It’s a two-player game where you play as siblings fighting over your father’s inheritance. On your turn, you’re trying to find the bag of money and keep it all for yourself. Then you hand the Playdate to your opponent, and your character is frozen helplessly in place, while your sibling is trying to steal back the money for themselves. You can’t see what they’re doing, but you can hear every step and every movement.
The idea for the game came during a road trip down to southern California while we were getting ready to move. At a car charging stop, my fiancé was playing with the Playdate. I couldn’t see what he was doing, but the device has a pretty great speaker, so I could hear every bit of it. And the sound effects were distinctive enough that I could piece together a reasonably accurate image of what he was doing.
Since 2023 was supposed to be the year of my glorious voluntary unemployment, I thought I’d be able to casually finish up this game in just a few months without even breaking a sweat.1Honestly, I was well aware my schedule was comically over-ambitious, but I wanted to try and keep myself on task. Then I had to go and ruin everything by getting a full-time job. My pace has slowed way down, but I’m still plugging away at it to be released next year.
I submitted a bunch of ideas2Well, okay, four to Panic, and I suspect they’re more perceptive than I am at seeing the potential in a half-baked idea. As I’ve been working on Sound Mind, it’s kind of gone from just a novelty to something that fits in well with what I think is the whole gestalt of the Playdate: it’s kind of a weird idea that wouldn’t work as well anywhere else, it’s a fairly simple concept that’s going to succeed or fail in the execution, and the platform itself is small and lo-fi enough that there’s room for me to get goofy.
So I can fill it with homages to Edward Gorey and extremely dated references to 1970s horror movies, for instance, and I don’t have to look at anybody’s stinkface reaction that it’s too niche to be marketable.3Hypothetically speaking.
Plus I can’t say enough what a fan I am of Panic. Everybody I’ve dealt with has been surprisingly and unnecessarily nice and supportive, without exception. And I’ve been grateful for their patience, as they’re a lot more laid back than it seems like a company that’s so famously detail-oriented could get away with being.
Or to put it more simply: come for the crank, stay for the supportive environment and platform that favors novelty and creativity and seeks to empower people to make cool stuff.
And finally, here are some game recommendations for the Playdate, since it’s been a while since I’ve made any. (This isn’t in any way exhaustive, since I’ve had very little time to play anything, so I only catch about 5% of what’s out there).Continue reading “Sound Mind, or, Committing to the (1) Bit”
- 1Honestly, I was well aware my schedule was comically over-ambitious, but I wanted to try and keep myself on task.
- 2Well, okay, four