This weekend I set out to make a really bad game for Game Breaker’s Toolkit Jam #2. Game Maker’s Toolkit Jam is a hugely popular Game Jam that has literally broken itch.io before from the amount of uploads it generated. Game Breaker’s Toolkit Jam is a parody of this, where instead of making awesome games with a theme, we set out to make something really awful. Annoying unskippable cutscenes, weird confusing level design, horrible sound design; anything goes here.
If you’re reading this before the 3rd May 2020, you can still join the jam and make your own really bad game! Join the jam on itch.io.
I’m not usually one for Game Jams because I don’t really like to work under pressure, but right now I’m not in work and making a really bad game sounded like a lot of fun. I could throw all the care and attention to detail out the window and just go wild!
My friend Mark (@JustWallGames) also agreed that it sounded like fun, and set to work on making some terrible artwork, sounds and music to go with the game.
My inspiration for this game largely came from the platform games I made when I was first learning Gamemaker. It was a long time ago, I was quite young, and I was a lazy developer. My other inspiration came from Kimberly Kubus. I remember him from back in the Gamemaker forums around 2004. He gathered quite a following because he pumped out tons of what were widely considered really terrible games. I actually found an archive of all his games developed which you can also view here (make sure you put on some eye protection before opening that page).
The most infamous/famous of these were the ‘Johnny’ series of games; there are 36 of these. That’s probably the longest running series of games ever. These games have stuck with me because he made so many games. Was it an extremely long running joke? Did he just love making games and not really care about the quality? He even spawned fan games; the developer of Seiklus made a couple of fangames; Johnny’s Odyssey and Johnny’s Nightmare. It seems that Kimberly Kubus has sadly since passed away. You can read more about him here.
I had a few ideas for how to actually design the game from the start. There’s a few things that are generally considered bad practice when making games that I decided to implement:
- Precise collisions (with a different collision mask for each frame)
- Haphazardly using the ‘solid’ checkbox
- Let players clip into solid objects and get stuck
- Free players stuck in solid objects by randomly changing the x and y coordinates until they are free
- Make sure the camera can’t keep up with the player
- Let the player hold down the jump button to jump
- Don’t fix those weird jumping bugs
I also added some other fun stuff like a deliberate, random input lag. I implemented ‘parallax’ backgrounds, which actually just closely follow the player’s coordinates, but why would I fix that? I also did everything as lazily as possible; enemies do not kill you; they teleport you to a random place in the level instead. You cannot kill the boss at the end, you just walk past him. If you talk to NPCs it just permanently displays their dialogue on screen.
I didn’t forget to add DLC either (note: no real money required). To access the options screen you have to buy the £99.99 DLC pack, but it breaks and takes your money without giving you access to the options.
In a strange way, I’m quite pleased with the result. I didn’t want to make a completely unplayable game, I wanted to make something more like “My first Gamemaker game” with added bugs and “anti-quality of life” features. I wanted something like that first Gamemaker game I made when I was 11 where you played as Shadow the Hedgehog.
It’s available to play now if for some reason you want to, there’s also the full project file available for download if you have GameMaker Studio 2. I’ve uploaded a 100% playthrough video so you can just watch if you prefer not to suffer through. The whole game takes around 5 minutes to beat.
I would also like to thank my friend Ben (@bjlfearn) for doing last minute voice overs for the story and end screen!