Try as I might, I could never get the hang for developing online games. The process needed to create all the user controlled animation just never clicked with me. I love playing them and wish I could make them, but alas, it is not to be.
Thank goodness other people don’t give up as easily as me. Users at Reddit are creating a real life version of the game Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne. The racist, sexist, anti-hippie video game was the center of a recent episode of Community.
In “Digital Estate Planning”, Pierce Hawkthorne is told that his millionaire father has developed a high tech (8-bit but with user recognition capabilities) video game. The entire study group is invited to play. They soon discover that it is a trick to punish Pierce for his request to borrow money to develop a video game over 30 years ago. The only way Pierce earns his inheritance is to be the first player to defeat the game.The current version of Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne is a looping series of four rooms. There is the introductory room–the study room–where Jeff teaches everyone to play–up is jump, left and right are left and right. Then there is the hallway filled with rabid cannibalistic hippies. Exit through the doorway and you’re in the pastel colored Super Mario Bros. 2-esque forest platform stage. One more doorway leads you to the remains of the Old West town before you’re looped back into the study room.
Unfortunately, you can’t do a lot of things yet. There is no chance to kill someone with DIY alchemy. You can’t murder the blacksmith and burn down the survivors. And you certainly can’t take over the entire game by building an elaborate golden city with in-game robot slave children. Some day.
I like it when fans put their heads together and develop something fun for other fans to do. They’re on shaky legal ground in using another group’s IPR, but they’re not selling the game. It’s freeware by fans, for fans. There’s a chance they could get away with parody claim. It won’t necessarily avoid trouble if NBC decides to get litigious, but it could be enough to discourage any action against the Reddit group developing Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne.
Have you downloaded the latest version of the game yet? What do you think? It controls well. I just wish there was more to it. You can’t really complain when they’re releasing the game as it’s developed and fixing bugs within hours of user reports. Sound off below with your thoughts.