View Full Version : Super Amazing Wagon Adventure.'

Last week I spoke to the singular mind behind Sparsevector, via email, about their debut release on the Xbox LIVE Indie Marketplace, 'Super Amazing Wagon Adventure' (http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/Super-Amazing-Wagon-Adventure/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258550b6a). I'll be publishing my thoughts of the game tomorrow, so if you feel like contributing a "one line review" feel free to do so by leaving a comment below.
Until then, here's an interesting series of thoughts on the games development, the Xbox LIVE Indie Marketplace and Sparsevectors' thoughts on the games reception amongst the online community.

Like most people my age, I've been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming interests were NES games, and games on my father's Commodore 64. I loved all the Mario games, and I was a Nintendo fanboy up through the Gamecube. As a kid I also would make awful text games in BASIC and awful action games in Klik 'n' Play (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68NrTzsPBGA&feature=player_detailpage#t=52s).
My more recent interest interest in game development is harder to explain. I come from an academic research background, and my interest in game development arose from some of my frustrations with research.

In research you almost never get direct rewards for your work, with the best case scenario being that it gets published, people cite your work and maybe years down the road your ideas make their way into something useful. Game development appeals to me because like research it involves a mix of creativity and technical problem solving, but unlike research people directly connect to your work right away.
Because of my background I'm also keeping my game development work semi anonymous so far. I already have a web presence attached to my legal name, and I don't want to cross the streams just yet. It's also just fun to work under a pseudonym.

The idea for ‘SAWA ‘was then basically "What if the entire game was really fast, random, violent mini games?"
It seemed like an interesting idea just because the original Oregon Trail was so slow and strategic. Originally there was going to be a bunch of different play styles sort of like WarioWare, but early on I ended up simplifying the concept to the mix of side scrolling and twin stick shooting that's in the final game.
I was also influenced by classic arcade games like Robotron as I think a lot of these games still feel more visceral and fun than many modern games.

As an undergraduate I worked on a group project making a remake of Oregon Trail. One of my responsibilities in the group was making the hunting and rafting mini games, and I went way overboard turning them into little violent arcade games.
I made the hunting game into a Duck Hunt style shooting gallery where you could shoot off the animal's limbs one-by-one, and the rafting game became a vertically scrolling shooter with crazy power ups. When we showed people the finished product they really liked those mini games, so for whatever reason that project stuck with me.