“You only get one” is not a bad theme at all.
I spent one hour thinking about the different ways that I could tackle this theme, and had quite a few ideas. One thing that came up almost immediately was a “shoot them up” where you only get one upgrade – every level you must choose which upgrade you are going to use for that level.
Now, that seems such an obvious Idea, that I tried to think a few others before setting.
Something that also came up was a “dating simulator” – You only get one also fits very well with that. The problem is that dating simulators depend too much on their art and content to be fun, and that is something that I know I can’t do well in just a weekend. After playing with the idea for a while, I soon tossed it out.
Another idea that came up was “EXTREME GEOCACHING” – basically a dungeon game where you have to find a hidden item, and you can get the help of one friend, who will give you some sort of power. Then I realized that this is just a more complicated version of the first idea (one power), and a variation of my first LD game to boot. To the trash!
Another idea is some variation of “You only get one (try)” – but that seems even more obvious than the first idea, and no good implementation comes to mind.
So I’m going to go with the Shoot Them Up thing. If the idea is not unique, how can I make it an awesome game?
One word: DINOSAURS!