Pirate Kart: Severe Procrastination in Game Development

Posted on November 3rd, 2011
by theinterns

Hey, this is the intern duo again doing what we love most — playing games. Today, we were asked to test games from Pirate Kart, a compilation of roughly 300 games designed by over 100 developers. The entire lot was an entry to the 2012 Annual Independent Game Festival as a last minute submission. We began by first downloading Pirate Kart through a torrent, which acts like an emulator hosting hundreds of games developed in a time frame of roughly 48 hours. The games we tested were of random selection or of interest to us, netting to a total of around 19 games played over the course of about 2 hours, although we can only provide reviews for 10 out of 19 of the games. Enjoy your read!

 Games Tested

  1. Sexy Missile Command
  2. Tetris Fight Club
  3. Pac-Man Without a Cause
  4. Rougelaika: A Remembrance
  5. Metal Spawn
  6. Let’s Typing Some English
  7. Art Attack
  8. Ultimate Dungeon Crawl
  9. The Last Survivor
  10. Dinosaur Liberation Front
  11. The Deathracemas
  12. Operation Lodestone
  13. Blind
  14. Getout: Forever
  15. Perception
  16. Great Star Fusion
  17. Fate of Mankind
  18. Tanks Vs Aliens
  19. Escape

 

JONATHAN:

 

Getout: Forever

The game is pretty literal when it says “forever”: it really does go on forever. It is your typical ping-pong game where you break the blocks on top of the screen for points, and collecting any residue from broken blocks for bonus points. Initially, you are led to believe that there is a way out, until the left and right boundaries of the screen break while the ball bounces out furthur away from the left or right of the screen. The ball will ricochet off broken blocks, your own block and the roof of the screen, although continuous ricochetting from multiple blocks in a short time frame sends the ball in a burst of speed in a random direction, often being the cause of a loss of life. The player has only 3 lives to use.

 

Metal Spawn

No, unfortunately this game is not related to the popular Metal Slug series found in most Arcades or places that have Arcade games stationed in them. This is one of the better games through the entire Pirate Kart pack where you use a cartoon-looking machine to destroy airbourne aliens from the ground. Movement controls are standard: your directional arrow keys, and your ability to shoot is Z while X allows you to deploy stationary “spawns” that assist you in ridding the skies of aliens. The mission of the game is to destroy the number of specified aliens shown at the start, which increases every level. As the levels increase, so do the number of aliens on the screen and the coordination of the AI. To combat this, the player is able to deploy stackable, stationary “spawns” which can be done each time the player picks up machine parts on the ground, for a maximum of 10 parts at any one time. Like the player controlled machine, they shoot upwards constantly for a medium duration, weakening or destroying aliens in the line of fire.

 

Rougelaika: A Remembrance

The concept of this game is very much similar to that of the typical Asteroids game out on the internet: you control a ship and blast away asteroids that spawn and split. In this case, you instead control a tiny dog from Soviet Russia whose mission is to battle the USA’s capitalism. The dog can accelerate across the screen by using the directional arrow keys, and can “RAWR” using Z, which is essentially your primary projectile. When the game starts, you will be met with a few Uncle Sams spinning around the field that will either split into two or three dollar bills or coins. Only Uncle Sams and dollar bills will split when hit by the dog’s “RAWR” while coins will be destroyed upon contact with the projectile. If any of the three touch the tiny dog, the player loses the game and a high score is recorded.

 

Let’s Typing Some English

Although it is a simple game whose only rule is to type the sentence at the top of the screen before the red bar empties out, the story that you type as you play the game is rather humorous. Fast typers or people with proper grammar will be able to finish the game rather quickly, as the game demands use of punctuation and capitalization. The sentences are not hard, nothing beyond what can be read off your standard edition 5th grade English textbooks, but they tell of a short story about a pedophile/child molester who is later caught and put in jail.

I’d have to say I got a laugh out of this when I started to see where the story was going, so I’ll give it a plus for that. Out of the entire pack, it’s almost safe to say that this is the only game that really involves typing to win. The only “challenge” in this game would be the final slide, where it is presumably what I’d call “ragequitting” as the player has to type a random assortment of letters similar to something like FJKHEUIWHJKJDFDSDJKFA.

 

Ultimate Dungeon Crawl

If you’ve ever played the old games where your actions were determined by the buttons you press (don’t they all?) such as Taipan!, then Ultimate Dungeon Crawl will be quite familiar. For this game, you will be prompted for your user name along with your desired class: (W)arrior, (R)ouge [sic] or (M)age. Your class determines what stat becomes a priority in leveling up. The Warrior’s primary attribute is Strength, increasing damage done to monsters; a Rogue’s primary stat is Dexterity, increasing chance to disarm traps and evade attacks; a Mage’s primary stat is Intelligence, increasing damage done by magical attacks and mastery when using a magic attack. You begin at level 1, both in character and the dungeon, where you must decend down to progress since elevating a floor above level 1 automatically ends the game. You can choose which way you go by (N), (E), (S) and (W) or North, East, South and West respectively. You have four types of rooms other than an emtpy room: the first kind of room holds a treasure chest, which can be opened by (O) and can possibly reward the player with bonus experience, health restoration or a stat increase, although they can also damage the character as well. The second kind of room hosts a monster which can be attacked by (A) or (M); (A) being a physical attack and (M) being a magical attack, although it drains Intelligence. The third type of room is one that allows you to ascend or descend levels, which can be done by (U) and (D) respectively, as Up or Down. The fourth kind of room has a trap which can be approached by a disarm, or (D); high dexterity improves the chance of not getting damaged while disarming a trap.

The game overall was well-done, as I was able to figure out how to play within the first few seconds of starting. I eventually reached level 27 as a Rogue and was stuck on Dungeon Level 10, where a dragon had appeared and refused to die. Seeing as how both my Rogue and the dragon could not damage each other due to near 100% evasion after holding the (A) key for a whole 45 seconds, I was forced to give up and spammed (M) instead to kill myself, which caused my spells to backfire rather than hit the dragon. Other than that, it required some deal of memory, unless the player decided to just keep hitting N or S until they reached a dead end, hitting A, D or O when necessary and moving E or W, essentially scanning and sweeping the entire dungeon floor for loot and experience without much attention to where the player actually is.

 

 

JUSTIN:

 

First game I played which was pretty interesting and funny was Ben Powell’s “Last Survivor“. In this game the player plays as a green block which is told to be some the last survivor of it’s species but the only way it was able to be saved was by some of it’s DNA was kept and the “survivor” was remade but the DNA transformer messed up the retransformation so the player plays as a green block. You have the power to move blocks which you need to move in the right ways for you to be able to get from one level to the next. I found the ending pretty funny because I honestly saw the picture of the cat coming as I was coming to finishing the game. It was funny to read that the cat is a “destroyer of worlds”. This game was pretty good. I used a good 5 to 7 minutes playing this game.

 

Second game I played was “Dinosaur Liberation Front” by lilserf. I thought the game would have to do with Dinosaurs saving each other but it wasn’t like this at all. The player is a human who has a mission to save the dinosaurs from some test lab they are stuck in, however the only way to save the dinosaurs is to throw them out of windows and openings in the lab, not really saving them but just getting them out of the lab. It was pretty funny to read that one of the “windows” was a trash chute.

 

Pizza Time’s “The Death Racemas” reminded me of what most people would do if they were to have a car in Grand Theft Auto, just run over people left and right, its the only objective in the game with the option of a player being able to play with a friend, or if you do what I did which was use both of the cars to run over everyone over, over and over again.

 

Leon Arnott’s “Operation Lodestone” was a pretty interesting game to me. Shooting missles to cities by useing magnetic towers, it was the first time I’ve played a game like this. The closer a tower is to the missle launching site the more attracted it would be to the first tower, however after a while you have to use several towers to try to make the missles loop around mountains just to be able to barely miss the targeted city. I found it pretty easy at first but five levels later I was stuck on the mission because I couldn’t get my missles to properly run into the city, instead they kept hitting the mountains 0.o

 

Fate Of Mankind” By Leonardo Millan was very confusing at first. I was wondering why can I only see two little white glowing objects and a little white person. I started walking to fall down, and walk into one of the glowing things. Then I really started the game, Discovering the power of vision made the game possible to play. The objective of the game is very unknown at the beginning, just exploring the cave like place you are dropped in and gaining powers that will help you navigate wherever you are. It was very confusing in severaly places because one would think they need to reach that location in that moment they see it, however this game is played differently. Your first round around the cave is just to pick up powers, only until you’ve gone around one full time and gotten all the powers can you reach the secrets that are spread out throught the cave. You run into the one and only character that interacts with you and all he talks about is finding out the truth. This got me more into the game because the game having a title like the “Fate of Mankind” got me thinking about why is everyone else dead except for you and this mysterious character. About 20 minutes later I found the ending of the game. I didn’t want the game to end by the time I got around here. I won’t spoil the ending to whoever reads this but all I will say was it was a very deep meaning one.

 

These are only half of the games we played on Pirate Kart, as mentioned before. Most of the games were simple and not complex, although they are impressive for having only been worked on for under 48 hours. Most games were just simple movement controls while some involved the player in just blowing objects up, but they were nonetheless fully functional games. A few were done in Python since they worked like inputting commands in Python Shell and others modeled after popular arcade games.