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  • Game Design Challenge: No Jumping!

    - Danny Cowan
  •'s Game Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.

    Every other Wednesday we'll present you with a challenge about developing video games. You'll have two weeks to brainstorm a brilliant solution (see below for how to submit your answers). After the two week submission period elapses, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted.

    The Challenge

    Design a platformer in which the main character cannot jump.

    Assignment Details

    Super Mario Bros. firmly established a template for the platforming genre upon its release in 1985. In the years that followed, numerous clones and similarly inspired titles followed its example. Though the characters and settings change, many platformers, at their core, feature an agile main character who can run and jump to outwit foes.

    Some of the most memorable platformers have ignored these conventions, however. Capcom's Bionic Commando, for instance, features a main character who cannot jump, forcing players to instead use a tough-to-master grappling hook. The game's unique mechanics required players to adopt unique strategies in order to surmount its challenges, and the result remains one of the Nintendo Entertainment System's most memorable experiences.

    Modern-day developers have also adopted unique approaches to the platforming genre. Subdued Software's Magnetic Joe features magnet-based gameplay mechanics, for example, while Might & Delight's indie hit Pid (though it features jumping in a limited capacity) requires players to manipulate gravity in order to cross gaps and climb to higher ground.

    For Game Career Guide's newest Game Design Challenge, your job is to design a platformer in which the main character cannot jump..

    Ideally, your game's playable character should not be limited by his or her inability to jump. Your character should have a unique moveset that allows players to tackle the game's challenges with some practice. Whether your gameplay mechanics should focus on swinging, climbing, rolling, or other means of transport is up to you -- just make sure that no jumping is involved!

    To Submit

    Work on your ideas, figure out your strategy for coming up with a solution, and ask questions on the forums. When your submission is complete, send it to [email protected] with the subject line "No Jumping!" Please type your answer directly in the email body -- do not submit .pdf or Word documents.

    Submissions should be no more than 500 words and may contain up to three images. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

    Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, April 24.

    Results will be posted Tuesday, April 30.

    Disclaimer: is not responsible for similarities between the content submitted to the Game Design Challenge and any existing or future products or intellectual property.


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