Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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Kickstart This Retro Arcade Game That's Actually a Turn-Based Tactical Shooter (Developed by a Linden Vet!)

Mighty Tactical Shooter is easily among the very coolest Kickstarter game projects I've seen in years, and I'll tell you why: It's a somewhat bizarre idea that probably never occurred to you, but once you see it in action, it seems totally, badassedly obvious. Watch:

As the title suggests, Mighty Tactical Shooter is a turn-based shooter, which is a pretty rare beast, but to give that extra appeal, it's also a retro 80's arcade-style side-scrolling shooter. So all that crazy real time old school action suddenly becomes thoughtful, complex, strategic -- and still explodey. So go here to help Kickstart this already.

There's an added incentive for NWN readers: The project's the brainchild of Johnny Marshall, who SLers might remember as Johnny Linden. During his Linden Lab days, he worked with the Babbage Linden team in the company's Brighton office, helping develop the Mono scripting core. (He has a background in working on other MMOs.) In Second Life itself, he was the guitar wearing werewolf avatar who often hung in the Welcome Area.

"So why would any SLer want to help out?" he asks rhetorically, when I ask, and puts it this way:

"I guess it's an appeal to the frontier spirit," Johnny says. "The game I chose to work on is about as niche as it gets, but it was never about the mass audience, I wanted to bring something new and interesting into the world. That's why I made a turn-based shoot'em up. It looks like an old school 80's side scrolling shoot'em up (like Nemesis, Gradius, Salamander, even veterans SHMUPs like Scramble) but it's got a high resolution free flowing turn based tactical interface overlaid on the top." Also, another connection:.

In 2013, a few years after Linden Lab closed shop, Johnny started his own indie game studio, and his avatar name had a small but important influence there: "When you join SL you have to pick an in-world name that hasn't already been used (not easy in a big company!)" He was known as John back then, but "[a]fter some agonizing I chose the name I always wished I'd had -- Johnny (a small but important difference). As small as it seems (just two extra letters) that was the start of taking control and responsibility for the direction of my life." So now the guitar-playing werewolf is hoping to also develop one of the most unique indie games on Kickstarter.

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God I love the indie's influence on the games industry, it looks really fun. Though I'm not as big for the homage to retro gaming, maybe I'm a little young and it doesn't give me as much nostalgia, as much as it hightlights their innovation of an old genre I'd much prefer gorgeous 2d illustrations to the deliberately limited use of pixel blocks.

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