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Video games and other media are often accused of stunting the imagination, particularly in children. My goal is to show that software and media can be used to create immersive experiences that challenge and excite the imagination.
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Pizza Pulldo is our new app for ios devices. It is a twist on the match-3 puzzle genre where you use your matches to fill orders and collect ingredients. You use those ingredients to make your own Pizza.

With Pizza in mind, we're doing a rafflecopter and giving away $150 in pizza to the winner. You can enter by doing the typical facebook like stuff, or by playing the game and submitting a picture of your pizza.
Contest at

I would post some promo codes but the game is actually free for the next day or so.

Pizza Pulldo

Roll out your dough and then match the ingredients in a row to make the perfect pizza! Match ingredients and then create your own pizza! Challenge the higher levels and unlock new ingredients!

App Store Link:
Web page:

My tribute to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is now available. It is a free download at

You must defend your teeth against an endless assault of plaque. Blast with your fluoride cannon using a left mouse click. Use special weapons like floss with a double click. Navigate using either a right click or the arrow keys. I have made previous blog posts this week describing the various features and design decisions that went into the game.

Download: Cavity Crusade: Dental Evolved

In my previous posts I have discussed how I tried to make a game similar to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Because my game uses a mouse, and because I wanted to differentiate to some degree, I have added a special weapons/items system.

Once all the different types of plaque have had a chance to come out and put you on the run, special power-up items (creatively marked “?”) will periodically appear. Running your ship over these items will give you one of 8 random power ups. Double click to activate the power up. Some have a one time effect, others will last for about 10 seconds. Some items (like the shields and the floss shown here) can be combined. If you activate the floss while running shields, both will be activated and the shields effectivity will be renewed.

1-up: Double click for an extra life
Floss: Double click and a line of floss will be drawn from your aiming reticule to your tooth. Moving around will have the floss move with you. Anything that crosses its path is destroyed.
Two-Way: Double click and your reticule will start shooting back at you. This causes total destruction in-between you and your reticule, and also allows you to shoot behind your tooth.
Power Reticule: Double click and your aiming reticule will become a weapon. Move it over anything you want to destroy.
Shields: Double click to activate. The shields will protect you and destroy anything that touches you.
Sprinkler: Double click to leave a second tooth that will shoot a fluoride cannon in all directions.
Bomb: Double click to create a blast that destroys almost an entire screen.
Barricade: Double click to activate. For a limited time, your reticule will draw a barricade while you hold down the left mouse button. You can use this barricade to hide from plaque. Be warned – most of them cannot get through it, but you cannot shoot through it either.

If you can score more than 10,000 points, future plays will have a power-up appear at the beginning of the game.

Cavity Crusade: Dental Evolved will be available at on Friday 8/29.

The biggest thing that impressed me about Geometry Wars was the different behaviors all of the different types of enemies had. So as I developed my tribute to Geometry Wars I knew that this was a major component of the game that I wanted to mimic.

Like Retro Evolved, the enemies of Cavity Crusade: Dental Evolved start small and slow and continue coming in larger numbers and with more aggressive behaviors. There are 10 types of germs (or plaque) in Dental Evolved, and each will infuriate you in different ways:

Pawns: These are the first enemies. They chase you at a medium pace.
[color=orange]Heatseekers[/color]: This plaque will chase your tooth quickly and aggressively. You will need to quickly direct your fire on them or they will get you.
[color=yellow]Zombies[/color]: These plaque move slow and follow you methodically. Their slow pace often puts them just out of range of your fluoride cannons until they are too close for comfort. They also take more damage so they are dangerous if they sneak up close.
Splitters: This plaque is fairly easy to dispatch at first, but then they split into two smaller versions.
[color=violet]Jokers[/color]: These plaque try to gain position on you while constantly evading your shots.
[color=indigo]Kamikazes[/color]: This plaque will simply fly directly at you at top speed. They may easily miss, but they’ll quickly change course and dart at you again,
[color=brown]Dumpers[/color]: They rarely attack directly, but they lay down stones that are obstacles to you and your fluoride cannons.
Sinkholes: They attack fairly slowly but when destroyed, they produce a large vortex that will destroy anything in its path.
Ghosts: They attack fairly slowly but they can fly through barriers and other obstacles ensuring there is no such thing as a total safe zone.
[color=darkblue]Snipers[/color]: They aren’t interested in attacking directly. They will shoot their germs at you and keep their distance.

There are enough enemies to fill the screen and overwhelm the player with all the different ways the plauqe will respond to you. There isn’t as much creativity or variety as in Retro Evolved but there is enough to get some of the same feel.

Thus far I have outlined how I have tried to make a game like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Dental Evolved will have some of its own features, however, namely a special weapons system. In my next post I will outline how you can upgrade your fluoride cannon or even pull out the floss to dispatch the plaque.

Cavity Crusade: Dental Evolved will be available at on Friday 8/29.
Previous Entry - Design Decisions Made

I am not unique in being a fan of the Geometry Wars series. Being a Nintendo devotee, I only have access to the Wii and DS versions. I rented Geometry Wars: Galaxies for the Wii and it became the first game in a long time that converted from a rental to a purchase. The Wii version has a feature that allows you to download the original retro evolved version of the game to the DS, which made it the very first Nintendo system game that converted me from a demo to another purchase for the DS version.

Having never played the X360 versions of the game, I never developed a bias for the dual stick control method; so I am one of those rare few that prefer the point to shoot method (especially for the DS). Being an aspiring game designer, I thought it would be fun to build my own take on the game using that control scheme (mouse instead of Wiimote, of course). I decided to start the project

- I’ll use the mouse to point and shoot. I want to make it very easy to access so that it could be played with one hand. So the mouse can also move your ship. Most people should prefer the arrows or maybe a joystick to move the ship.
- I love Geometry Wars graphic style. I want to make mine similar but totally different. I decided to try to emulate the style but invert all the colors so the background is mostly white instead of black and the moving characters are filled with color with light borders.
- I decided to make it like Retro Evolved where you had one stage where you would continue to fight and the action would continue to escalate until you die. The challenge is to get the highest score. A stage based game like Galaxies adds another level of complexity that I am not ready for, not having experienced how my basic game will play.
- I decided to have power-ups like Galaxies however. I think that doing some different actions with the mouse will help differentiate this game that would otherwise be a straight knock-off.

Because my goal was to take the Geometry Wars look and invert it, I was now dealing with a white background with dark colored objects comprising the action. To me, it wouldn’t make sense for the game to be based in space with a white background, so I decided to do a throwback to a game I made long ago called Cavity Crusade (, a point and shoot (almost a light gun) game where you battle germs to save your teeth. Teeth are generally white, so it makes sense for this to be a mostly white setting. Combining the titles of my old game with the new one I was mimicking, I decided to call my new game Cavity Crusade: Dental Evolved.

I think the thing that surprised me most about Geometry Wars was all of the varied behaviors the enemies had. In my next post I will cover the enemies of Dental Evolved.

8:13 PM on 07.31.2008

Not long ago, we got some details and screens about Tetris Party, a multiplayer Tetris game for the Wii that, among other unique features, supports play using the balance board.

People who have followed my on-again, mostly off-again, but now it’s on-again blog know that the concept of playing Tetris for the sake of physical activity is nothing new. Roll the clip..

Since Tetris really only requires 4 inputs from the player (move right, move left, rotate and drop), it is relatively easy to map these inputs to movements; and pretty easy for a player to understand.

I would have liked them to map the balance board to the same input as the nunchuck analog stick. That way you would instantly have a load of backwards compatible games to at least try with the balance board. But I digress…

The webcam game shown here – TetroDance is now free at if you want to give this concept a test run. Needless to say a webcam is required.