One of the coolest things about the modern game community is how the walls between gamers and developers have become transparent. Those of us who grew up playing Super Mario Bros didn't know Shigeru Miyamoto from Adam (barring anyone who owned Nintendo's Mario Mania guide), but nowadays, email and social media make it easy to communicate directly with the people who make our favorite titles.
Obviously, this hyper-connectivity comes with its own crop of problems, but it's hard to argue the benefits of the project post-mortems that some developers kindly provide. An example comes from Simogo, a Swedish game studio that recently posted a prototype of an unfinished game called Rollovski.
Simogo has developed multiple games across different platforms, including Wii U, PC / Mac, and mobile. The Nintendo 3DS was almost on its Resume too, as Rollovski was engineered to be a 3DS game that took full advantage of the 3DS's 3D capabilities.
Rollovski was meant to be "a stealth game about a small limbless round detective, who must infiltrate a strange hotel with only circular rooms," one of Simogo's founders, Simon Flesser, wrote on the company's official blog. "[Y]ou don’t directly control the actual character, but rather the environments. The concept focused on two features of the 3DS: the circle pad and the stereoscopic screen.
"Basically, we imagined a game where circle pad being directly connected to a flat surface displayed on the 3D screen, so that they would 'physically' move around, 1:1 to your thumb movements. We came up with the idea of having several surfaces layered in 3D, and having a ball rolling between them."
Rollovski never got past the planning stage, Flesser writes. Simogo poked around with the idea around the same time it worked on its (now critically-acclaimed) puzzle / adventure game Year Walk, and resources were ultimately funneled into the latter project. But Simogo obviously had a cool idea going with Rollovski, which is why it put together a working prototype for PC and Mac.
The prototype isn't playable on the Nintendo 3DS, but the download page includes links to some 3D screenshots for you to gawp at.
Even though the prototype only works for PC and Mac, it's easy to see how it'd thrive on 3DS. It's a bit of a shame Simogo never developed Rollovski (though Year Walk is a worthy substitute). Though the studio is small, it exhibits a serious talent for cooking up games that take advantage of a platform's quirks.
For instance, Simogo's puzzle / adventure title Device 6 remains one of a very small number of mobile games that make me say, "This probably can't be done on any other system." You "follow" the mystery-filled journey of a woman named Anna by flipping your device around as she travels from high ground to low ground, and back again. Every so often, you come across puzzles that make clever use of your touch screen.
Though Rollovski isn't happening, I'd still love to see what Simogo is capable of doing with the Nintendo 3DS. Few games have taken full advantage of the handheld's 3D slider, and I've little doubt Simogo can come up with something very cool -- and maybe a little twisted.