Posted by: bracehare | October 6, 2011

Game verbs in A Reckless Disregard for Gravity

I should start by saying I love this game.  I love how cyberpunk it is.  I love how nonsensical it is.  I love how so many other people don’t get it or appreciate it.  How could anyone fail to love a game that features this completely extemporaneous story?

In the year of our Lord 1982, Polystructures fell from space. Massive yet light, they touched the atmosphere, and stuck.
Scientists made new materials. Builders made new cities. Families made their homes thousands of feet above ground level.
Art made the floating super-sculptures, and culture made the floating caviar socials to regard them.
In the year of our Lord 2011, you cannot look up from beneath a city and see the stars.
But you can look down from above it.
And you can jump.
The jumps you make are not about art. They are about a reckless disregard for safety.
The jumps you make are not about culture. They are about a reckless disregard for regulation.
The jumps you make are not about science.
They are about a reckless disregard for gravity.

A Reckless Disregard for Gravity has one primary verb: fall.  You hurl yourself off of a building and steer yourself on the way down, receiving points both for coming as close to buildings as possible, and for staying within this close proximity as long as possible.  The second most obvious action is “deploy parachute”, which is necessary to safely land.  The player does not receive points for coming close to buildings after deploying the parachute, which places the incentive on waiting as long as possible before deploying it.  Other verbs include throwing a thumbs up or flipping the bird, which give you points when they are done respectively to fans or protesters who are standing on buildings.  One final verb is to spraypaint special green buildings, which also gives you points.  There are essentially only operative actions in this game, although there are a variety of subjects to which they can be applied.  Falling into a glass plate or a bird will give you points, whereas falling into the top of a building will kill you.  Falling into a teleporter or a “bounce” plate will take you back to some previous, higher point in the level.  Steering into the side of a building will cause you to bounce off of it, potentially losing control and smashing into the top of some other object, thus dying.  Finally, deploying the parachute and then steering into a special landing zone will give you extra points.  It is an incredibly simple yet addictive game.  The bulk of the complexity has little to do with the actions themselves and much more to do with the nature of the various maps you are given to navigate, and that is perfectly fine in my opinion.  It gives the game a more arcade-like feel, which I think is a style of game which is underrated by current gamers in general.

– Jessica Evans

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the kind words and the analysis. 🙂

    We really were trying for something straightforward in the rules — the initial versions of the game included all sorts of overloaded, complex things, like a page-long scoring system that gave you more points the closer you were to buildings, with bonuses if you have buildings surrounding you on multiple sides, all proportional to the falling speed, with even more points if you were skirting something in such-and-such-a-way, bla bla bla. We ultimately whittled that down to two lines, of course:

    1. If you get close to something, you get a kiss.
    2. If you stay close to it, you get hugs.

    In the end, I think simplicity worked well.

    – I


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