Ludum Dare 29 — April 25th-28th Weekend — Theme: Beneath the Surface

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by csanyk - Jam Entry

As always, I promise to play and honestly rate your game if you play and rate mine... just leave a comment so I'll know you did it!

This is a last minute entry... inspiration struck around 7pm Sunday. Lol.

In total, this game was built in about 10 hours. Don't judge too harshly.

There's not really intended to be any challenge here, this is just a little homage that I made to the Atari E.T. game and the dig that happened this weekend at the Alamogordo landfill.

To play:

This game commemorates the Dig at the Alamogordo, New Mexico land fill, where millions of E.T. cartridges lie buried, according to legend. Dig up a cartridge to prove that the legend is true.

Arrow keys move your digger. You can dig sideways and down, but not up, so to go back up you need to follow the tunnel you dug.

Press 'Z' to toggle between digging mode and picking mode. When you find something, switch to picking mode, and you can pick the find up. Move the Find out of the land fill pit to get points for the find.

Oh yeah, Esc quits the game, and 'R' will reset the level if you get stuck on a glitch.

Trash = 1 point
Recyclable can = 10 points
Tire = 25 points
E.T. cartridge for Atari 2600 = 9999 points.

Special note: The graphics are based on the infamous "pit" screen that was a prominent design feature in the original E.T. for Atari. These pits were a real pain in the ass, and many people complained about them, especially since there were no pits that anyone fell into in the E.T. movie.

All graphics in the game are colored using the Atari VCS NTSC color palette, with the exception of the digitized image of the E.T. cartridge, and the soda can, which are just very pixellated scaled down images that I got from google image search.

Sound effects created with bfxr. The victory music is the title screen music from the real E.T. game, sampled using Stella and Audacity.

The only enhancement in the enhanced versions is that when you pick up a Find, it gives you a bit of a clue what to do with it.

Downloads and Links




frankd0331 says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:30am

Could you update this entry with some instructions about the controls? Nothing moved for me... Actually looking at your blog this isn't done (yet?)

manabreak says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:30am

I can run the game, but nothing happens, no matter what buttons I smash..?

csanyk says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:49am

What's uploaded currently is an alpha build that has no functionality... I'll have the finished, playable game up by Jam deadline.

csanyk says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:40am

OK it's functional now, but still buggy.

csanyk says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 9:53pm

Fully functional and debugged now! Have fun and give me ratings!

Jam final submitted 5:53 PM 4/28/2014:)

Managore says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:08am

Fantastic interpretation of the theme in light of recent events! I also liked the mechanic of switching between digging and picking up.

RyanNielson says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:11am

I really like the look of the game, nearly matches old Atari games perfectly. Would have been nice if you could have matched the aesthetic with the objects you pick up, but they may have made them hard to distinguish from one another.

I also expected to get points once I moved the items to the top of the screen, but I had to move them all the way to the right.

Great idea for a game though, especially with the recent finds of all the ET cartridges a few days back.

csanyk says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:41am

Thanks, Managore. I told you already but I don't mind saying in front of everyone here how great your game is. I really hope you medal in a few categories this time.

Thanks RyanNielson. I would have liked to be able to spend more time on the pickup items sprites to make them more like atari graphics, but for lack of time I settled for shrinking down images until they became very pixellated and tiny. If I had to do it over with more time I would have liked to do those more properly. Your comment just confirms that my hunch is correct.

You can actually take items out of the pit on the left OR right, and I had thought about putting some kind of visual indicator there, and almost did so about an hour before deadline. I have added a post-deadline enhanced version with this feature, because I do think that it makes for a clearer goal.

Garris says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:49am

Oh man, so many points for that E.T. The functionality and use of theme are very impressive considering how quickly you put this together. I did find the "move all the way to the right to win" mechanic a little difficult to grasp though. Was that an E.T. game reference? (I haven't actually played the worst video game ever made)

Sodaware says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:14am

I have a soft spot for old Atari games, and this captures the aesthetic almost perfectly. As RyanNeilson said, it would have been nice for the buried items to match the graphical style, but it's understandable why not given the time/resolution limitations.

Otherwise it's an enjoyable little homage, and a fun twist on the theme :)

csanyk says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:29pm

Garris: To be honest, I don't remember how E.T. exited the pit. I think you just floated out through the top of the screen. I did play the game over the weekend, but only long enough to fall in to the pit and grab the screen. I never made it out! lol. The enhanced version now puts blinkers up where you need to take the item when you are grabbing something, so hopefully that will communicate it better.

tchem says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 1:53am

i like the mechanic and idea of theme, but maybe any instructions about gameplay,,, the artwork is great

Milktoast says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:52pm

Really captures the feel of the old Atari games. Now because of you, I'm so nostalgic for my 2600, that I'm going to have to dig it out of my closet tonight and play E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and a little Barnstorming! Great job!

XenosNS says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 8:24pm

Ha! nice

Ragzouken says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 8:32pm

haha nice.

Kate Kligman says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 11:39pm

This is more fun than ET!

csanyk says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 3:26pm

@Kate Kligman, that's not saying much! :)

Zarkith says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 3:38pm

This is the closest I've come to playing an actual atari game and legitimately the funniest entry I've played up to this point.

Zerkruemler says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 6:05pm

Nice retro feeling. This is how the games where more than 30 year ago. Luckily the game development has evolved in the meantime. But solid work. It has the neccessary part of humor.

Catmoo says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 6:21pm

A nice take on the theme to incorporate the news of the weekend. The only thing I think is a shame is that the items you can dig up aren't authentic to a 2600 game ;)

But it's really cool for 10 hours work, and more people should make games that mimic those from the 2600 era!

ccglp says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 9:29pm

Is funny, and I really like the dig mechanic. Because I saw some dig in this LD that requires you to hold the shift button or that kind of stuff. This is simple and works!

csanyk says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 10:22pm

Alright, the enhanced build now features Atari-like sprites for the soda can and tire Finds. Thanks to all who played and commented.

raisedmedia says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 10:24pm

Love the look.

travislucia says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 10:50pm

I was hoping I would find an ET cartridge in there somewhere! Funny idea and well executed to look and feel like a classic atari title.

delfino says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 11:35pm

Very retro feel, nice music after getting the cart

Kara Jayde says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 3:07am

Love the look and feel, but mechanically it feels like it could have used more.

ChuiGum says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 3:13am

Like the idea, and graphics

elefantopia says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 3:20am

Fun to play and humorous. I picked up everything out of the landfill, and the music for finding the cartridge was great. Great work!

May 7, 2014 @ 1:09am

Feels (and looks) like an Atari game, but it should really have some sort of time counter that you have to beat. That'd really make it feel authentic.

csanyk says ...
May 7, 2014 @ 4:15am

Kara Jayde: I agree, it's not much of a game, could use something...

NoTrueSpaceman: Yeah, maybe a timed mode would have given it some semblance of game-ness. A lot of Atari games had a no-challenge mode, often indicated with a teddy bear icon, intended for very young children. In retrospect I think this "game" if it can really be called that should have had the teddy bear.

mark.goetz says ...
May 7, 2014 @ 4:23am

I like this - very timely! The sense of humor is definitely showing through. I don't know if it was intentional to only show 4 digits, so that you roll over if you get the ET cartridge and then get anything else, though. In any case, nice job putting together a great callback in such a short time!

scgrn says ...
May 7, 2014 @ 5:20am

This game is 100x better than E.T., and it gave me a good laugh remembering how bad E.T. actually was. Well done.

01101101 says ...
May 8, 2014 @ 8:18am

I didn't play the Enhanced version so my comment is about the Jam one.
It feels like something's missing, maybe a timer of some sort? That said, it's more relaxed like it is. Doesn't feel like it's complete but the last minute thing explains it :)
You sure did put some thought into it: the reference, the palette, the music... It contributes to the mood a lot.

praporomsk says ...
May 8, 2014 @ 8:49am

Considering that the whole game is a joke, it still better than E.T.

csanyk says ...
May 8, 2014 @ 2:26pm

mark.goetz: The score being only 4 digits is somewhat intentional, in that it emulates the E.T. videogame. The way the scoring works is not very well thought out. I wanted finding the E.T. cartridge to give you max score and end the game, but I forgot to code the actual ending, so when you "win" you can keep playing and retrieve other stuff from the landfill. Originally the intent was to max your score to 9999 for retrieving the cartridge, so the cartridge isn't actually worth a set amount of points, but rather it sets your score to 9999 regardless of what it was. But if you left other things in the pit and extract them after, you can extract them and get more points, which rolls the score over back to 0000. We might consider this an exceptionally authentic defect, emblematic of the shovelware produced for the VCS which led to the crash of '83. ;-)

01101101: Adding a timer to the game to provide a level of challenge would be an improvement... I think someone else suggested that, and it's not a bad idea. Truthfully as I was making this I didn't have a thought in my head as to how to gameify it. I just wanted to re-create the E.T. pit and throw garbage and dirt in the hole, and a means to dig stuff out of it. That's all I had time for! Although it's hardly a game, it's deliberately bad, and I'm pleased with how quickly and easily I was able to build what's here.

kirbytails7 says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 6:23am

I'm really digging this game.

pjchardt says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 6:29am

Collected myself a few tires and an ET cartridge. I played the first time before reading your instructions and thought that I was digging in the ET landfill :)

mortus says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 7:10am

I'm sure you already know it's pretty basic, but I love the idea and the execution is solid, so, great work for a small time you've spent on it! At first I didn't know how to get points for my findings though, I think it would be better to score points as soon as you bring something to the top instead of moving it to the side of the screen.

I also noticed that you didn't realize that you can choose the current building tool in my game in 1 player mode by pressing PgDown (remappable) which made 1 player mode incomplete for you, so if you want to take another look on the game - please be my guest.

HybridMind says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 8:58pm

I found the ET cartridge but it didn't give me any points.

csanyk says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 5:05am

HybridMind: To remove a Find from the landfill, you have to take it all the way up and out of the pit. Take it to the left or right edge once you get to the top, and it should give you points.

smbe19 says ...
May 15, 2014 @ 2:59pm

There are little things in the execution that could have been improved the impression (not actually bugs, but things like the fact that it depends on where you dig how wide the tunnel gets), but interesting idea.

Nice music when you found the cartridge :D

edibletoaster says ...
May 16, 2014 @ 9:17am

Pretty funny. nice job for such a short time!

May 18, 2014 @ 7:23pm

The game does mimic well an Atari 2600 game and the mechanic is original, good job. Also, I can now say that I found E.T.. :p

csanyk says ...
May 20, 2014 @ 2:05am

Thanks to all who played and rated! I had a lot of fun playing your games:) See you at LD30!

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