Straight up, Gon Lee of Total Battery is a frickin’ machine. Dude, has like a wife and two kids, a full time job (at his father’s battery company aptly named, you guessed it, Total Battery), and he still manages to put out a game every few months.
I, on the other hand, woke up at 12 today, spent 4 hours changing up like 100 yuan at the bank, and then I came home to take a nap. I even took a 30 minute break to watch YouTube after writing that sentence. Fuck me, I’m wasting my life. (Ten more minutes after this one.)
I digress, again. Total Battery puts out some crazy cool games. Most of them use that old LCD Game and Watch aesthetic, with simple well-tuned controls and gameplay to match. None of them are large enough to do a whole article on each, so lucky you, you get a gameography. Here’s every title I know they’ve put out so far.
I.F.O. – iOS, Windows, Mac
In Identified Flying Object, out just last week, you pilot an old-school prop plane, and get into Snoopy vs Red Baron style dog flights with aliens pulling Defender-style lifts of cattle, and power-ups, and power-up cattle from the planet. Shoot the aliens, save the cows and absorb their sweet sweet buffy innards, kill the bosses to get ahead.
I have mixed feelings about this game. Hear me out. What if the “aliens” are actually just trying to save the cows from prop plane absorption or ending their lives on a dinner plate? What if they’re actually from the Alpha Centaurian branch of PETA, trying to save one of Earth’s most peaceful and intelligent species from destruction to give them a life of dignity and grace?? And you’re SHOOTING THEM FROM THE SKY!?!
Hmm… I’d probably still shoot them, too, but… um… moving on.*
Escape! Skeleton.J – iOS
Escape! Skeleton.J is a runner, and a boss battler? You gotta take your weird little skeleton dude, and outrun a mob of angry townspeople as they chase you down for collecting all of their purple poo. The more poo you collect, the better… for some knight dude anyway, because at the end of the level you get shot and your spirit and collected purple poo gets absorbed so that the knight dude can try to defeat some other dude. It’s kinda like an 80s soap opera, you know where Jill and Katherine duke it out only to find out that they’re actually mother and daughter…for a bit? You know, plot twists. Yeah, I don’t get the end part, but it’s fun. Gon tried to explain it to me, but I was too busy playing to listen.
Try it yourself and see if you can figure it out. You can also fart in it. I’m down with that.
Nightmare – iOS
Nightmare is a run and shoot that behaves a lot like 1943 or Galaga but with a running dude trying to kill a bunch of enemies and escape some sort of nightmare. I can really relate to the dude, being 40 and still Skyping into my parent’s basement every week or so. (Yes, I’ll cut my hair, mom. No, I haven’t joined another cult, mom.)
There’s a wide variety of enemies and bosses and it doesn’t feel restrictive like an actual Game and Watch game does. Controls are tighter on I.F.O., but give this one a shot too.
R.Hood – iOS
Okay this one is clever, but I wish it had the same Game and Watch feel. You play as R.Hood (abbreviated for copyright reasons? Maybe to avoid the Diznee hounds?) walking through the woods, violently swinging around a woodsman or other characters to beat the ever loving shit out of some hungry bouncily attacking wolf heads. Spin your dude too fast and they’ll get dizzy, and they won’t be able to save you. If things get intense you do have a board wipe or two, but for the most part, you’re just going to get mobbed and eaten alive.
Older fairy tales are the best. So family friendly.
I Hate Santa! – Windows, Mac
This is the last title I know about. I think Gon belted this out in a week for a game jam at some point. If think society is not doing enough to help the war on Christmas, then you’re int he right place. In I Hate Santa!, your job is to destroy santa before he can enter your small, poorly drawn, one room house to give you a present. You have three traps at your disposal and you need to mash on them to keep Santa at bay.
My current high score is 2. (The controls are horrific, but then again it only took one week of dev.)
Right, so that’s Total Battery. They’re on Facebook or something. Go check them out. I’m going to work on my game now. I feel like I need to… actually do something. #motivated #butforhowlong?
*That’s a joke, PETA, a mildly humourous JOKE. You remember, humour? From back before you ascended to not eating anything that casts a shadow? No? Tough room.