What I want are a games that I can play for a little while and then put down so I can go away to do other things. I don’t want any narrative, I have books for that. All I want is pure gameplay. I found the answer back in 2004 and really should try to avoid forgetting this. Rob mentioned Ikaruga at a BBQ on Sunday. In doing that he reminded me that I’m not so secretly in love with the games Kenta Cho puts out on his website ABA Games.
The short description provided on each the webpage for a selection of his games tells you most of what you need to know.
Abstract shootem up game, ‘Noiz2sa’.
Speed! More speed!
Speeding ship sailing through barrage, Torus Trooper’.
Strike down super high-velocity swooping insects.
Fixed shooter in the good old days, ‘Titanion’.
Defeat autocreated huge battleships. Shootem up game, ‘rRootage’.
And my favourite:
Defeat retro enemies modenly.
Retromodern hispeed shmup, ‘PARSEC47’.
These games are almost perfect because they each have a single purpose. Most of Kenta Cho’s games are variations on the 2D shoot-em-up but with a different gameplay twists. The graphics are kept abstract. Everything is minimal: the music, the instructions, the content, the file size. Most of the games have some randomly generated levels, but also these games have highly attractive endless modes where you play until it’s game over. (This helps keeps each individual session short.) All you can do with these games is play them to improve your high score. There is no creative thought involved, only reflex twitching.
Now excuse me because until the hammering stops from next door I’m going to play some Parsec47.