Until Haddaway’s classical melody of 1993, nobody could be arsed to ask the simple question “What IS love?” as we were all far too busy inventing the minidisc player and drilling for marshmallows in Cuba. Not even Shakespeare, renowned the world over for creating fashion icon Godzilla and the philosophical children’s program The Tweenies, dared broach the topic. Since then however, the floodgates have opened and artists the world over have mulled the primal chemical instincts of what is meant by ‘love’, encapsulated by the modern day concept of the ‘waifu’.
This is all bollocks, but it sounds better than ‘a lot of otaku grow affectionate towards fictional characters in a way that makes them construct hug pillows’.
Anyway. At the start of the month, posters in a splinter community of 4chan (the internet’s favourite scapegoat and a hive of scum and villainy), ‘Amateur GameDev General’, got together to jam around the theme of the ‘waifu’. Here’s a few choice picks.
Small female angel? Check. Impossibly large sword? Check. “Not like I even like you anyway” attitude that you can change through gameplay? Oh, you bet your buns.
You’ve been kicked out of heaven because you don’t understand the concept of love and must somehow work it out by… killing things. This is, as we all know, how love works in real life. An accomplished 2D platformer with ‘brawling’ combat that’s a bit too easy to break if you just go in the second of the two levels and farm rings/hearts a lot. You can upgrade your abilities and, more importantly, trade hearts for ‘love level’ where the main character will gradually fall in love with you just because you’re good at a videogame. Living the dream, right there.
The resolution’s locked at something laughably tiny, there’s no background music and there’s the occasional game-breaking bug but the graphics are pretty and the gameplay is solid.
Don’t actually know if this is the proper title, since the game doesn’t have a title screen and the window bar just says ‘new project’ so, given the mechanics of the game, I’ve decided to personally rename it ‘Flappy Girl’.
You’re on a quest to pass some kind of test as another adorable angel girl thing, flapping about in a metroidvania that involves bombing walls and uselessly attacking things (seriously, they don’t die). There’s a pretty strong element of challenge but that’s okay because there’s well-placed checkpoints for when you inevitably fail to tell the background apart from the floor and plummet to your death.
Another lack of background music, but it looks pretty and there’s a few nifty mechanics, including a flappy ‘triple jump’.
My favourite of the lot. Full disclosure: I have absolutely no idea what this has to do with anything, because I haven’t beaten it yet. I’m still playing it, because some of the jumps are downright cruel. You’re some kind of grey-haired anime-style person (who’s probably an angel, given the recurring theme) who has to traverse another metroidvania with named levels and a lot of spikes. You can collect new abilities, like double jump, which lets you get to previously inaccessible areas while collecting ‘bits’ in a world that, according to the minimap, is shaped like a heart. Clever.
The whole thing is gorgeous and, blissfully, we’ve finally found some background music with a bit of a nod to MegaMan. This is probably one of the most complete gamejam games I think I’ve ever played, as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t beaten it yet. There’s some really devious level design that would put vast chunks of VVVVV to shame and I’m wrapping this up here so I can go back to it and ‘get good’.
Given that there’s only fourteen entries in the entire jam, I could’ve covered every single one, but that’d mean depriving you of the thrill of discovery. Go and check out the rest here, safe in the knowledge that there’s more to 4chan’s game development abilities than just Katawa Shoujo.