We here at BrainLazy have a soft spot for the little guy. There has been a huge move in the game industry to open doors for tiny, one man dev shops to put their product out through the same channels as the big boys. Xbox Community Games has provided a way for anyone with some programming chops and an idea to put their games out there for the world to play. One such guy is Aaron Teplitsky. We talked to him at PAX about his studio, YYR Games.
YYR is dedicated to producing nostalgic, classic style games. The first game to drop was Snake360. You know that snake game on your cell phone? Yeah, that one. From there he moved on to the more original “Falling” which is a little like Tetris if it had a protagonist and evil, evil walruses. Card Arcade and Sharpshooter, which should be available this month, round out the stable. We’ll be discussing the games in detail in the coming weeks as they each get their own full review.
What we were most interested in when speaking to Aaron was the process and mindset behind Community games. This is a service that allows literally anyone with the know how to make an Xbox game. Aaron has effectively no budget and limited art resources, and yet he has made not one but four solid, enjoyable games, and he was rubbing shoulders with industry pros at PAX. That isn’t to say that the service isn’t without its challenges. Aside from programming the game itself, it takes a bit of skill to entice people to pick up your game out of the thousands available using nothing more than box art, four screen shots, and a blurb of text dominated by the content descriptors. Perhaps the primary addictive ingredient of XBLA, the achievements and the precious gamer points they provide, is missing from Community Games. Aaron suggests that this is to prevent the much less scrutinized community games from effectively flooding the market with counterfeit gamer score. In the end it doesn’t matter, though. If your game is good enough, and if it is priced right, it will find its niche. Watch the video and I will think you will agree. The only difference between Aaron and your average gamer is that he actually took the leap and made a game, rather than just talking about it. You’ve gotta admire a man who puts his money where his mouth is. Aaron Teplitsky, we salute you.
Look for the reviews of Falling, Card Arcade, and Snake360 soon, and learn more about YYR Games at www.yyrGames.com