Super Flipside: an impossible game for iPhone
You may remember FlipSide, an Xbox Live Indie Game I published way back in 2010 (or, more likely, you don't remember it. That's okay). It was a very simple game, inspired by Falldown for the TI-83 calculator, in which the player must navigate through endless waves of moving gates. The catch in FlipSide was that the player actually controlled two separate ships in two different playing fields at the same time. It was intentionally a very difficult game, designed to tap into the zen feeling of trying a level again and again until you could finally beat it with flying colors. This review from Writings of Mass Destruction puts it nicely:
I remember playing Sega’s Columns far enough into the game that the gems were dropping faster than I could consciously perceive them, and it seemed like the autonomic part of my brain took over and I began dropping the gems on pure instinct. FlipSide gets like that the further you play into it, presuming you haven’t thrown your controller across the room in frustration before that point. It’s a true reimagining of the classic arcade feel, done with a speed that could only be dreamed of on an Asteroids cabinet, and a techno soundtrack that perfectly complements that speed. And while this is a game with spaceships that entirely lacks shooting, the lack of guns never held Pac Man back from becoming both a classic and a huge financial success.
I always really loved this feeling and the mechanic of controlling two characters at once, but I felt that FlipSide only ever scratched the surface. The mechanic was easy to grasp but difficult to master -- there was so much more to explore! And on top of that, I always thought that the iPhone, with its awesome touch screen, would be a perfect platform for this type of game. I thought about writing an iPhone port for years. On October 29, 2016, I'm happy to say I finally released that port.
Super Flipside is now finally available for download on the App Store! I actually wouldn't call it a port; it's more of a re-imagining of the game, built completely from scratch. This game includes all sorts of features I would have loved to include in the original: multiple types of obstacles mixed and matched throughout the levels, music visualizations that are built into the game itself, online leaderboards, and all sorts of polish. I'm really happy with how it turned out.
Moreover, I'm really happy that I was actually able to build and release this game at all. I'm a web developer by day, but the reason I got into programming at an early age was because I loved games and I wanted to learn how to make them. I remember reading a series of articles in Nintendo Power about creating games with a program called ProjectFUN Editor. I made all sorts of terrible games with it. I had immediately fallen in love with the idea of programming and creating things; I loved that initial rush of excitement I felt when I made something that actually worked. Those feelings are what pushed me to pursue programming as a career. However, when you do something for eight hours per day, Monday through Friday, I feel like it's really easy to lose sight of the big picture -- "why am I doing this?". This project was a great reminder of why I love doing what I do.
Anyway! I urge all of you iPhone users to download Super Flipside right now! I do plan on trying to launch this on Android and Steam eventually as well. In the meantime, I plan on writing a few more blog posts, both technical and non-technical, about the development process. Stay tuned!