A few weeks back I visited the annual SXSW Gaming Expo. I’ve never been to one of the big “proper” gaming conventions, even though PAX South was just down the road in San Antonio this year, so I can’t really compare it to those. I do however appreciate that it’s small, costs nothing to attend, and has quite a few indie devs showing off their wares. I noticed a lot of local multiplayer games this year, such as Omnibus, Stikbold and Armed and Gelatinous. I can’t really explain the resurgence in the genre but it does make for fun demo experiences. A good local multiplayer game should be easy to pick up with little instruction, letting you hand a controller to a drunk mate or a stranger at a show and immediately get a game going.
My days of playing Tekken 3 and Virtua Tennis with a few inebriated pals are long over though. My wife doesn’t like video games, and my kids are pretty little still, so didn’t immediately run home inspired to write a local multiplayer game.
But later that day I stumbled upon a chunky pixelated font, and just for fun started a Unity scene and slapped some text over a bright orange background with a cheap scanline shader. Suddenly I was transported back to the days of the Atari 2600 and the mother of all friendship-ruining competitive local-multiplayer games: Combat!
One thing led to another, and the project that started with nothing but a font is now the ridiculously onomatopoeic “Krnch”. 2-4 players skidding around in the desert in racecars with machine-guns on the front, striving to be the last one standing. I’m hoping to release a really bare-bones but still kinda fun version on itch.io before too much longer, with updates coming gradually over time. I’m posting updates and gifs on Twitter as I go. Did I say my kids were little? Well my eldest is just about to turn eight and has just proven that he can hold his own against his dad in the realm of desert-based vehicular combat, so it looks like I have at least one tester already. Well, why have children if you can’t exploit them for cheap labour, eh?