VividBlog 5 – Game Inspirations
(Vivid – LucasMaxBros)
When making a game you have to go off from what you know and what your prefer. My history with games is a bit odd in that I didn’t play that many games during my childhood, though I did witness several being played. But perhaps it’s just my perspective since it feels like I know more about games I’ve never physically played.
Now I won’t go on about every game I ever had or every console I had access to. Just talking about some fond memories (that perhaps you’ll share similar feelings with) about games. That and what would lead to Vivid and what I want Vivid to become.
This first one is very deep. I was only born in 1994, but the earliest possible memory I can fathom… is in fact a game! I was over at my cousins with my sister. I want to say I was 3 but there’s no way of knowing. They had the SNES and played Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest and Zelda: a Link to the Past. They were pretty bad with Zelda, didn’t even know how to get pass the entrance blocked by the bush!
(Donkey Kong Country 2 Diddy’s Kong Quest – Rare)
As for DKC2, they must have been playing a used file cause World 5 was accessible. Don’t know how well they did but I only remember them playing the bee hive levels in World 4 and the ghost roller coaster in World 5. What’s really unique about this memory, besides being the first, is that I wouldn’t see this game with my eyes for well over a decade. It was stunning to see it again and play it when I finally could.
My Grandparents had a NES at their home with Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros III. Never could beat them but it was fun! Could never get pass the sun though… Then around 2000 or 2001 our uncle gave us his Super Nintendo! It was amazing and would shape my gaming experience forever.
The notable games: Super Mario World, Star Fox, Zelda: a Link to the Past, Super Empire Strikes Back, and Super Star Wars. What’s interesting about this is that I’m a kid who had a childhood in the 2000s but was raised with games like it was the 90s. We’d eventually get a PlayStation 2 with some cool games, then a Wii.
(Super Mario World – Nintendo)
I eventually got a GBA, NDS, cousin and I share a 3DS. I bought a Wii U and have a friend with a N64 (It was cool watching him and his dad beat Ocarina of Time)and XBox games. So there was a lot of stuff to play, but I never got serious with gaming until high school when I decided I wanted to make Indie Games. So some of my favorite franchises that I have fond memories of are very recent. Surprisingly so.
Which brings us to Inspiration numbero uno: Kirby!
Born in 1994, I played my first Kirby game…in 2011! That game was Kirby 64: the Crystal Shards. Besides the fun ability combinations I really liked the tone and nature of the game. The most prominent thing about it though was the music. Never in my life was I so invested in music. There were some songs I liked but could never find anything that I could say I was a fan in. Tried listening to a bunch of 80s music during high school since out of everything it had the most appeal besides some random songs.
(Kirby 64: the Crystal Shards – HAL)
I mention this because after completing Kirby 64 I found myself thinking about the music for a full week. And not just a couple songs; EVERY song. Even some of the random menu music. To this day I have an entire album of music from Kirby games because it never fails to make me happy. It opened me up to video game music in general and I’m always listening to OST’s on YouTube.
I’d go on to play other Kirby titles and have nearly played every Kirby game to date. The most interesting one was Kirby’s Dreamland 3. I say this because it was a very complicated experience. It was 2012, purchased it on the Eshop before Spring Break. We were planning to go on vacation to a beach house for the week. Managed to beat the first world right before we go. Mind you I was playing most of these games for the first time, so finding some of the hidden stuff was rough.
(Kirby’s Dreamland 3 – HAL)
I brought the game with me to play while staying at the beach. After all I live in Oregon and it can get stormy, which it did. The game was frustrating. Wasn’t a huge fan how some of the levels were done and ultimately disliked the game.
…6 months later, I suddenly have music stuck in my head. What is it? Dreamland 3. After thinking about it I decided to play the game again over the weekend. Now that I had already uncovered all the secrets and knew where they were, the game was much faster to complete. Only taking two sessions. Not only that, but it was so much more enjoyable the second time through. This game that I felt negatively towards suddenly had this unique charm to it no other game on the SNES has for me.
I personally think Dreamland 3 has some of the best atmosphere of any game with how it portrays its art and music. It just feels right and like I’m a kid experiencing things for the first time. It also reminded me of my stay at the beach, the thunder storm that happened over one of the nights, and my time with folks. While I don’t think the game itself is great design wise it has left an overall positive impression on me.
(Vivid’s walk cycle is based on Paper Mario’s)
This is the key inspiration to Vivid above all other games. The current art style uses a mixture of Dreamland 3 and Paper Mario; another game I blindly picked up and really enjoyed. You can see that even when Vivid stands still her outlines are slightly redrawn in a crayon pastel. The characters also have a paper border around them both to distinguish them and add to the fact this game is arts n craft themed.
Most of the Kirby series has an influence on Vivid. Besides what was just mentioned, the other two big games are Kirby Super Star and Kirby’s Return to Dreamland. If you were to look at a screenshot of KSS next to Vivid, I don’t think anything else would need to be said. Except that I do plan on using a similar progression system for Vivid. Instead of worlds, there would be several “game modes”. In Vivid’s case these would be individual stories. More details will come at a later date!
(Kirby Super Star – HAL)
KRtD is, dare I say, one of my favorite games. Played it several times, played it only a few months ago and not only does it hold up but there’s practically no blemishes to it. Even with a few deaths here or there (on Extra Mode) it was a smooth sailing ride the whole way. It is a perfect platformer. The challenge stages influenced Vivid’s level design and ranking system. I’d note Super Meat Boy but I’ve never played it myself.
However there is one game in particular that shares a huge amount of inspiration despite never playing “them”. Castlevania! In particular the classic games. I’ve beaten Aria several times over though.
(Castlevania – Konami)
I should note Egoraptor’s Castlevania vs Simon’s Quest video. You can easily look it up on YouTube(Warning: Language) but it did make me think a bit more on the first few games…though I disagree with his last part. The first game made you think and had enemy placement you had to figure out. In addition there were weapon drops that could appear from a random candle so you had to take what you could as you figured out the stage.
This mentality is present in Vivid. Sometimes you need to be a certain color but don’t have access to it or it’s difficult to get to. You need to figure out the stage and take what you can with you as you potentially gain or lose upgrades. Vivid is like a more precision based Castlevania with elements of Kirby (and Mario of course, I don’t think that ever needs to be explained). Even some of her weapons, such as the Ax, are a direct reference to the series. I have plans for one of the stories in Vivid to be a parody of the first Castlevania with Halloween themes.
Donkey Kong Country series, especially 2 and Tropical Freeze gave me great ideas for how to go about mechanics. Though I’d say not as huge inspiration as the others but you can see it throughout my games roots. There was one point where you had animal buddies! Tropical Freeze gave me the idea for the “Color Bounce” mechanic and has made me want to raise the bar when it comes to level design.
The list of influences goes on and on. Should mention Okami, though I never played that game. If anything this game has more influences from Japanese mythology than Okami itself. I can confirm Vivid is half-Japanese, half-British. You can also see some similarities between herself and various characters from other franchises. (Ado/Adeline, Ribon, Chuchu, and Kirby – Kirby series, Rosalina/Paper Mario – Mario series)
(Super Metroid – Nintendo)
There is one last game of significance to Vivid, that being Super Metroid. Actually you could list most 2D Metroid’s on here but most people are familiar with it. While it hasn’t been stated directly yet I do have plans to make some parts of Vivid work in a similar way to Metroid. The mechanics of Vivid lend well to it but I won’t spoil how it’ll work. Just know that it’s very interesting.
Well that wraps things up. Those are the notable games that have influenced Vivid. There are several games that have influenced me that I didn’t mention, like EarthBound, but they don’t really have anything that directly pushed Vivid. In the end I hope to provide a product that has the same qualities as most that were previously mentioned. A fast paced classic Castlevania with Kirby’s charm and polish and Mario’s varied level designs.