I Have Created 50 Games This Year
December 15, 2014 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Kenta Cho of ABA Games has released 50 minigames this year. They are all free to play on his site, with source.

Releasing at the rate of about one a week, the games are written mostly in Haxe (an ActionScript like language that compiles to Flash, HTML5, and other targets) and sometimes in CoffeeScript. All use his MGL (Mini Game Library), the source for which is also free on his github in Haxe or CoffeeScript.

MGL provides a number of classes suited to making simple arcade games. The source code relies heavily on single-letter variable and class names to fit complex behaviors into small spaces; most of his games from this year are only 150-300 lines of code and use no image or audio files, generating everything on the fly from descriptive functions. (For those who prefer something easier to understand, long variable names have been added as alternatives.)

You may have heard of him from some of his earlier projects like BulletML.
posted by 23 (25 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

From the enjoyable to the borable.
posted by BiggerJ at 10:50 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

holy shit. Kenta Cho has made some of my all time favorite freeware games. i probably spent a hundred hours playing this dudes games in middle and high school. rRootage is one of the best shmups of all time in terms of gameplay and feel. lost touch with his work years ago, thanks so much for the post!
posted by JimBennett at 11:32 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Kenta Cho is awesome.
posted by JHarris at 12:16 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kenta Cho is awesome.

Agreed. I had no idea he'd made so many games this year... time to go have a look!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:19 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh man, yes, count me in with the "yesssss Kenta Cho" crowd.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:31 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've played about five or six of these, and every one I've tried is fun.
posted by JHarris at 12:40 AM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

This actually kind of makes me wonder, what ever happened to Soleau Software?
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:42 AM on December 16, 2014

I don't know this guy, but I've spent a couple of hours playing these silly, flawed, brilliant minigames. This shit is brilliant.
posted by cmoj at 12:55 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

cmoj, my only dispute is with the word flawed.
posted by JHarris at 1:09 AM on December 16, 2014

That's quite an output, that. I'm trying out a few of the games as we speak. Interesting to see the source code as well, but it's quite dense.
posted by Harald74 at 1:36 AM on December 16, 2014

Here's descriptions of the first ten games, going left to right then top to bottom:

FROM FOUR SIDES: Dodge the spikes. DODGE THE SPIKES! Music is "Songs to Sharpen Knives By."

MISSILE COMES BACK TO ME: Hard to get used to. Lure the missiles from the red enemies so they destroy them. Missiles can't sense you through the gray blocks -- which, by the way, don't hurt you. You can hang out inside gray blocks a long time and survive, but you only get points when the red things are destroyed. You'll score 0 a lot at this at first.

SUM10: Move the cursor over adjacent numbers. When their sum adds up to a multiple off 10, they turn into impassable white blocks and you earn points. You lose if you go off the bottom, get trapped with no moves or grab too many numbers without adding up to a multiple of 10. Good practice for counting quickly in your head. Note, you don't lose if a number goes off the bottom.

FIGURE OF EIGHT: A standard shooter, and one with very fast autofire, except your ship is locked in a figure-eight movement pattern. Fortunately this is an excellent pattern for avoiding shots, unfortunately your only control is to show your ship down, for as long as the mouse button is pressed. I've managed to get a score of 5,080 at this.

DOT CAR: Easy in that so long as you don't click the mouse button, survival is pretty easy, at least for a while. But you don't get any points just for surviving: you only get points when your food is on the accelerator -- that is, your finger is on the mouse button. Hold the button too long and you'll quickly crash. So, don't hold it that long! Helpfully, the best route through the track is marked for you.

SCAFFOLD NOW: Left and right move your guy around, and up jumps. But the screen is constantly scrolling down, and if you get pushed off the bottom you lose. To survive, you have to sometimes press down, and drop the red blocks moving back and forth at the top of the screen. When they hit the ground you can jump on them and escape the screen edge. Be careful not to crush your guy though! If you get trapped, you can break blocks immediately overhead by jumping.

DON'T SEE ME: A randomly generated stealth game. The blue enemies' cones of sight are depicted as blue fields extending out from them. If you touch one when you're not in its blue field, you kill it: you get points by how long you stood behind it. If you are in its field, it chases and kills you instead. Hide behind the purple blocks to escape pursuit. The enemies can only move in the direction they're looking.

BUBBLE CONNECTION: The screen scrolls up. Clusters of bubbles appear at the bottom of the screen. When you click in one, it and all the bubbles it over laps with pop; if any of those bubbles overlap others, they pop too, potentially obliterating whole chains. The more you pop like this the more points you get. If you wait too long to pop larger clusters however, the more chance that some of the bubbles will drift away from their friends, which must then be popped individually. The game ends when a bubble touches the top of the screen.

SIDE TO SIDE: When you hold down the mouse button, your guy jumps and moves up a little bit. The longer you hold it down, the more he jumps, and the faster he moves up, away from the deadly bottom of the screen, towards which you're constantly scrolling. He jumps side to side while he's doing this. The purple path beneath him shows how he'll move: if he's left of it when jumping, he'll move to the right, and keep going that way on further jumps until he leaves the path on the right side, whereupon his jumps will start carrying him left again. The purple diamonds are not harmful and in fact give you points, but hitting a red asterisk will end your game.

HAVE IT COMING: Your purple cannon, which you move with the mouse, automatically spurts red shots up, which then arc back down. The phallic imagery here, I guess from the title, is probably intentional. Your job is to shoot the aqua N-shaped things falling down towards you. Sometimes a P will wander on the screen from the side: shoot it and you get an additional shot. More shots mean you can hit more targets, but you die if one of your own stray shots, arcing back down, hits you. You also die if any of the targets reaches the ground. The further up the screen you point the less often you shoot, but the higher your shots go.
posted by JHarris at 2:21 AM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

This actually kind of makes me wonder, what ever happened to Soleau Software?

Looks like they're the same place they've been since the mid-'90s, at soleau.com. It looks like they actually have games that'll run on Win 7! I never played any of Soleau's games (I was a Mac head back in their heyday), but I know they were fairly well-regarded.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:25 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

yeah, I found Soleau's web site, though it really doesn't explain anything

brb getting pulled back in time to the days of shareware floppies in cardboard sleeves for a few bucks off a rack at the supermarket
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:02 AM on December 16, 2014

OMG Soleau Software ... I had totally forgotten about that! Man, does that bring back some memories of young adulthood. And it leads me to Everett Kaser, who is evidently still around and making awesome stuff.
posted by jbickers at 6:11 AM on December 16, 2014

I saw JHarris posted this on Twitter last night. I haven't yet dug into it.
posted by slogger at 7:15 AM on December 16, 2014

Is this where we're posting our favourite old-school Windows game devs? Sean O'Connor is still around - I shudder to think how many hours I've poured into playing Slay on Windows and now iOS.
posted by oulipian at 7:17 AM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Non-ironic: Best of the web! Thanks!
posted by unixrat at 7:32 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's descriptions of 11-20. The more of these I play, the more filled with admiration I am for the guy. They are all great. I get a similar feeling from these that I did with sainted Ferry Halim's Orisinal games, but less laid-back and relaxing, more hectic, and with deeper strategy.

LURE AWAY: This one's particularly interesting. Move your thingy around with the arrow keys. Press Z to drop a lure. There is no penalty or limit, apparently, to dropping lures, so feel free to go nuts. The screen slowly scrolls to the right, and you earn points over time. If you get near the right side of the screen, the scroll speed increases for a short while and you earn more points. Scrolling in off the right, few at first but more and more, are red guys. Touching a red guy ends the game.

If you drop a lure, then nearby red guys will be attracted to it. When the first red guy touches it, it'll remain active for just a second more. The more red guys that touch it in that time, the higher a number of points on the the lure gets, and the lure turns into a diamond. If you can collect the diamond before it scrolls off the screen, you earn the points displayed: you don't get them unless you collect it. The red guys, however, are not destroyed by the lure.

So, drop lines of lures: the red guys will be attracted to each in sequence, leaving the early lure diamonds as lots of points to get. One you get used to it, fairly high scores are possible: my highest is (pointedly not referring to a meme) over 9,000. There is no penalty if a red guy moves off-screen.

ENVIRON: Another real winner. You can move randomly shaped green blocks around the field with the arrow keys. You can move through other blocks, but if the game can't find a good place to "put" the block it'll turn yellow until you move somewhere else. When you press Z, you place the block where it is, it turns red, and you get another. The screen constantly scrolls down. From the top, pre-placed random purple blocks appear.

The object is to place blocks so that areas of "territory" are surrounded by either/both your red blocks and the pre-existing purple blocks. Even so much as one space is enough, and diagonal connections are okay: all that matters is that the space is surrounded. When you succeed, the space and all the blocks immediately touching the space explode, earning you points and clearing blocks off the board. Notably, blocks that are too far away from the space will remain, and must be cleaned up with more surrounds. The game ends when any block, purple or red, passes off the bottom of the screen. This game can be surprisingly addictive.

SATELLITE CATCH: You are a green asteroid. You move around with the mouse. Random, smaller purple asteroids coast on-screen from off the edges. If they fly off-screen there is no penality: they just disappear. Gravity between these bodies works: two masses that pass closer to each other are attracted, and you can build up kinda-orbits. You are not attracted to the, but they are attracted to you. If two purple masses collide the join together into a larger mass, with a larger size.

If you collide with a purple mass, however, the purple mass vanishes and you lose mass, and get smaller. You lose the game whe you run out of mass/size. You get points when things nearly miss you: if you can get the other asteroids in a fairly stable orbit with you, you can get a lot of points this way. But your slowly increasing size and the other asteroids floating in from off the screen tend to interfere with this state lasting for long. After a couple of games understanding the rules I managed to get a score of 1,149.

CRISS CROSS BOMBS: These keep getting more interesting. You are a green guy near the bottom of a screen that constantly scrolls down. Off the top appear an increasingly dense assortment of three kinds of blocks: red vertical blocks, red horizontal blocks, and purple squares. You can shoot with the Z key: your shots travel up until they hit a block or go off-screen. Every time you shoot, the screen scrolls speeds up for a brief moment. You can also manually increase the screen scrolling rate with the Up Arrow key. When you shoot a block, if it's Purple, it disappears but nothing else happens. If you shoot a red block however, it disappears but explodes first, in the same direction as the orientation of the block, vertical blast for vertical blocks, horizontal blast for horizontal blocks.

The blast travels out in those directions until it goes off-screen or hits other blocks, which explode similarly when struck. This lets you set off chain reactions, and this is how you get points: the longer a chain of explosion runs, the more points you get for each block that gets destroyed. Purple blocks are your enemy in this, as they don't explode, and just end chains. There is no penalty for blocks that escape, but the game ends if you touch any block or get hit by an explosion yourself. After a few games I made it to 2,094, but higher scores are certainly possible.

GEMINI YOU DO: Apparently one of the simpler ones. You use the mouse to control a spaceship that constantly shoots up. Off the top of the screen come random meteors. If you happen to hit one it's destroyed, but their fast appearance and randomness make it impossible to hit them with regularity. More likely, they'll travel on screen a little ways and blow up on their own, sending out two kinds of shrapnel: blue and red. Blue shrapnel is inert and just travels out, but Red shrapnel homes in on your ship slightly. Touching either kind ends the game.

The idea is to keep the Red shrapnel on screen as long as possible: the more Red shrapnel orbiting your ship, the higher your point multiplier gets. You get points over time just for having it around, and it also makes the meteors you do happen to shoot worth more points. As the game continues, meteors produce more blue shrapnel when they blow up on their own, giving you more to dodge.

BADDALION: At the bottom of the screen is a yellow airplane: despite the imagery, it doesn't fly and it's more like your home base. Around the airplane is a barrier, and you are a yelllow tank that appears outside the barrier. Use the arrow keys to move around. Moving adjusts your aim, and you can press Z to fire quick, powerful shots. Other blue tanks, the enemy, randomly appear on the edges of the screen. Their aim is to both shoot at you and your base. Randomly around the board, red blocks appear. These provide cover, but are easily shot away by both you and the other tanks.

Your job is to shoot at the enemy tanks and destroy them before they destroy your base. Each block of the barrier around the airplane can take several hits before being destroyed, and even when one block is destroyed, the random blocks can replace spaces of it (that only take one hit each, though). If your tank gets blown up the game isn't over, you get a new take for free after a couple of seconds, but in that time the tanks get more shots off at your base. The game ends when the base is destroyed.

PROMINENT MOUNTAIN: A fun little game. There is a car on the screen that constantly drives to the right on bumpy terrain, driving the scroll of the screen with it. You don't control the car, but the side-view terrain it drives on. At the point where your mouse is, the green terrain it drives on adjusts to its height on the screen. The car cannot crash by collisions with this green terrain. In fact, you can make ramps for it to jump off of. The longer the jump, the more points you get. The sharper the jump the more airtime you get, but the longer the car is in the air, the slower it gets. It only increases speed while on stable ground.

Scrolling in sometimes off the right side of the screen are red barriers you have no control over. If the car touches one of these barriers, even if just to land on them, the game ends. If the car is moving fast you don't have much warning about these, but they appear at the edge of the screen for a second before they scroll in, giving you some extra reaction time. If you make some sharp ramps you can get quite a few points before the red barriers smash up the car: I managed a score of 13,245 after a few tries.

DETERMINISTIC PANELS: A clever puzzle game, bringing in some aspects of classic arcade and console puzzlers Locomotion/Happy Trails/Junction. You have a red car at the bottom of a screen of tiles, on which are tracks. The different tracks connect up between tiles to make a path for the car to run down. Interrupting the track in places are colored symbols. When the car's path intersects with one of these symbols it slows down and gives you time to decide: what direction should the track go at that point? Decide with the arrow keys, but decide quickly, for the game ends of the car runs out of track. The idea is to get the car off the top of the screen, which will then scroll down and reveal another track puzzle for you to solve.

When you make a choice, all the symbols matching the one you decided for change to the same type, so a choice that's immediately good may cause a later crash. Often several kinds of symbols appear on the track, and you might end up making multiple choices. Apparently every screen is solveable, but sometimes the solution involves making unintuitive choices, like making routes that go down, because the tile will result in other routes elsewhere on the screen that will lead the car up. Of particular use are straight tiles, which allow the car to pass straight through from any direction.

GRAVITY PUSHPULL: You have a little spaceship that valiantly tries to fly upward through space. The screen scrolling follows the spaceship in all directions except down: if it flies to the left or right, the screen will shift to keep it on screen. Up is the direction you want to go though, and if you manage to push the screen up with its flight you get points for it.

The catch is, planets appear randomly as the screen scrolls. Your ship is attracted to planets, and if it hits one it crashes and ends the game. By holding down the mouse button, however, you can make the planets' gravity repel rather than attract. Planets only "exist" while on screen: the moment one passes off, it disappears and takes its gravity/anti-gravity with it.

The challenging thing is, the gravity switch is your only control. You have no direct influence over your ship at all, you can only adjust its trajectory using gravity. So the only objects that can end the game are also your only means of interaction. Interesting!

IN AND OUT: A surprisingly difficult game. Use the mouse to move around a little triangle. Off the sides of the screens drift these spinning yellow clusters of squares. If you collide with a cluster you get points, more points the more you collide with. The problem is, each cluster periodically, rhythmically produces a green circle that overlaps it, and touching a circle ends the game.

If you just rush and grab clusters, you'll probably collide with a circle. So, you want to watch and wait until a circle has disappeared, then you can collect that cluster safely. The problem is, there are lots of clusters, and they each follow their own cycle, and so you're constantly having to avoid them, and it's hard to track all the cluster's patterns at once. You get no points for just surviving, but you'll live longer with conservative play than aggressive. Watch for openings, among clusters that seem to be in sync with each other, then collect several at once. My high score is 672 though, which isn't that great.
posted by JHarris at 8:49 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

oh wow these are really fun! I wish i had known about them as they were being released, because its too much to go back through them all at once!
posted by rebent at 9:24 AM on December 16, 2014

The only thing missing from Soleau Software's website is the little button that proudly proclaims that it is best viewed in Netscape Navigator (also the "Under Construction" icon).

This is awesome, by the way. I fond my time waster for the week. :D
posted by surazal at 9:26 AM on December 16, 2014

I liked Slay, but I spent the most time on Mother of All Battles hotseat with lots of land.
posted by michaelh at 1:19 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kenta Cho, using Twitter handle ABAgames, has responded positively to this thread. Well, here's descriptions of ten more games, hope he likes them:

DRUNK TILT: A bit similar in theme to DOT CAR, but a little more fleshed out. Use arrows left and right to steer, but Z and X to rotate the screen. Both controls supply acceleration, not motion, so in the case of Z/X be prepared to press several times rapidly.

You can collect diamonds along the way that are worth 100 points more the more you get in order. These max out at 1,000 points. You also get points just for surviving.

There's a bit of a luck component here, your success is determined in large part of how evil the random corridors are. I struggled with scores of less than 2,000 for a while, but then got 7,721.

POKER ASSORTMENT: This seems like an easy game at first. Use the mouse (just the pointer, not the button!) to quickly rate falling poker hands. At the start you just see NO PAIR/ONE PAIR, and you think it's easy. Then it adds an extra card. Then you get four cards and it adds Two Pair and Three of a Kind to the mix. Then five cards, and you have to decide from among Full House and Straight too.

The thing that makes it difficult is that the cards are in no sort of order. Sometimes you get the larger hands early.... Note, be careful letting the mouse button stray too far down, as "Fall Fast" mode is really terrifyingly fast.

BALLOON BURROWER: This was the first one I tried, and it's an elegant and brilliant idea. The screen scrolls rightward across a compressed infinite field of balloons, all jostling with each other physically. Within a few of the balloons are balls. When you point at balloons, they pop, and any balls inside are released. When you start, you begin with one free ball, and any more from popped balloons join that one in its freedom.

The balloons are not affected by gravity, but the balls are, though they're a bit floaty. They're also slowly drawn to the right. So long as you have at least one ball on the screen the game continues, but you have to worry both about the ball getting swept off the screen to the left and falling down due to lack of support. You do this by judiciously popping balloons all around to allow the balls to continue their counter-scrolling journey.

Extra balls give you more breathing room, and also more points. Scoring is one point per second times the number of free balls in play. One of my better scores is 266.

SPEED BARRIER: This one's a little mind-bending, and a bit Ikaruga-like. You have a guy-in-a-ball, whose acceleration in all directions is controlled by the arrow keys. If he's going slower than a certain amount he's colored blue; if he's going faster then he turns red. His color is always directly determined by his current speed. There is no gravity, but there is inertia, so if you press no controls you naturally slow down to Blue status. You can also get back to Blue by countering your motion with the arrow keys.

A field of blocks and barriers descends from the top of the screen, also variously colored blue and red. If your color matches a block, then the block is destroyed -- you don't even interact with it, it shatters. If it doesn't match, then you bounce off. If other-colored blocks push you off-screen the game ends, but otherwise you bounce off the sides of the screen safely.

Scoring is interesting. You get 1 point for small blocks, 2 for medium and 3 for large. But if you can then break a block of the other color within a few seconds you increase a multiplier, that keeps going up as you alternate between breaking blocks. This is the key to getting higher scores: my best is over 900. The multiplier resets if you don't break any blocks within a couple of seconds. It starts slow, but gets harder quickly as the two kinds of blocks come closer together, but that also gives you more scoring opportunities.

OVEREXPLODE: I like this one quite a bit. You start with what looks like the traditional shooter scenario, you're a ship in a Galaga-like vertically-scrolling starfield who can shoot upward. You move around with the arrows and shoot rapid shots with Z.

At the top of the screen appear these red guys who shoot purple shots directly at your location. While all the red guys look the same, they are subtly different patterns to their shots.

Your shots do nothing to the red guys, but you can destroy them by shooting their shots. This creates large, round, expanding explosions, akin to Atari's Missile Command: the explosion from the first shot you fire can destroy others, causing them to explode too in a satisfying matchbook effect. The more explosions that are chained together like this, the higher a number on the explosions gets. If the explosion chain manages to get far enough back to destroy a red enemy, you get points matching the number on the explosion that killed it. Note: your shots also destroy explosions! So to get a good effect, you'll usually want to shoot single shots and then watch the carnage.

However, sometimes you want to shoot a lot: the explosions kill you as well as the enemies, and it can be an effective defense against getting trapped against the side of the screen. The more enemies on screen the easier it is to sustain an explosion chain and get lots of points, but surviving long enough without shooting to allow that to build up is challenging. One thing to try: I found out that collisions with the red enemies themselves does not harm you, so making wide loops around the edges of the screen, even traveling above the red guys at the top, is more survivable than you would think. But you usually want to use your position to guide the enemies into feeding your explosions, while not getting so close to them that you blow yourself up.

After a little practice, and with a good arrangement of enemy shot patterns, I managed to get a score of 131. It's important to watch your sides here: anything coming from above you can generally match with your shots, but you're defenseless from the side.

OUT OF LINE AMEBA: A fun little game. There are two amoebas on the screen, a green one and a red one. The green one grows and grows, extending out randomly unless you prune it with your cursor, which cuts off portions of it. The red one shifts about randomly in a manner not dissimilar to the Qix in QIX, or the Windows screensaver Mystify Your Mind.

Basically, you want the green amoeba to grow large, because the larger the section that gets cut off when you prune it the more points you get, growing exponentially with its size. But if the red amoeba grows into it it dies and the game ends. So, you want to prune the branches that are near the amoeba, while leaving the rest to increase the points you can harvest later. You can also re-prune safe areas to earn points, but you also lose if you kill the whole green amoeba by over-pruning.

With the dynamic of growing far but not too close to the red amoeba, this is ultimately a game of chicken. Like Qix. Bawk bawk bawk! Simple, but pretty difficult. My high score is 420.

REFLECTOR SATELLITES: Interesting, but it seems a little more unfair than the others. You're a base in the middle of the screen, and around you is a set of eight mirrors. You can aim up, down, left and right with the arrow keys, and fire in the aimed direction with X. The arrows also move a cursor, which remains over a mirror in the direction that you're holding. Hold up and the upper mirror is selected, hold up and left to select the upper-left mirror, and so on.

Press Z to rotate a mirror you're selecting. The two possible arrangements are the two diagonals: / and \. Your shots bounce off the mirrors, and in this way you can shoot the slowly approaching enemies.

The enemies approach from the edges of the screen, towards the mirrors on the edges. Your job is to adjust the mirrors so you can hit them, then hit them. They come in three colors, and you get more points for shooting the same color in a row, although survival will probably matter more to you pretty quickly.

If an enemy reaches a mirror it destroys it, making your job harder. And if an enemy gets to a corner mirror, it suddenly realized that it can move diagonally, from which direction you're defenseless, and moves in for the kill. Pretty difficult in all. After a couple of plays I got 2,600 points, but this one seems less engaging to me, for some reason, than the others.

POLE SLIP DOWN: This one's pretty nifty though. There's a horizontal row of yellow blocks with holes in it. You can adjust it left and right with the arrows. Eventually more rows show up, and you can choose which one you're controlling with the up and down arrows. When you're not controlling them, the rows naturally shift to the left.

From the top, green poles drop down of varying lengths. Usually the strike the yellow blocks at some point. Your task is to move the blocks to get out of their way, so they can fall through and get converted into points at the bottom of the screen. It's kind of like picking a lock, I imagine.

If a green pole lands on the yellow blocks it doesn't hurt anything, but just rests there. While you can only directly affect one of the rows at a time, you can use the green poles to push the other rows around. If multiple green poles are on the field at once though, you might get yourself into a situation where one of them "locks" one or more rows in place, because the poles will not break no matter what.

You lose if a green pole gets pushed off screen, either from the scrolling or because you push it off, so be careful. Poles scored are worth more points the more poles there are on the screen. As most of these games it gets harder in that it gets faster over time, and in this case as more rows are added. My best score is 236.

SPRINGING: The screen scrolls, scrolls from the right to the left. There is a bouncing yellow triangle near the left side. An endless array of green platforms comes in from the right. The triangle happily bounces upwards off of them, boing boing boing. Unfortunately there are holes in the platform array, and if the triangle falls through them the game ends. More fortituously, there are spinning bonuses that appear around, and you get points for collecting them, which goes up by 100 points for each you get, but goes down by 100 for each you miss, down to a minimum of 100.

Your only control is to speed up the rate of the scroll. You do this to try to make sure the triangle always has land to bounce on. There are two strategies to this. You can try to speed it up a little here and there, and try to make sure it lands on solid ground that way, which works sometimes and sometimes doesn't.

Or, counter-intuitively, you can hold down the button, and watch the world spin by. The triangle doesn't get pushed by the blocks, it only bounces off of them, so in terms of survival more blocks is always better, and this increases the chances that land will run into the triangle from the side, which works as well as it falling onto it. The moment I figured that out my scores suddenly improved a lot, and soon after I got a score of 1,910.

LEFT RIGHT HAND RULE: A pretty sharp idea! Maze solvers know of the "Right hand rule," which is easily adaptable to being a "left hand rule." If you're in a "simply connected" maze where every point has exactly one route to get to every other point, you can always get between them if you, effectively, follow the maze with your left or right hand on a wall and following it along. You might cross every other point of the maze along the way, but you will eventually get there. (Note: both are distinct from the Right-hand rule of 3D vector geometry.)

The maze in this game is not simply connected, that is to say, there are loops. You have what looks like a little mouse (really an arrow pointing at the wall) that runs through the maze at high speed, collecting green diamonds. When it gets one, its speed increases. Over time, its speed decreases. If gets going too slow the game ends. Once you start slowing down, there seems to be a cumulative effect, probably related to the fact that you collect fewer diamonds when slow, so you want to go as fast as you can, and get faster, because it means it's easier to keep your speed up. But it's also much harder to control the mouse at high speeds.

It travels through the maze following either the left-hand or right hand rule, as described above. Since the maze isn't simply connected, it doesn't allow it to run through the entire maze. In fact, it gets caught on loops very easily. Your only control is to switch the polarity of the rule it uses, going from left to right or back. It's easier to see in practice: if you get caught circling a wall, click when the mouse is passing by another wall that touches a diamond. It's especially nice if you can latch onto the outside wall of the maze, as that covers the most territory.

Each maze continues until you've gotten a sizeable proportion of the diamonds in it, maybe 80% or so. Then holes open up in the walls at the edges, and going through one takes you to another maze, with a new supply of diamonds to collect.

I'm not sure what the scoring formula is, but diamonds you collect while going fast seem to be worth more than those gotten when slow. My best score is 755.
posted by JHarris at 7:37 AM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thank you, 23 and JHarris for posting and promoting this. I can't wait to give some time to a bunch of these.

But I do want to emphasize, for anyone who hasn't tried them, that Kenta Cho has also made several complete, polished Windows PC freeware games that are first-rate 2D shooters, including rRootage, Parsec 47, TUMIKI Fighters, and Noiz2sa. They're definitely worth a try if you like "bullet hell / curtain fire" shmups.
posted by straight at 9:19 PM on December 22, 2014

They're not just for Windows! At least a few of them are available in open source repositories, which is where I first saw them.
posted by JHarris at 12:35 AM on December 23, 2014

Right. Here's a link to some Linux ports of some of his best games.
posted by straight at 9:39 AM on December 23, 2014

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