Edmontonian Slapp

Finishing Legumi felt like the opening chapter of the rest of my life. I’d always figured I could be a game designer, but once I’d actually designed a game, I felt I could finally start identifying as such. I am a game designer.

For my next trick, I decided to make something people might actually want to play.

Edmontonian Slapp is an entire game designed around making people go “What? Oh! Haha!” but then later on, “hmmm!” It wears it’s low man-hour development cost on it’s sleeve, and is available to play for free. All you need is a PC, some friends, and preferably some USB gamepads.

I started with a complete blank slate. My only goal: based on what I am able to do now or learn quickly, I wanted to make a game that I could show random people that they would want to play.

My first thought was “Smash Bros, but I won’t ask permission for the character likenesses.” People love Smash bros, and I could be a little silly with copyright stuff since I didn’t need to sell this game. But who would I steal?

So “Burger Baron” is a character I’ve been meaning to borrow for a while. He’s the mascot of a notorious chain of Canadian fast food restaurants, most of which are in Edmonton. Each franchise is unusually independent, with hugely inconsistent menus, branding, and overall quality. It’s hilarious. So I started there. Smash Bros, but with Burger Baron. But you need lots of characters for Smash Bros, so who else could I borrow?

The thing about people from Edmonton is that we acknowledge that the city is weird and not always great, but choose to live here anyway. We share an odd sense of pride in it. It’s dirty and underfunded, but has a sweet arts scene and some really nice people. The weather will kill you if the infrastructure doesn’t get you first, but we’re also always celebrating something. We’re really proud of our good-not-great hockey team and weirdly ambivalent towards our world-renown fringe festival. There’s certainly enough personality in Edmonton, I thought, to fill a lazy Smash Bros with local injokes. So I crafted a roster of characters (more carefully than you might think,) from Edmonton’s culture and history that would work well in a zany video game setting.

And then, because making a platform fighting game like Smash Bros seemed like a lot of work, I decided to make something simpler instead. I wondered: what other sort of game would Edmontonians enjoy playing? Hockey. Duh. What other type of game indeed?

I thought I could handle writing something a bit like NES hockey, which is pretty simple, 2-dimensional, and I’m told is still a good example of video game hockey. But I just don’t get it. I know it must be me, because lot of people love that game, but how can a game that you play with two buttons be so confusing?



So instead of writing a game like NES hockey, I took a different flavour off a different shelf to create something I’d never seen before. I am now, after all, a game designer, and can totally make eccentric decisions like that.

Comet Busters was an old shareware Windows 95 game I enjoyed a ton when I was a kid. On the surface, it was a cheap, janky knockoff of Asteroids. However, the thing that made Comet Busters cool was that it had 4 player support. My sister, two cousins and I would play it whenever we visited each other, cramped around the desk, each with a hand over our patch of keyboard. (WASD, IJKL, Arrow keys and 8456 if I remember correctly.) The four of us played a lot of video games together, but that one was the most chaotic and fun. We always ended up going back to it.

And so, in Edmontoian Slapp, you rotate your character as they slide along the rink, and thrust yourself forward as you would a spaceship. And instead of destroying space boulders, your goal is to pick up a puck, and shoot it into your opponent’s net. There are no goalies; but the net has a boundary around it and if you re inside the boundary, the goal closes up. If I may gloat, I think it’s pretty elegant.

I rushed to get it done for GDX 2023, which I had honestly forgot I’d applied to and was sortof surprised to get in. I’ll update this later with what people thought about it.

UPDATE: People dug it. Here it is on itch: