding. It's the questions Braid asks about the rewind button that set it apart. And here I am talking about a video game asking questions---we really are forging into new territory with this one.

I feel like an idiot sometimes, like you folks must be wondering, "Why is this jerk still going on and on about Braid?" But I promise, once you play it yourself, you will understand.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/16/2007 08:55:00 PM:  
Nice comments, Jason.

Honestly, I didn't even know this was a fad. I mean, what, there's Prince of Persia, that terrible Xbox game, and Braid? What else is there, really? Even if it's twice or thrice that many games, it's still not enough and too spread apart to qualify as a "fad".
Blogger haowan said at 8/17/2007 02:19:00 AM:  
Sands of time is an excellent game, with the exception of the combat. Which admittedly is quite a lot of the game. But it's really a very good game IMO.

While the reverse time idea isn't going to make a good game on its own, I think it's worth considering for inclusion in any game as it's so useful. Dying is so old-school :)