It's been a while since I posted anything here, so here is a quick entry about a recent Atari 2600 project of mine.
The aim of Pssst! is to protect the flower growing in the centre of the screen from a variety of different bugs. The bugs are destroyed by spraying them using the aerosols positioned at the edges of the screen. To make things harder, different bugs require different sprays. If the bugs reach the flower they start eating it up until they are destroyed. You lose a life if the flower gets eaten entirely, or if you run into a bug. A new level begins when the flower finishes growing. The number, speed, and variety of bugs increases at the game progresses.
My idea was to make this into a holiday game, based around protecting a Christmas tree (instead of a flower). However, I didn't take it further than a small demo for a number of reasons:
- I discussed the game with Nathan and we agreed that it wasn't holiday-themed enough. Shooting bugs doesn't really have anything to do with holidays!
- I enjoyed this game a lot when I was young, but I found it quite annoying when I played it recently. There isn't really enough variety in the gameplay, and the game gets ridiculously difficult very quickly. It may be possible to fix these issues by having different stages or by tweaking the gameplay.
- As usual, things got very hectic at work around the holidays and I had no free time to progress the game beyond a simple demo.
The kernel demo of the game (and source code) for Pssst! should be attached at the end this entry. The demo isn't quite playable, but you can move around the screen, pick up aerosols (with fire), and kill the bugs (which don't move). The player and bug sprites are completely temporary and would be replaced in a real version of the game (they are monochrome in the demo, but the kernel allows a different colour on each scanline). A sample screenshot is shown below:
I probably won't take this any further unless the gameplay issues can be solved. However, I'm interested to know what people think of the game and the demo, and for any suggestions.
P.S. I don't know either when Juno First is coming out on a cart, but I'm sure it won't be long now! The game and manual have been finished for some time.