VIDEO GAMES

It’s not often that I can say a game came out before I was born. Galaxian takes me back to being seven years old on a family holiday to Devon, in a hotel with a recreation room that housed a sad-looking arcade cabinet in one corner. I want to say that my Dad snuck me 50p after my Mum refused to let me play, but, considering the year, it was probably more like 20p. Even putting a fiver in the machine wouldn’t have given me more than a few minutes play. I was not good at it. Not one bit.

Developer Paul Pridham, the man behind Madgarden, is best known for teaming up with RocketCat last year to create the multi award winning Punch Quest. Paul has been participating in the One Game a Month challenge this year and has so far released five games. Eager to pull off a July entry, and running out of time, he created a poll on his blog to help decide what to make. It was a crazy close call, but Chillaxian, a retro-inspired Galaxian clone just managed to get the most votes.

“I made the game in about two weeks, based on a voting poll on my website”, said Paul, “Just a little arcade game without all of the extra fluff like upgrades and stuff. Relax, zone out, and play like it’s 1979”. And you can do just that. Relax. Not that Chillaxian’s easy – it’s as tough as anything released before I could walk and talk – but the laid-back, cheerful atmosphere of the game makes barely scraping past three levels feel rather pleasant when compared to the punishing intensity of some classic retro titles.

Shooty shooty pew pew pew!

The main aim of One Game a Month is to have fun.

So far, over 4000 games have been submitted to One Game a Month, and over 6000 people are taking part. Started in January by indie dev Christer Kaitila, the main aim of One Game a Month is to have fun by being creative. The challenge is open to everyone, and there are no rules. If you miss a month, that’s not a problem. Want to work in a team? Go right ahead. Monthly deadlines have a generous 96 hour extension, making August’s cut-off point the fourth of September. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Developers are strongly encouraged to feel free to follow their ideas, wherever that may take them.

Madgarden could be giving August a miss, though, saying “Most of my offerings have been pretty dinky so far. EGGNOGG and Chillaxian are the more fleshed out games of the bunch. But the gist of #1GAM for me is, it seems to be just the right pace for me. A lot of the other jams cover a weekend, and that’s just a bit too hard for me to pull off with everything else going on. I have a ton of ideas so #1GAM is a great excuse for me to spit some of them out. I haven’t started the next game for August yet, as I’m pretty busy with another Rocketcat games collaboration involving zombies. But yeah, I really can’t wait to do another little game, and definitely it’s gotta be beatemuppy!”. If it’s anything like Punch Quest, I’m in. See you on the leaderboard.