Thursday, November 17, 2016

Killer Queen

So at PRGE, I played an arcade game that just left me amazed.  Killer Queen.

It's a 10-player game. You have 2 cabinets linked together, and 5 players huddled on each one. Each one is a team of 5 people, working together to play a simple one-screen 2d platformer.  But what made it work was the high quality game design.
I'm not sure it would be as fun with only 4 people instead of 10.

First, the game is relatively simple, yet there is a lot going on at once.  One player plays the queen, the most important and powerful character on the team. The others start as workers, but can become warriors who can fly around and attack in a very joust-like flappy contest of height.  The real trick is that there are three completely different ways to win: either collect a bunch of berries and bring them back to your base, or ride a REALLY SLOW snail across the screen (while other people try to kill you, and you hope your team protects you), or kill the enemy queen 3 times.  There's some other things going on as well (using berries to upgrade, capturing upgrade points with the queen, etc), which means there's a lot going on at once.




The joy of it is that it really pulls you together as a team in a super fun and exciting way.  You'd jump into a game with a bunch of strangers, but suddenly you're talking back and forth (in close proximity as you're squeezed around a tight arcade setup) about what everyone needs to do, how to stop the other team, etc.  My description doesn't really do it justice -- the game is so simple, yet did such an amazing job of pulling in people to work together and have fun.

My only complaint is how hard it is to find a way to play the game. There's only a handful of the machines made, and no way to play it other than to go somewhere that has it.  I keep daydreaming of somehow coming up with a way to buy one and put it somewhere in my town, because I was so impressed with the game design.  There's just very few times you play a game where they nailed the game design so perfectly.

Really, I'm jealous that I didn't think of it. Any programmer could make a clone really easy. But to come up with the design like that that worked so well?  Sigh.

2 comments:

Bryan R said...

What a brilliant game idea! I'm sad I may never get to play it, but I think the rarity is a feature.

Which of the three strategies is most effective? Most people will have no idea, and they must decide on the spot which to choose. If Killer Queen had a console version, the strategies would be mapped out already. Some know-it-all would instruct their team to Zerg rush the Queen or something, and they'd spoil all the fun.

Nathan Tolbert said...

I think you're right about the rarity being a feature. If it was everywhere all the time, it would lose a lot of the charm and mystery as well.

That being said, they actually have leagues and championships and stuff for it. People put together teams and practice at their local spots, then compete nationally. So I guess it's still fun even if you have analyzed all the different strategies (and when I was watching the championships on twitch, it wasn't dominated by a single strategy only)

Blaster MetroidVania

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