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Bad Boy - Gomie v. 2015 
 PostWed Feb 24, 2016 5:04 am
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The sound of this game gives me weird nostalgia feelings I don't understand.
TMC and Hawk worked their butts off and I didn't do a damn thing.
This is a review of Bad Boy.

So, to understand this game you have to understand one thing: TMC, Hawk and I were bored. All of us wanted to make something, none of us had any ideas for something to make. We hosted a contest to get an idea. I kinda poisoned the idea well by suggesting a silly football thing as a joke/icebreaker. We got some good ideas, but there were also ideas that needed a lot of development and tweaking.

We looked at ALL of them and thought the hell out of all of 'em. I remember that Castle Defense was the front-runner for a time, but as we planned and laid things out we realized that there wasn't an ultimate point to our slant on it. You were running yourself ragged till you died, a tedious kind of Dwarf Fortress where you had to personally micromanage everything and it didn't seem very fulfilling.

We thought pretty hard about Pepsi's christmas decorating game, but it would've taken an insane amount of art. Plus, we couldn't decide how the aesthetics would be judged and furthermore, even if we could decide on a way for the aesthetics to be judged, wouldn't be able to create an effective AI to take advantage of that and wouldn't have a UI capable of giving the appropriate decision making info in the required timeframe.

People talk like we chose to make a Game & Watch style game because it was easy and that couldn't be farther from the truth: I've always had a fetish for digital clock numbers, Hawk's always had a fetish for limited-control schemes and TMC's a Pac-Man wrist-watch. Getting the graphics and sounds right are a unique kind of challenge. The original design was more ambitious but since I didn't do a god damn thing, I'll let the actual team discuss that if they ever choose to.

The plot of Bad Boy is simple: The devil is making children misbehave. Our titular Bad Boy is breaking his parents vase collection and Santa, under the concept of "No harm, no foul" is catching them before they break and he has to put the kid on the naughty list. The devil isn't too happy about it, and periodically sends up a minion to bump off Santa.

I'm not too familliar with Game and Watch design philosophy, but I think TMC and Hawk came pretty close in terms of graphic and sound. Plus the game is obnoxiously hard, which is how I remember all of those old handhelds.

One thing I really hated at first was the controls, but the longer I play the more I see what Hawk was going for with them. A lot of people (myself included) said that the controls should be more traditional: Move left, move right, toggle direction. Instead, it works like this: there's three positions, left right and middle with a button for each. Pressing the button of the position you're on makes Santa face a different direction without moving. The beauty of this system is that you're only ever two buttons away from a succesful catch. A more traditional answer would require as many as 4 or 5.

The highest level I got to was 4 and at that point you definitely needed the two-stroke system to success. The balance is really off, with the early levels being so easy that it isn't fun and the "later" ones being so lightning quick that a single lapse will cost you.

Long story short, it's not a bad approximation of a Tiger Handheld/Game and Watch. If that's not your fetish, there's nothing to see here and it's more interesting as like a popular art piece than an actual game. If you ask for a Game Boy and Mom and Dad give you a Bad Boy well... it means they don't love you.

Secret review of my co-authors!!!!

SDHawk and TMC: 10/10. Would work with again. Both are extraordinarily talented coders and both of them have a nose for good game mechanics. Are pefectly able of telling when you're barking up the wrong tree.
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