I think it was somewhere around the one-thousand-one-hundred-and-thirty-eighth baddy I’d shot in the head in a generic corridor that I realised I wasn’t having much fun with games anymore. When I thought back to my happiest time in front of a video game, it was always when there was someone sat beside me, laughing at my downright ineptitude and joining in the fun. Here I was: Twenty-three years old. Alone. In a cold, dark room. Bored, and drowning in apathy.
"Stuff this," I thought. "I’ll write my own." I’d dabbled in Klik ‘n Play back in the day, so it was just a case of learning to code and I’d be away! Riches! Fame! Girls! The world at my feet!
Three long months later, I’d gotten to grips with the very basics of C++. Creating a black screen with some white text was second-nature to me, but alas no actual game to speak of. Unless, that is, you’re using the term ‘game’ extraordinarily loosely... However, there comes a point where you’ve gotten so far that to turn back seems foolhardy. So I pressed on.
Get a book and even a dalmation can become a programmer
After stumbling across "Game Libraries" while on a routine Google search for hardcore pornography, progress began to come thick and fast. After a week, I had characters moving about. And after a month I had a raw engine up and running. I felt nothing short of Godlike - I could create whatever world I chose.
It was important to me from the offset that my game would attempt to break the mould somewhat. I couldn’t do anything that involved bump-mapping or anti-aliasing, primarily because I still don’t really understand what those things are. What’s more, I refused to write another shitty Indie Match-3 clone. Instead, I decided to rely on pure gameplay, and hark back to the glory days of gaming. The image in my head was this: two people, huddled over a keyboard laughing and screaming at each other as they struggled to maintain the upper hand. Whatever it was had to be fun, and funny. Disposable gaming. Short, quick sharp jabs of gaming, in which tickling, jostling and ‘burping stinky burps’ were all equally valid ‘tactics’.
Gibbage was the result. It’s a sort of 2-player cartoon deathmatch thing that I’ve often described as being like Worms crossed with Bomberman and Unreal Tourney. There’s a single player option for those of you without friends, but if you’re only playing against the AI you’re really missing out.
Gibbage isn’t a perfect game. It has its faults -- that much is obvious given the fact that it was written while I learned to code. But I'm very happy with it. At least I’ve created something that two friends can enjoy together without the vast vacuum of ‘The Internet’ separating them. If you can look past a few niggly problems, there’s a real gem of a game lurking beneath. A game that, even after countless thousands of matches played, I’m still infinitely more likely to fire up for some fun than the latest FPS.
Gibbage is available now for £6/ $10 from Gibbage.co.uk