A while ago I had some ideas for novel video games in the platformer genre. My code name for these is "kong".

Currently the code is buried in git (git://git.joeyh.name/joey/misc in the kong directory) and consists of a basic character (done in ascii art of all things) and the beginnings of a game. And the only ASCII art phile I ever put together.

The main "kong" game is intended to be a cross between a platformer and tetris. Your character has to run and jump on the platforms, to catch the falling peices, which he then puts down, that become the platforms he's running and jumping on. I think this is a new idea. There would be some silly storyline too of course, a goal, etc.

The idea for the other, secondary kong game is derived from the fact that after I've played a platformer for a while and am back reading an e-book, I can't help but imagine a little guy (probably a single character animated blob, really) climbing and jumping around in the words, trying to collect all the punctuation, and maybe occaisionally using some of it as bombs to blow up words that got in his way. So I think I should implement it; it would be a pager and a platformer all in one, and would have as many levels as you have text files.

One set of rules that seems to work:

  • Separate each line of text with a blank line.

  • Guy is 1 letter tall, and can run on top of words, in whitespace, or through punctuation.

  • Running on top of, or through punctuation collects it, and it does not support the guy.

  • Guy can jump 2 letters high, so from one line up to the one above.

  • Can only jump if standing on a letter, and if there is whitespace or punctuation above his head, and in his landing spot.

  • ! is a bomb. Drop one (py pressing that key), and it will light, (small animation), and explode after a period of time. That will destroy all letters adjacent to it (not diagonally).

  • '-' is a beam. If beams are placed next to each other, and supported by something else (on top of it, or sticking out from the side of it), they can extend out into space, and the guy can travel along them, dangling underneath.

  • # is a ladder. The guy can travel up and down them.

  • Beams and ladders can be broken up and carried, and dropped to move them.

  • . is food. You need to eat some from time to time.

  • A word in parens, like "(bar)", is round. The guy can push these words around like a tread (Animate by exchanging letters -- note that this can write different words!)

Lots of room for expansion obviously. Some punctuation may behave specially when dropped on certian letters.

Also, a neat option would be to allow standing on letters in sequence to build up a command. Examples:

  • Spell "eat" and the next letter landed on would turn into a food source.
  • Spell "quake" or "shake" and the screen does -- words come crashing down!
  • Spell ¨save" to save the current game.
  • Spell "flip" and the whole playing field flips over (so the first line is at the bottom, last line at the top etc).
  • Spell "fly" and the guy can fly for a while.
  • Spell "kill" or "erase" and the next letter landed on vanishes from all nearby lines.
  • Spell "warp" or "search", and it prompts what word to warp to, and takes the guy down to the next occurance of that word.

Should there be enemies to kill/avoid? If so, they need to move as in nethack, not constantly. But, it might be better not to have any. Traps seems like a better thing.,, Might be best to avoid both and keep the game limited to interacting with and reading text.