Crates Post-Mortem

The most brutally difficult, profanity-inducing game we ever made

We were unable to build a new game this week because of the new improvements we added to the previous game, Quicket. This took up a significant chunk of the week. We will therefore be looking back at the making of one of our older games in this post.

The History

Crates was built in August 2012 and released as a Java applet which allowed the game to be played within the browser. At the time, GamePyong was heavily invested in Java as its game programming language. We made use of the awesome LibGDX game framework to create Crates. The game was inspired by a title called Space is Key that we enjoyed playing a long time ago.

The Game

Crates is a very simple one-button game. There are three sections in each level. Each section is populated with crates that explode upon contact with the player. The crates are placed in tricky positions sometimes, necessitating quick reflexes. The player runs automatically across the screen and can jump when the user presses the spacebar key or clicks the mouse. If the player collides with a crate, he immediately re-spawns at the start of whichever section he was in. This induces the user to keep playing as there is no downtime between dying and starting again. If the player is able to reach the bottom right of the level, he gets to move on to the next level. The levels were built by our level designer using a custom level-editing feature built into the game. They were created to be brutally difficult, but beatable. This is a game where dying often is normal.

The Reception

Crates is one of those games that has a 'one more try' aspect to it. It was described by players as being both extremely challenging and addictive. Shortly after releasing the game into the wild, we posted a link to Crates on a popular Java Gaming forum: JGO. Several forum members were kind enough to play the game and give their feedback. The forum thread is here: Crates thread on JGO. People genuinely seemed to like the game even though it was insanely difficult. One of our favourite tongue-in-cheek quotes was this one from Gjallar on the forums: "I don't know if you are a faithful person but this game is pretty much your ticket to hell". It sums up the difficulty of Crates pretty well.

We eventually went on to create an HTML5 version of Crates which you can play here: Play Crates


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