Queens (and 1066)

I have inside me blood of kings.

While I'm not entirely sure what Canadians celebrate on Canada Day, I'm pretty sure America's Independence Day is about escaping from the machinations of an abusive king. Guess what. I've got a game about precisely that.

Queens is a painfully difficult but blissfully short platformer, in which you play as a queen thrown into a killing machine by her abusive king. As you attempt to escape, the king follows along, watching your struggles to escape a nearly inevitable death. You can die in all the standard platformer ways, and all of them send you right back to the beginning as the king's next bride, complete with a new appearance and name. It's both a cycle of abuse and a somewhat abusive mechanic. No ludo-narrative dissonance here!

Why You Should Check This Out: Because if you don't struggle to escape the king, you're going to end up like one of those lame commonwealth corpses, and the South Park guys will never make an over-the-top marionette movie about how awesome you are.

[size=20]Play Queens Now[/size]

"But wait!" you scream at your monitor, "I'm a citizen of one of those commonwealth nations!"

[float=right]IMAGE(http://i42.tinypic.com/w6si02.jpg)[/float]

Well then let me congratulate you on backing a country that took the somewhat more peaceful route. You guys were once part of a pretty swell empire too, so well done there. Perhaps you'd like to celebrate just how strangely disjointed the former British Empire has just about always been, but in a slightly more aloof manner? Well, luckily the BBC commissioned 1066 for just that (or somewhat similar) purpose!

1066 is a turn-based strategy game built in Flash, and playable either alone or against an opponent. Armies comprised of various medieval units face off in a combination of vulgarity and artistic flourish. Beyond movement, actions such as archer fire, charges, melee and taunting are built around mini-game mechanics that determine your action's efficacy.

Why You Should Check This Out: Not only is 1066 a fun, well-produced and challenging game, but it's also unabashedly educational in a way that doesn't skimp on the Flash-animated gore. You also get the bonus of never really being a true "bad guy," since all three factions ended up interbreeding to create what today we see as the modern Englishman. You can make your own calls as to which sport's hooligans are more like which original culture.

[size=20]Play 1066 Now[/size]

Comments

Because it isn't clear up above, the genesis of Queens is as interesting as (perhaps moreso than) the game itself. That is, it was created as a Ludum Dare entry, which is to say a rapid-development competition. The theme for this round was "domestic violence" and Queens took around 72-hours to make (it ran a bit over the 48-hour deadline--oops).

I suppose I may as well put in a plug for Ludum Dare while I'm at it, to encourage you programmer types can get some practice with rapid prototyping.

- Alan

It's probably because there's less risk in wasted development time and resources, but I look at a lot of Ludum Dare games for Fringe Busters. They tend to do a lot of neat, newer directions.

Queens was pretty cool and the ending was great. 1066 I played up until the screen shot you took which is the first time you play as normans just because I didn't want to keep playing. That was also a cool game with some interesting play mechanics.

rickyyo wrote:

Queens was pretty cool and the ending was great. 1066 I played up until the screen shot you took which is the first time you play as normans just because I didn't want to keep playing. That was also a cool game with some interesting play mechanics.

I think that was the point where I said to myself, "OK, I really need to stop and write that article now. Seriously."

wordsmythe wrote:
rickyyo wrote:

Queens was pretty cool and the ending was great. 1066 I played up until the screen shot you took which is the first time you play as normans just because I didn't want to keep playing. That was also a cool game with some interesting play mechanics.

I think that was the point where I said to myself, "OK, I really need to stop and write that article now. Seriously."

Haha true dat. I could see that game sucking me in even though the dance dance revolution play mechanic in 1066 lagged because it was done in crappy flash it seems.

Queens is like taking a syringe full of victory and injecting directly into your arm.

Queens isn't really that difficult. It takes a moment to realize that the jumping is stilted compared with most platformers and the queen run speed is nil, which doesn't help. After that it's painfully easy. It may only be 4 screens, but only 2 of them actually pose a threat. It is pretty interesting that it only took a few days to hammer out.

Queens isn't bad at all - nice ending too!

Now to try 1066.

Edit: Ok, just three stages in 1066, but still nice in a simple way. The main things that bothered me were the previously mentioned lag for the simon-says bits and the fact that no matter how many soldiers fight, archers shoot, etc - if you do the same things, the damage is always the same. 500 archers kill 90 enemy archers, and 5 archers can kill 90 as well. Still, very nice presentation and an interesting concept that could easily be expanded upon!

Asz wrote:

Queens isn't really that difficult. It takes a moment to realize that the jumping is stilted compared with most platformers and the queen run speed is nil, which doesn't help. After that it's painfully easy. It may only be 4 screens, but only 2 of them actually pose a threat. It is pretty interesting that it only took a few days to hammer out.

At 5am when you're trying to finish a handful of games to see what's worth writing about, Queens can be a little harder. I still got through it in 5 or 10 minutes, though.

At first I found Queens impossibly difficult. Then I noticed some text under the game in my browser window. It was grey and I could barely see it. So I turned up the brightness and contrast on my monitor so I could read that text. Suddenly, the game got extremely simple to complete. It must have been the inspirational message from the creator saying "you can do it!"

Hatch wrote:

At first I found Queens impossibly difficult. Then I noticed some text under the game in my browser window. It was grey and I could barely see it. So I turned up the brightness and contrast on my monitor so I could read that text. Suddenly, the game got extremely simple to complete. It must have been the inspirational message from the creator saying "you can do it!"

You made me replay it to make sure there wasn't hidden text. Are you referring to the text below the Flash panel?

Keys: arrow keys to move, x to jump

If you think the game is too hard, know that it's only four screens long! Have faith, you can do it!

Queens is a short game developed for Mini-LD #10. The theme for the compo was "domestic violence". I didn't want to make a depressing game, but hope I still managed to capture the theme in spite of that.

The game was developed in a little under 72-hours (oops) using flixel, pixen, and sfxr.

— noonat