This is the first screenshot I ever remember taking. It’s from the non-existent Zombie Shovel Whack (mentioned briefly here). I’m not completely sure if the screenshot ever got posted anywhere or if it was just something I did to share with Hawk.
The sprite itself wasn’t made by me, either. My first real internet friend, Cloudburst64, had made it originally. I heavily based the sprite I used for the ZSW demo on his work since I was really poor with walkabouts. I didn’t restructure this sprite style into my own until I made a “real game“. Almost all demo games I made at the time have some remnant of a sprite with these proportions.
Taken from the readme file included with this gem:
Once upon a ninja is a game about Aya’s quest to find treasure, in order to save her starving village. The actual game revolves around Aya sneaking around a castle, trying to gain three treasures. Once she gets all three she can return to her village with them. But in order to get them, she must avoid being seen by the guards.
After you beat the game, you’ll be given a rank based on how fast you beat the game and how many times you’re caught. There are five ranks in all, try to get an A!
Based upon the fairy tale, “Jack and the Giant Beanstalk”
We’ll piece this a part in greater detail soon.
I really don’t remember anything about why we made this game. I’m not sure if it was for a contest, or if Hawk just pitched ‘let’s do an Easter game’ at me or what. Whatever the case was, we landed on the light-sacrilege of Jesus Christ: Bunny Rabbit Hunter.
A wiki entry on the old SphereDev website says that the game was “Made in Sphere for Easter 2005.”, but doesn’t mention if this was part of a larger Easter contest. The genesis of this project isn’t the only thing hazy. According to an entry on Hawk’s old website, the development time of the project was only 3 days and we released on March 27th, 2005. I’m pretty sure that this was a largely Sew-project though, and the credits support this by giving me the sole “Design” credit.
Mysterious upbringings aside, JC:BRH is the game that Hawk and I feel is our most fun. It’s a simple puzzle game where you control Jesus who has “been blinded by the faith!” (award winning plot/dialogue courtesy the ever-mirthful Hachi-Roku). Each level, Jesus will auto-walk like an idiot into eggs, holes, and water, causing you to restart. Your goal is to guide Him™ into all of the crosses on each level using arrows, walls, and bridges. It’s tougher than it sounds, and the levels don’t get really “good” until the 16-18 range. A lot of the early stages are too fast-paced, and if you don’t take the time to put Jesus ‘in-a-walking-loop’ before solving the rest of the puzzle, it can be a lot more challenging. A few of the early levels also just feel tedious because of the scrolling and screen moving. The camera will auto-follow Jesus, making it really difficult to place a piece down when the screen decides to move. This forces the player to move the camera with the arrow keys as soon as the level starts to interrupt the J-man follow. And after that you can press J “To set thine eyes”,”back upon your Lord“.
This game is tough. I designed the majority of the levels and I am not a kind level-designer it seems. The difficulty of this game in particular helped to coin the term “Sew Hard” as a level of difficulty for a game far above what it should be. No one near the time of release ever beat the game, which bummed me out a bit. It was met with several favorable comments and a decent review. Someone named Tunginobi said roughly a year after the game was released:
“For something so simple, it’s surprisingly challenging. The tile colours chosen are borderline eye-bleeding, but otherwise, a good game for those who like noodle-scratchers”.
Stranger was right, the game is definitely not pretty. My choice of palette is non-existent and the starting objects for placement the game gives you, “the walls”, are not as intuitive as the arrows are visually. Replaying the game it seemed an odd choice to start you with. The walls push Jesus in a different direction based the direction he approached them from. For example, a wall slanted like this / would push Jesus upwards if he approaches it from the left, and downwards if he approaches it from the right. It, uh, takes a little getting used to.
If you can manage to beat all 20 levels, you’ll win a fancy little cut-scene that I find a lot more amusing than I should. I even featured the end mound scene in an animation I did the following year called “Cody’s Problem“.
Forgot about this one! From Oct. 2016.