Women Are (Not) Too Hard to Animate — WATHTA Jam Entries

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This past weekend (and a couple days [you still have today and tomorrow to submit entries!]) played host to the “Women Are Too Hard To Animate” jam — or just wathta jam, if that phrase is too long. The premise of the jam is simple: Submit entries with women as the main characters. I’ve picked a few from the great list of games, just to show off the wide range of entries on display here.

Cyber Girl, by Samurai598Cyber Girl

Cyber Girl is an extremely difficult platformer featuring — you guessed it — a cyber girl. Said girl looks robotic, and reminds me a lot of Viewtiful Joe, or maybe a Power Ranger, sporting a yellow visor,  red ear antennae, chest, and braid of hair (cyber hair?), and an otherwise white body. As soon as you press the up arrow and start the game, a retro soundtrack that reminds me of a strange blend of the Team Rocket music from the original two Pokemon games, and a slowed down Mega Man track, begins to loop. What it’s looping over is, primarily, your rapidly disintegrating corpse. Well, mine, anyways, since I struggled to get even a few levels into the game. It’s filled with deadly laser spikes that you can just barely clear, turrets that fire right as you come into view, and platforms suspended in front of or above all of these. The objective for each level is to snag a key card and make it to the exit door without dying. You will probably die.

The World the Children Made, by James Earl Cox IIIThe World the Children Made

Firstly, the creator is James Earl Cox III. The third. He’s like a king. Or something. Secondly, the game is based off of Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt.” For those who are too uncultured to have read this short story (I have it open in another tab, and am finishing it up now, for the first time), a quick primer: The story follows the Hadleys, who have just moved into what we would now think of as a smart house, but even smarter. In addition to lights and doors that activate only when people are present, there is the Nursery, which is the focal point of the story. The Nursery is essentially Star Trek’s Holodeck — enter it, and the room generates a completely believable environment, the illusion broken only by a door that never quite leaves your field of vision. Designed to help people work through their neuroses, the Nursery soon appears to be malfunctioning, and of course appears to have some sort of strange hold over the children (because an immersive fantasy world will of course be extremely tantalizing to anyone, children especially). The story seems to follow the short story, and is extremely cinematic; the opening segment features panning shots of the various 2D rooms interspersed with the opening credits, which of course is a classic movie technique. I’ll be very interested to play this next chance I’m given a little bit of free time.

Super Murderwolf, from Purple Pwny Studios

 Super MurderwolfContrary to the name, there are no wolves in this game. Or maybe there are, I’m terrible at this game too. What there definitely is is an endless, rhythm-based obstacle dodging game. But there are multiple tunes to accompany your odd, musical death jaunts across what appears to be a Mars-like planet, or at the very least a desert valley with a ton of craters. The different sizes of obstacles are timed differently to the music: The largest ones are half notes, the small canyons are quarter notes, and the fences — which I have come to think of as wooden, uncaring corpse mills — are eighth notes. Death is always extremely jarring, both because of the explosion, and because of the main character shrieking as the tiny, tiny explosion turns her and her bike into dust. I keep jumping when I think I’ve cleared something and have in fact clipped the canyon wall (or, as is more common, slammed straight into one of those blasted fences). It’s very frustrating, but never unfair, and I can’t stop playing it. Somebody take my browser away.

Note: If you feel you’ve seen this game before, it’s because it was also submitted to the #spacecowboygamejam, which is totally fine for the wathtajam.

Magical Girl Candy Hood: The Rainbow Sunshine Saga, by cattsmallMagical Girl Candy Hood

Please picture me. Now picture me sighing melodramatically. I’m sighing because I can only admit I’m bad at video games so many times before it starts to get to me. Right in the heart, guys. Straight between those rib bones. Magical Girl Candy Hood: The Rainbow Sunshine Saga puts you in control of a girl wielding a candy and rainbow-shooting gun (to be clear, it fires rainbows and candy, it doesn’t only affect the two). She also either cannot or will not stop running, likely a result of all the candy. Maybe the rainbows too, I can’t imagine there’s anything healthy in there if it’s killing people. Your job is to run and jump like mad through the Sugar Kingdom, shooting your gummy bear subjects with candy and the evil Polar bears (White teddy bears?) with rainbows. The bears fire little ice diamond projectile things that hurt you, and can only be defeated by rainbows. I love it. Candy makes them stronger though, and rainbows kill your gummy bear subjects, so you do have to be careful what you’re firing and at whom. It was originally built for the #candyjam, but was resubmitted to the wathtajam.

These are hardly all of the games that have been submitted so far — in addition to these, there are another 19 entries, many of which I will be consumed with playing over the coming days. If any of these games have piqued your interest, you should check out all of them over at the jam’s website.