Tuesday, October 31, 2006

America: It's not big, not funny and not clever!

Boo hoo! It's happened again! Those irony-lovin' Americans failed to buy into the Click the Spot mania that's sweeping the globe. WHAT IS WRONG WITH IT? IT'S BRILLIANT, CAN'T YOU SEE THAT?

"Fuck you America!!!"

Click the Spot has been blammed! Within 10 minutes of posting on Newgrounds, it's been sodding blammed! Our masterpiece, our life's work, discarded like some piece of rubbish (or "trash", as THEY would probably call it)

Apparently Click the Spot, and I quote, "sucks!" and "doesn't even deserve the small amount of data it takes up on the entire internet!" - HOW CAN THAT BE TRUE? The game that was voted #37 on the BAFTA nominated BBC series "Top 100 Most Awesmoe Games EVAH!". BAH!

If you are one of the miniscule proportion of the population over the big pond - Read Canadian, South American, or otherwise extremely unfortunate and miserable, that is able to appreciate the concept of irony or satire, then please please get in touch and tell us about your feeling of isolation on that big ol' continent.

Bah! We shoulda just done something about Steve Irwin.

(incidently we think Steve Irwin was great)

We'll give you another chance to play this world changing game, but please go through the following checklist to make sure you do not agree with any of the points before doing so, or you may be sadly disappointed by the shear awesmoeness of Click the Spot.
  • Homer going "Doh!" is pretty much the funniest thing about the Simpsons!
  • Family Guy is funny!
  • How about that American Psycho book huh? What a load of racist, mysoginistic, vile trash!
  • Seinfeld is so much better than Curb Your Enthusiasm!
  • The American version of The Office was a hoot!
  • Taken is much better than The 4400!
  • South Park is just shit potty humour!
  • 24 is NOT propaganda.
  • Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
  • I have absolutely no idea why everyone hates America.
  • Futurama was rubbish and deserved to be canned.
  • Carnivale was rubbish and deserved to be canned.
  • Boy, those Holodeck episodes are great!
  • Gaius Baltar is a Cylon.
  • Adama is a Cylon
  • George W. Bush is not a Cylon.
  • Arnie and Jessie Ventura governing states bigger than some countries is not completely INSANE.
  • Rob Schnieder should be in more films.
  • 12 Lost series? Bring it on!
  • Third Rock from the Sun - Witty AND intelligent.
  • Alexander the Great was Irish.
  • Free Speech is not a fallacy.
  • Budweiser is the king of beers
  • John Wayne is NOT gay.
Did you agree with any of these statements? Beware! Check your birth certificate. You MAY be American.

If not, then congratulations. You're ready for the AWESOME AUDIO VISUAL FEST that is... Click the Spot!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Lemmy&Binky's Guide To Game Design

Every great game is built using Metaphor. Now Metaphor isn’t some programming language or document editor - I've only capitalised it because it’s Really Important. Like that bit. See? Good. Now our Metaphor should be Solid and Hard. Let’s pick an example.

How about pickle as in, "in this game the player gets in a bit of a pickle". Now you might be thinking that this is a great Metaphor because it implies that your game’s got great puzzles – pickle is after all made out of a combination (that means mix) of ingredients. And you combine things in some puzzle games. Also, pickle is quite tasty and you might want your game’s protagonist (that means player character) to be some tasty bird.

But no! Pickle is no good because pickle is squishy and not Solid and Hard. We need something that really screams Solid and Hard (that isn’t rude), and I can think of only one thing – a Rock. As in Solid as a Rock! Rock Hard! Rockefeller! Rock on, dude! Rocky IV! Baroque! Perfect!

How to conceptualize an award winning game

Every planet has a Rock at its core. Every game has a nugget of what it is, and that is the concept. The conceptualization of the game is the stage where you decide what is in the game. Conceptualization is really important.

Some great concepts include ones where the player has to do really cool things, like save the world or destroy something, or rescue a princess. A concept can also be something that is different about the game. It could involve no shooting, for example. Or it could involve shooting different things (like aliens, or innocent people)

Anyway, as you can see, ideas spray from my brain like a geyser of genius, but that is to be expected. For you this process may be hard. But do not despair, because a Rock is fashioned from smaller Rocks – for even the ant that stands on the pebble stands taller than the smaller ant, in the mud beside the pebble. I think that is the best way to express what I mean.

So, as you can see, conceptualizing is Very Important.

How to construct an exciting and absorbent narrative

Narrative is very important. A litre of water can be displaced by a Rock. And that Rock is the Narrative, in a bucket of Story.

The narrative is what happens in the story, and how the game happens to the player as they are playing the game. A narrative requires a narrator, and that narrator is you, and you must narrate to the player the story in the form of a narrative. This is what a narrative is.

Always start your narrative with a cut-scene!

This cut-scene should be long and impressive. Now, some gamers are lazy gamers, and they just want to get to the game-play as quickly as possible. Of course, we know that the narrative is Very Important, so it is crucial that you make sure this cut-scene is compulsory. A good way to do this is to disable the joy-pad (this is programming speak for making the joy-pad not work)

Gamers get tired hands

It is important to interrupt game-play frequently to give the player’s hands a rest. Adding numerous non-story related cut-scenes, a great example of which is the brilliant Resident Evil series and it’s fondly remembered opening door animations, which were actually not related to load times, but a genius bit of game design to rest gamers’ hands. You can use similar devices like overly complex “picking item up off floor” sequences, or blissfully long death animations.

Story drives game-play, not the other way around!

A car cannot be driven without a driver. That driver must be the story pushing the pedal of narrative. It is important that what happens in your story happens, whether the player likes it or not. It doesn’t matter if the player isn’t having fun right away, if it’s important to the story then put it in, because there’ll be plenty of time for fun later on.

Adding the plot twist

You must have a plot twist because it makes your story sound clever. A good way to add a plot twist is to make one of the characters a bad guy, even though you thought they were a good guy (like in Star Wars). This is a great example of a plot twist. Market Research scientifically shows that this plot twist will do, so just use that one. Also, make sure that this plot-twist is explained in full on the back of the box, to show the gamers that they are buying a clever game.

Think big (like a Rock, a big Rock)

Some small and boring game is not going to get to #1. Gamers are hungry for bigness, and only bigness will do. For example, it is generally seen as a bit of an embarrassment in the upper echelons of the game industry to release a game that fits on a single DVD (or perish the thought, a CD), so make sure your cut-scenes are high definition FMV that would make Peter Jackson bluish. Your story deserves it.

Ending on perfection

Spending time on the ending is not as important as the beginning, as only a few gamers will get to it. Junior designers or placement students would be ideal for this task, so you can spend your time making that all important intro! Remember to get your name first on the credits, and that the credits are accessible from the main menu (or better still compulsory at the start of the game). Remember whose hard work this game is down to. (Yours… and mine)

So there we go. Rock Solid game design in a nutshell. No not a nutshell actually, a Rock Holder. But a small Rock Holder that’s portable and fits into a pocket or something.

P.S. Buy Gibbage by Don Martian

Lemmy&Binky's Guide To Screenwriting

In a bold and unprecedented move, Lemmy&Binky are going to take some time out from the rollercoaster world of games for this post. So what are we going to learn about instead?


Yes, after reading this short guide, you will be belting out blockbuster movies in days. And that's a guarantee! (though not the legally binding type of guarantee)

I must stress at this point that even if my excellent examples suggest otherwise, I am not a successful scriptwriter, and in fact have not had any work published, nor read by any agent or producer, or any other person in the movie industry. But I have wrote many great movie scripts, both of which were finished to a high quality and read by over two people, only one of which was my mother.

So without further ado, let the learning begin!


The first step to creating a script that will sell is considering what the story is going to be about. Things with bombs in (or guns perhaps?) are always popular. Love stories are good too. Stick some guns and bombs in and you're golden.

They say there are only seven basic stories, but I have discovered several more. What follows is the absolute definitive list of story plots in the world of literature:

  • Someone is going to blow something up, someone stops them using guns and string vest.
  • Someone falls in love with another person, they have a slight sad bit, followed by a happy bit. This happy bit is the end.
  • There is something that happens, but you see after it happened first. Then actually see it happen -- but in little bits.
  • Someone thinks something, then thinks something different after some things happen to them.
  • Some things happen and almost everyone in the world dies except the hero, hero's family, hero's dog.
  • Some people go somewhere because something might be wrong. Something is wrong. Everyone dies except those who escape.
  • Someone is a bachelor, but then acquire a child somehow and is forced to look after it. Eventually learns about kids.

Hmmm actually, after counting, I guess they were right. There are only seven basic plots.

The best way to make an interesting plot is to take something normal, and put a comic twist on it. The twist could be somehow ironic (Americans: "crazy switch around funny"), like a man with no arms that enters a boxing competition, or a US President is elected that can't read, has lots of comedic misunderstandings due to his illiteracy, and then accidentally starts a war. It doesn't have to be completely plausible, it just has to get your attention.

So you've got your basic idea. Now you need to turn that into a pitch of a few sentences in length that captures the essence of your movie story. Here are a few examples:

  • A father must rescue his kids from a one-armed terrorist who is also a ninja, but things go from bad to worse when his mind is switched with the family dog by a voodoo priest.
  • Shelly Metcalfe is a sweet girl living in LA, and has everything going for her. Until one day her life is turned upside down when her feet are transformed into two crazy yet charismatic aliens by a voodoo priest.
  • Sheriff Smith has his work cut out for him. A new cowboy rolls into town who is actually a cowgirl, and the Sheriff falls for her, but things get complicated when she is wanted for the murder of a local voodoo priest. The sheriff must decide between a life on the wrong side of the law, or shooting her with a big gun.

There you go, simple as that. You can almost see them on the silver screen, can't you? Feel free to use any of these great ideas as you see fit. I have loads.


Writing the words is one of the hardest parts of scriptwriting. It is at its easiest if you can read and write. If you're reading this now, then well done! You're already 50% of the way there. If you can write also (try this now on any handy writing surface), then you have everything you need to start. If you are unable to either read or write, then I suggest you learn to do so before continuing this guide.

Royal "We"

It is important not to say "we" when writing scripts, as it destroys the illusion that the script is really happening when it is being read, or something. I can't actually remember the reason, but it's very, very important, trust me. See the following example:

"We see a man wearing shorts."

"A man wears some shorts."

Which of the above lines made you imagine a man wearing shorts the most? The top one? I think not!

So what if the word "we" is needed for a line of dialogue? Simple, just exchange it for the words "the people present". e.g.

We must stop him before it’s too late!


The people present must stop him before it’s too late!

Easy. Remember... if you say "we", anyone reading your script will instantly think it's crap, and that you are an idiot. Just don't do it, okay?!

No cameras in your script

Don't feature any cameras in your script. It is the director's job to decide if cameras should feature in a screenplay, not yours. You can always substitute them with a mobile phone, or a magnifying glass, or something. If the director feels its important to the story, he will put the camera back in upon filming. Remember, it's a director's medium.


Writing dialogue is tough stuff. You need to be acutely aware of how people speak. For example, people tend to have pauses when they speak, and say things in funny accents and that. This is what makes dialogue hard.

To make good dialogue, you have to make sure the "flow" is right. This means that the words "flow" out at the right pace, and don't sound clunky and stupid.

Also, unless the character is meant to prattle on, say everything in as few words as possible.. e.g.

Hello, my name is Mike. I work
in a fire station. One might
assume that I am a fireman
by trade, and one would
assume correctly.

Yuck. Terrible... too much information, my friend! You ever heard anyone talk like that? No, me neither. Armed with a Dictaphone, take a walk to a fire station. It'll be worth the trip. I tried that and got some valuable insights. Here's what I ended up with:

Hey, I'm Fireman Mike!

See? Short and sweet. It gets all necessary information across to the reader in the smallest time possible. His name is Mike. He's a fireman. He's friendly. He's in a fire station, probably.


Exposition is where the plot is revealed to the person reading the script, or watching the movie. Bad exposition is obvious exposition. How many times have we all seen this before?

My God, the entire world is being overrun with jam!

But if that happens, won't the ancient Greek puzzle become unlocked and unleash the evil legions of Hades... upon Greece?

It sure will, Bob. There are three keys that must be found before we can lock the puzzle and bury it forever, or at least until it is dug up again in the sequel.

Will there be traps and snakes and stuff?

You can count on it.

Terrible stuff! Forgive me, but I wrote this clunky dialogue to illustrate a point, and my dialogue is usually top notch stuff. The problem with this dialogue is it is what is known in the industry as "on the nose". People don't queue up at the cinema to be told a bunch of stuff, they queue up to buy a ticket to get into the cinema.

Do you see the point I'm making here? I'm not quite sure myself, but I'll say this: If you're going to have interesting things happen, then it is important to get it happening on the screen, otherwise the special effects departments will have sod all to do. The above example could be tackled as follows:


Jam oozes through the canyon. Two old men with few teeth observe.

Will this jam ever be stopped?

I don't know... I just don't know.


The Greek puzzle begins to glow as jam seeps over it.


A demon is laughing manically.

Hahaha! I'm free!!!
Free to attack ... Greece!

Point made, I think. And how!


Oh dear, now the boring bit. I'll keep this short, but basically if you're looking to submit your script to someone in the biz, then it's a good idea to make it professional. Don't be slapping any weird fonts in, or pictures of your family. Unless of course the movie is about your family, or weird fonts.

It should be in that typewriter font. The one off of Murder She Wrote. Only smaller than it appears on screen (unless you own a small TV). All studio execs are huge Angela Lansbury fans, perhaps finding her erotic despite her seasoned age, I have no idea, but whatever the reason they never tire of reading in that font.

Also, make sure that there are lots of white bits down the sides. This is called "white space", and gives people reading the script somewhere to grip without getting inky fingers. And inky fingered execs mean no sale for you, sunshine!

For a front cover, why not go wild and fake a DVD cover for your movie? Maybe with photoshopped heads of your prospective cast? Studio exec fellows will eat that shit right up, surely?


Marketing your script is the easiest bit. You've just got to mail it to a bunch of agents, and then get them to sell it for loads of cash. If your script is as great as it should be after reading this guide, then offers will be rolling in.

And there you have it. Any questions? Just get in touch and answers be yours! (possibly)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Industry Top Facts: Shigeru Miyamoto

It's time for another edition of Industry Top Facts. This time we will be learning lots of interesting, and definitely true, tidbits about Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto!

. Although most famous for coming up with Mario, Miyamoto was also responsible for inventing the postage stamp, Tuesday afternoons, and more crucially the Curley Wurley.

2. The main characters in Mario Bros were originally intended to be Russian gynaecologists, until Miyamoto came onto the project and insisted that Italian plumbers would be much more believable.

3. When demoing the Wii to top Nintendo execs, Miyamoto managed to sell the idea of the revolutionary control device by showing them a tech demo that involved poking a monkey out of a tree with a long stick.

4. The world and events portrayed in Legend of Zelda are based upon a true story.

5. Miyamoto is a huge fan of Gibbage, claiming it is much better than any game he’s ever come up with. He also refutes any claims that he has received any death threats through the post from Gibbage creator Don Marshall.

6. Miyamoto once wore a red plumber’s hat for 10 years straight for charity, but unfortunately he forgot to tell anyone; including the charity.

7. Miyamoto was once arrested for head-butting a shop proprietor’s block in downtown Tokyo.

8. The risqué comments Mario makes about the origins of Princess Peach’s name were removed from the US release of Super Mario Bros.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gibbage Review

We thought we had better cement our place as the official place for really good reviews of games written in a witty way but also being really informative whilst writing in an extremely good style and that. For our first review will be Gibbage by Don Marshall.

Not much can be said about the graphics in Gibbage.


There is some gameplay involved in Gibbage. This is mostly carried out through a keyboard.


We soak-tested Gibbage on our PC for 20 days straight. It seemed to be lasting perfectly well, though we weren't playing it at the time (it was too dull)


On the while we found Gibbage to be an extremely fun and worthwhile experience. We did however feel the crack was not easy enough to find and apply, and involved too much fiddling with renaming filenames.