Gauntlet’s fantasy combat meets NBA Jam’s 2v2 sports mayhem in Crystal Brawl. Teams compete to grab the crystal ball and bring it safely to their goal while dodging the enemy’s flaming arrows, sneak attacks, freeze beams, and hammer strikes.
Two design innovations set the game apart. First, it’s played on a hex-based map which players traverse with continuous, real-time movement. Second, each of the 4 classes can transform the terrain in different ways, creating pathways for your own team or traps for your opponents. It’s a chaotic contest where heart and determination are as important as skill and strategy, making it a huge hit with kids and at festivals.
Crystal Brawl was the first member of the legendary Death by Audio Arcade, a traveling collective of homemade arcade consoles beloved by NYC’s indie crowd. Developer Jon Stokes worked with DBAA ringmaster Mark Kleeb to build a one-of-a-kind cabinet that’s appeared everywhere from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and MAGFest to Maker Faire and the Boston Festival of Indie Games, as well as DBAA’s own Deathmatch by Audio events.
The game was developed by Studio Mercato using Construct 2. I contributed design and programming. Other developers included Ben Serviss, Chris Hernandez, Jon Stokes, and Rahil Patel, with sound by Nathaniel Chambers.
Agency is a game about bureaucracy and obfuscation. You play a government inspector tasked with extracting information from a detainee via a text interface. You work for a shadowy agency called BEAR. (Sadly, the link has gone dead, so you can no longer play it.)
The game was created as part of Critical Hit, an experimental games incubator based out of Concordia University’s TAG Lab in Montreal. I developed it in Twine along with Pierre Depaz. He led the writing and aesthetic design, while I focused on editing and implementation.
Don’t F**k Up was developed for the Grasshopper platform, a round touch-table built to occupy a classy games lounge. As this Kotaku post explains, the game is designed to be, shall we say, uniquely accessible.
It works a bit like radial air hockey. 2-6 players shoot a ball around the table, trying to score on each other’s goals while protecting their own. You can tap and hold anywhere in your zone to create a sphere that will deflect the ball; the longer you hold, the bigger your sphere and the stronger your shot. However, you can’t move your sphere, and you can’t make a new one until your current one fades away: good old-fashioned risk/reward mechanics.
The game was developed by Studio Mercato in Unity. I did design and project management. Other team members included Shuichi Aizawa, Hari Mohanraj, Neil Sveri, Ben Serviss, and Chris Hernandez.
Beat Juice Radio is a rhythm fighting game that works like H-O-R-S-E plus Dance Dance Revolution. One player makes up a beat, then the other one has to play it back. If your opponent can’t handle your track, and you manage to repeat it, they take a hit. But watch out – if you can’t take your own beat, you’re the one who gets burned!
There’s a single-player survival mode called Beat Bronco, but I recommend grabbing a friend for Beat Battle, made for 2 players on 1 keyboard. It’s one of the first video games I worked on, so it’s a bit rough around the edges, but it’s still good fun. It also won the Best Audio award at the 2012 Global Game Jam at NYU.
Mark Anderson composed the excellent dynamic music, Steven An programmed the game using Unity, Zak Ayles did the art, and I did lead design and production.
You can play it for free on Kongregate here. Note that Unity Web Player doesn’t work in Chrome, so you might want to use Firefox or another browser.