Game Ideas & Titles

Every once in a while, I get an idea for a game (sometimes just a title), and I make a note of it. But I haven’t been motivated to work on anything in… a long time. So I thought it would be fun to just post my ideas (and titles) here. One of them, I acutally did create already, so it should be easy to spot. :slight_smile:


  • A game set in the south – maybe Oklahoma – featuring hillbillies, etc.
    Maybe something kind of surreal. Definitely not meant to be funny. Maybe
    dealing with a kidnapping, or being lost in the hills, or something.
    – November 2005

  • Spaceman Robbins – Something like 1950’s sci-fi with an astronaut on a
    strange alien planet. Perhaps finding strange aliens, strange machines.
    – November 28th, 2005

  • Doctors of Opportunity – Changing small “decision points” (opportunities)
    in history to affect the present. Perhaps kind of comical in nature. The
    “doctors” would be maybe three very unique, very different characters.
    – Not sure. Early 2005, perhaps.

  • The Ides of October – Set in some kind of war, where the commander is
    making really strange decisions that make him appear crazy, but in fact
    are well-calculated based on some predictions from a soothsayer.
    – Not sure. Middle of 2005, perhaps. (Note: Renamed to Demons of October).
    (Edit: I actually started on this. Got tons of backstory and design done, anyway.
    Was going to have a lot of Roman Empire themes to it, but in a future/sci-fi setting).

  • The Clouds of Keenoss – Some kind of science fiction game.

  • The Shindahko Immunity – A crime thriller, maybe? Medical drama?

  • The Profile – A game that begins kind of plain/generic, where a killer is
    in a house, about to kill some woman who’s sleeping in bed. Most objects
    get a “that’s not important” message. Twist is, it’s a crime re-enactment,
    being theorized by the police detectives in a meeting. They’re discussing
    “the profile” of the killer, and that’s how the game began. But, in each
    successive play-through, some of the items become important.
    – February 13th, 2006

  • Corporation Games – Big business is run by a CEO (Computerized Electronic
    Organism (or Operative, maybe). They are all logic and no emotion, so that
    decisions can be made based purely on risk assessment. They compete for the
    market, and… well… that involves people’s lives and such.

  • Chen Grilly – Don’t know. Just sounds like a silly, interesting game name.

  • Impossible Perspective(s) – Just a cool sounding title. 04/07/2004.

  • Angry Autumn (07/12/2006).

  • Leeoo (07/13/2006).

  • Fritzy’s Terror (07/13/2006).

  • Rantings from the Year One Million (07/14/2006)

  • Tales of the Traveling Swordsman (a riff on “Traveling Salesman”) 7/18/2006
    Part 1: The Widow’s Daughter (neighbor girl)
    Part 2: The Flying Barge (a pile of old lumber & spiders)
    Part 3: The Tiniest Tyrant (the neighbor’s cat)

  • The Entropy Key (2/18/2012)

  • Part 1: Dawn of Entropy

  • Part 2: Day of Entropy

  • Part 3: Night of Entropy

I particularly like the concept of “Ides/Demons of October” – future science fictional Roman imperialism, prophesies, battles! – There could hardly be a blurb more capable of triggering my “That’s totally awesome” response. :slight_smile:

“The Profile” sounds interesting, too. Would the game use data files to keep track of what items are going to be important in each new session?

I wonder if “The Entropy Key” trilogy – or any of the other science fiction settings, for that matter – is related to the world of Trading Punches.

Argh – I don’t know what happened there, Bainsespal. I somehow replaced your message with my reply. I’ve fixed it for the most part, but lost the first thing you had said. I really don’t know how I managed to do that. Sorry.

Anyway –

I was planning it as an IFComp entry a few years ago. It could be a much bigger game, though. I have a lot worked out. I really should work on it. I lost my motivation with three kids and more demanding job responsibilities. I probably have enough time to work on this, but the motiviation just never came back.

It wasn’t going to be random or anything. It was going to fit into the puzzles, so I’d know from the design how everything needs to work out. But other than that, it was just a rough idea. At the time, I remember thinking that if it was submitted to the IFComp anonymously, it would probably get a lot of low marks because a lot of people wouldn’t play past the beginning, thinking it wasn’t very well fleshed-out. So I thought maybe there would need to be some indicator early on that it’s not just a poorly-designed game.

Hmm. Nope. Just a random idea.

I was (am?) planning 4 prequels/sequels to Trading Punches (“The Convergence Saga”). The first is (would be?) called “Empyrean” and deals with the genesis of the Incinders (without saying much more to spoil anything). It was going to cover that backstory as a prequel. I have a lot of design written out for it as well, but I think it’s in a notebook and I’m not even sure where. It was also going to talk about the origins of the Incinder prophecy.

The second one was going to cover the backstory prior to the events of Trading Punches. I don’t even remember if I had a name for it.

The third, if I remember, was going to cover the same events as Trading Punches, but from the perspective of Thyras (the brother/antagonist from TP). I don’t really know how this was going to work, but it was the basic idea.

The final chapter was going to be a sequel, taking place after Trading Punches. I think it was going to be called “Inherit The Earth” and deal with, well, returning to Earth somehow. I’m sure I had more in mind at the time, but it has been several years.

I learned a lot after Trading Punches, from writing Distress and Traveling Swordsman, plus playing and reviewing many IFComp games. When I wrote Trading Punches, it was after a five-year break where my last game had been a DOS home-brew and I hadn’t really played much else. I think I could do justice to the continued saga… except for my unfortunate and total lack of motivation to actually do it.

You’re too powerful for your own good! :laughing:

This one stands out for me. If you (or someone) were to make that trilogy, I’d probably play it. Also, maybe the night of entropy should be the fourth part and have the dusk of entropy as the third.

The Profile and Corporation Games both sound like riffs on A Mind Forever Voyaging - have you played that? They both sound like good ideas - there’s definitely a lot more room in the genre for this sort of thing.

I’ve got a ton of ideas I’ll never get around to implementing, so I might as well post them here too. It would be cool to hear from other authors as well. I’m afraid I never bothered to note when I had these ideas. It’s all just stored in a big Ideas file.


  • A game where you play the Holy Trinity and have to switch between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to solve puzzles.
    The game will start with “It is pitch dark, and you can’t see a thing”, with no explanation, and the player will have to
    type “Let there be light” to continue.

  • The PC is a dull bureaucrat trying to complete some unspecified logistics assignment.
    At the end, it turns out that the PC is … Adolf Eichmann!

  • The Execution – The PC is a criminal about to be executed, and has to decide how to spend the
    last remaining minutes of his life. There will be no way to avoid the execution, because death is
    inevitable for all of us, you know. The game will be really artsy and literary with lots of Dostoevsky
    references, and stuff like that.

  • The Elevator – A game based on a dream I had where I took hostages in an elevator, and
    couldn’t get away. The player will have to drive up and down in the elevator, attempting to
    escape a SWAT team, while simultanously managing the hostages, who all have wacky
    personalities, and constantly clash with each other.

  • The Vampyre – A comedy game about a vampire trying to find suitable prey, but ridiculous
    coincidences keep getting in the way. In the end, the player has to devise some overcomplicated
    Rube Goldberg plan, to finally manage to drink blood from some random guy. Also, the vampire
    thinks he is a badass Lord of the Night, but is really a bit of a loser.

  • The Devil and Professor Daniels – After a tragic event, a school teacher makes a deal with the devil,
    allowing him to travel back in time to key points in people’s lifes, and prevent fatal mistakes in their
    past. This being a deal with the Devil, each change just makes the present even worse. The final
    solution is for the PC to use his power on the Devil himself, and prevent him from rebelling against God.
    This causes the Devil to cancel the deal and roll back all the changes. Inspired by the Mental Echo
    power from “Cryostasis”, a game everyone should play.

  • The Bible vs. Thomas Jefferson – Thomas Jefferson travels back in time to provide naturalistic
    alternatives to the miracles of Jesus, so every Bible will be the Jefferson Bible! Puzzles
    will involve stuff like bringing enough loaves and fishes that Jesus won’t have to create any, saving
    him from the cross, and so on.

I would enjoy playing those… :slight_smile:

Seems you weren’t the only one to want to do something like this. From Infocom’s aborted-game-ideas files:

The elevator idea sounds like a blast - lots of humor potential!

The deal-with-the-devil game reminds me of Ursula K. LeGuin’s novel “The Lathe of Heaven.”

I think I already made that game. It’s probably called something like Hidden Baron Mode.

This reminds me of Train.

It brings to mind an anecdote of the mainframe-era computer scientist whose military bosses kept troubling him with requests for crop-dusting algorithms to better disperse pesticides through a field. Puzzling work, but not hired to question instructions from above and in any case intrigued by the challenge of the problem itself… only later realising that his assignments were candy-coated plans to efficiently disperse nerve gas through villages of noncombatants.

I don’t make games, I play them. Here’s an idea I would love to see in a game (IF or not).

You play a supernatural entity that can only be described as “bad luck”. You “infest” a person and can perform subtle manipulations of events around them or influence actions the victim performs (again in a subtle way, without the person noticing that something is wrong.) Like making a cigar fall to the ground and causing a fire or spilling a glass of water “by mistake” as the person is reaching for something else on the table. The more successful you are in causing bad luck, the more powerful you become in manipulating events and actions.

This can be used in pretty much any setting you can imagine. Like transforming an average Joe (infested from childhood perhaps, slowly influencing him/her) into a serial killer wanted all over the globe, or causing World War III by manipulating events around world leaders. It can also be used in reverse, causing good luck instead. But being evil has more appeal for me.

This sounds not entirely unlike “Tapestry.”

I’ve been tossing around a few game ideas that aren’t well formed enough to articulate, but I keep wanting to call it “Rewilding.”

I am full of game ideas. What I’m not full of is time to work on them and the skill to finish a game quickly… heh. Here’s a few I’ve thought about (and feel free to use these, by the way - I’ll probably not get to them):

Taking Over: (a study in controlling a character)
-The goal is to escape a creepy house - however, the PC is only marginally under the control of the player, and if given the opportunity will break free… which usually ends badly for the character. Efforts to keep the PC under control can harm them, destroying their personality. Are you a demon or an angel? Will you save the body and lose the soul?

Colors of Insanity:
-The PC is insane, and must escape the asylum. The insanity results in various personalities, based on colors - staring at yellow results in becoming sneaky, but cowardly; staring at red results in becoming strong but enraged; staring at purple results in becoming very well spoken, but perhaps too much so, and so on. All the room descriptions are based on the current character - the sneaky personality would be more apt to find an open air vent, while the rage personality may just smash everything). Possible endings include being cured, with personality based on those most-used (either turn count, or puzzles-solved-count).

The Panama Hat:
-The PC is… well, whoever is wearing the titular Panama hat. To change to a new ‘host,’ just get them to wear the hat. The eventual goal is to unite The Outfit: a scarf who controls the wind, gloves that give super-strength, boots that are everything-resistant, and last but not least, a stopwatch that can control time.

Until There’s One Life Left:
-A disaster results in a bank teller, a young girl, an old man, a married couple, and a teenaged boyscout being trapped in the bank vault; when it opens the next day, the city is in ruins. The player chooses a character to go first, and tries to free the group… but each puzzle results in someone being left behind, sometimes in good situations, sometimes not.

Setting up (or) A Puzzling New Job (or) IF, Inc.:
-You start a new job. It seems to be maintenance-related; you get non-specific orders like “lock up, then hide the key somewhere.” However, back at the office, people around the water cooler will mention where you hid things - “…hid it in a potted plant! Brilliant!” Towards the end, you’re scrambling to hide tools, plant keys, write notes, and repair statues as you’re rushed from one job site to another - the Adventurer is not far behind, and you need to finish those puzzles! The beauty of the game would be the randomness - you could hide the key in a closet, or you could hide it in the fridge in a kettle under a newspaper.

Oops:
-The PC doesn’t actually do what you tell her. She’s a complete klutz (or drunk, or ill); ‘open door’ results in your character falling out a window and causing a fifteen-car pileup; ‘close door’ results in her accidentally purchasing a large television. Your mission: to save the President from assassination. Probably the best way to do that would be to try to help the assassins. Definitely humorous.

Overwatch:
-a one-room puzzle. You interact with NPCs through commands (“Joe, open the door” or “Sue, inventory”), and watch the result of their actions on a bank of screens. Try to keep them all alive, eh?

And those are just a few from my off-the-cuff ideas file. You should see my work-in-partial-progress directory!

I rarely come up with titles when thinking of ideas. The titles just always come last or not at all (assuming the ideas are not yet implemented), because once I have a title, I feel more boxed in. Now I not only have to fulfil the idea, but I have to do so in a way that fully justifies a particular title, to which I’ve probably become attached. Nah, better to just develop an idea in isolation from how to present it publically – at least for me.

I’ve been reading Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Lincoln” and I was thinking about a game where the player is transported back to that April and has the opportunity to stop Booth before he can shoot the president. Or maybe he inadvertantly changes Grant’s plans so General Grant and his wife decide to attend the play with the President after all, giving Booth his dream opportunity of the double assasination he was originally planning.

I don’t normally care much for historical fiction, but I happened to go on a local “ghost tour” last fall and learned of a bombing spree in Milwaukee in the 1930s that had several interesting elements.

Info about the bombings:
milwaukeesfinest.net/19301939.html (scroll down a bit)

Now, the strange twist is that supposedly, these bombings were predicted by a psychic named “Doc” Roberts:
jcs-group.com/enigma/enforce … ychic.html (scroll to Doc Roberts section)
books.google.com/books?id=Fl1L5h … &q&f=false
books.google.com/books?id=SsLcL- … &q&f=false

Lastly, with Milwaukee’s Socialist history, of course, there were those that attributed the bombings to Communists:
news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 … 01,4306479

In any case, I thought the spiritualist thing was a very interesting twist, and it got me thinking about how a historical fiction game about it would be cool. You’d be some kind of detective trying to discover who’s behind the bombings, and your, um, detecting would involve the spiritualists, socialists, and local captains of industry. Who’s behind it all? Who are the scapegoats? Who are the puppets?

While it’s unlikely that anyone but me would want to write this game (as they probably don’t live close enough to Milwaukee to do the proper research), I don’t think I’ll be getting to this idea anytime soon so I thought I’d put it out there.