The only Shoot1UP blog post on the entire internet that doesn’t use the “robotits” picture!

Just a quick note that Nathan Fouts‘ awesome new game, Shoot 1UP has made it through peer review and should be hitting Xbox Live Indie Games any second now!

Nathan threw together an early build of Shoot 1UP in 7 days as an entrant in an Experimental Gameplay Project competition (which astute readers will also recognize as the origin of In the Pit) after he hit a few snags in the development of Grapple Buggy (I told him he was tempting fate by putting the word “buggy” in the title. 🙂 ). He realized immediately that he had hit on a great idea, so he spent the next four months fleshing out that “proof of concept” into a full game, and the end result is fabulous.

Shoot 1UP has the foundations of a solid “bullet hell” shooter, but what it adds to that is the clever mechanic of adding every 1UP you collect not to your stock, but to your immediate on-screen fleet. Starting with a cluster of three ships, you’ll soon be controlling up to 30 ships onscreen at once, using the game’s simple and intuitive controls to expand and contract your formation. The smaller your formation, the easier it is to dodge enemy bullets, but the larger your formation the greater the power of your “plasma auger”, a giant, devastating, “wave motion gun” that plows through enemies but only as long as you’re willing to risk spreading your ships out across the screen. In addition to your maximum of 30 ships, the second player also gets a maximum of 30 ships, and with the “ghost” power-up that creates a ghostly duplicate of your fleet you can effectively have 120 ships on the screen at once, frantically battling against dozens of enemy ships and their hundreds of bullets. On top of that you have some wonderful super-gigantic bosses, an unlockable second ship class, an unlockable, more traditional, “single ship” mode, wonderful artwork (in a truly inspired move, the ground of the first level is littered with the remains of dismembered super robots), four different difficulty modes, diverging paths within levels, and… some other stuff.

I’ve had the opportunity to play several different builds of this game as it’s progressed through development (a process that Nathan has documented here on his blog), and have seen it grow from that initial “rough but with potential” prototype to the first beta of the Xbox version, to the final version, and now that it’s getting released I’m very happy that I finally get to tell people to go play it. Come for the robotits, stay for the rock-solid and addictive gameplay!

Get the free demo here!! And then buy the full version for a dollar!

What if it was a video game?

This is a bit of a departure from the usual stuff here, but it’s good enough and video-gamey enough that I thought it was worth talking about.

A friend of mine recently posted on his tabletop-gaming blog his ruminations on running a tabletop RPG based on Day Break. I’d never heard of Day Break before (and I suspect most other people haven’t, either), but he gave an intriguing, spoiler-free summary of it in his post, so I decided to pick it up for $7.50 for the entire series and give it a whirl. My wife and I started watching it Friday evening, and finished watching the entire thing Saturday night.

Here’s my version of the gist of the show: Taye Diggs (who also starred alongside She-Hulk from Heroes in one of my favorite horror movies, the 1999 remake of House on Haunted Hill) plays a police detective named Hopper in “a serious Groundhog’s Day“; he’s living the same day over and over again, but he’s trying to solve a murder mystery and unravel a huge conspiracy. I say “a serious Groundhog’s Day” because it’s serious, and also because it’s firmly established early on that Hopper’s injuries carry over from day to day, which quickly curtails any of Groundhog’s Day‘s “toaster in the tub”-style antics. Other people can be injured and / or die and will be just fine when the day resets, but if Hopper dies it’s game over, and if he’s grievously injured he has to waste a few days being rushed to the hospital first thing in the morning and recuperating in an ICU. Still, Hopper at least carries over his memory from day to day, and if he spends all day going through some sort of grueling ordeal just to get a name, or an address, or some other important clue, then he still has that clue when the day resets, and can circumvent that ordeal completely. Hopper also gradually discovers that there are certain “side quests” he can complete (see? I’m tying this into video games. It’s not TOTALLY off-topic!) that have lasting effects when the day resets, but there’s no indication of what these “side quests” are and, thankfully, there’s no exploitable “gimmick” to making things carry over like “people remember things he tells them while a magic stopwatch is running” or anything like that, which keeps munchkin gamers in the audience from agonizing over possible ways to game the system.

This show only lasted one season, and only half of its episodes were originally aired. This is sad, but its short nature might actually be a blessing in disguise; it was created by a combination of one of the creators of Lost and one of the creators of The X-Files, two shows notorious for running WAY too long, and piling one mystery on top of another without ever resolving any of them. The creators of Day Break knew well in advance that the show was only going to last one season, and so, miraculously, all the major loose ends are tied up and there’s a great, satisfactory ENDING at the end of the last episode. I should also mention that the show features some stellar performances by everyone involved, especially Adam Baldwin (there, I just sold all the Firefly fanatics on this) and Mitch Pileggi.

You can watch the entire show on Hulu, or you can get it from Netflix (it’s not on Watch Instantly, though, unfortunately), or you can get it from Amazon for $7.50 for the whole thing (in a weird case with the discs themselves in black paper sleeves, but still — $7.50).

After blazing through all 13 episodes in a day and a half, I immediately tracked down and started playing the Gamecube port of Majora’s Mask (which takes place in a repeating 3-day cycle), unaware that I already owned but hadn’t yet played two games that revolve around “time loops”; Grim Grimoire and Flower, Sun, and Rain. So I think I’ll be living the same day over and over again for quite a long time.

UPDATE: ZOMG, I had no idea that I was posting this the day before Groundhog’s Day. Spooky!!!