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Just Explore the Dungeon, Okay?

Today’s a pretty big day! My first released game as Director is out now–Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON”T KNOW!

You can watch a trailer by clicking on this link.

It was really fun working with series creator Pendleton Ward and bringing his universe to life with thickly-spread fanservice… but that’s not what I want to talk about today!

I want to talk about the very first enemy I ever remember creating. Back when I was nine, I played a little game called Mega Man 2, and it convinced me that making games was my destiny. Even before I’d actually PLAYED it, I set about creating my own version based around the screens and art in Nintendo Power. I could tell this Mega Man was something special.  My own version, of course, was Mecha Man–a brave (green!) robot who battled the vile Dr. Willy.

Well, Mega Man had these little hard hat guys (Mets) who were somewhat of a series mascot, and I knew I needed the same. But I wanted mine to be a bit more dangerous. Why wear a safety hat when you could BE the safety hazard!? And so, Dyna-MIGHT was born! (This is also my first recorded pun)

Dyna-MIGHT is a cute little stick of dynamite who is super buff and sports a wicked pair of bancho shades to ward off potential threats.

Why do YOU care?  Well, because obviously Mecha Man never existed. But I held onto DynaMIGHT for years, intending to use him in Mythri (which also didn’t come out)… and now that I’m an official Director, DynaMIGHT finally came to life in Adventure Time.

Pen Ward didn’t just want the game to have Adventure Time cameos in the monster department–he wanted some original stuff too. So, along with Fairy Convict, Harming Bird, and Elec Snake came… DynaMIGHT!  And since these needed to be prisoners in Bubblegum’s dungeon, he got a sweet striped shirt and prison tattoo (it’s hard to see in the sprite, but in the official art it clearly reads BOM*)

This was pretty neat! It was nice seeing a little guy I’d imagined nearly 25 years ago come to life (so I could kill him… over and over and over again).

So check out the game–I hope you like it!  And special thanks to @_swammi who drew an actual good version of him, Gustav Kilman who modeled him in glorious pixels, and @johanvinet who brought him to life. You guys rock. To the max!

*as in Mario 2′s early screenshots, not Book of Memories

Mighty Kick Champs

Every once in a while, there’s a day that makes me realize just how blessed I am. Beyond living in a society where we can beam imaginary things through the air into everyone’s pockets as if by magic, of course.


Like, I make games, man.  I didn’t really have astronaut or cowboy aspirations as a child, I was pretty much content to pay the future no thought at all.  That is, until I played a little game called Mega Man II.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

I don’t know what it was about Mega Man II specifically. After all, I’d played really good games before. But something about this one in particular really drove home that games were things made by people–and that I had to be one of those people.  While it could have been the excellent controls, colorful graphics, imaginative design, or paradigm-shifting music… I tend to think it had more to do with the passion that bled out of every pixel of the game.  For those who have never cared enough about Mega Man to pay attention–MMII was not a game that was planned to happen.  The team from Mega Man (the original) loved the concept so much, seeing its potential beyond what they could accomplish the first time, that they begged their superiors to let them design the game in their off hours.  This was somehow agreed to, and they did just that–creating one of the finest action games of all time.

It’s hard to argue with passion like that, and it’s easy to see why it makes great games.  It tends to inspire 9 year olds, as well.  Mega Man II was the mutagenic ooze that gave me my powers.

(A coincidence for you trivia buffs–our family friend called to invite me over to play Super Famicom the day I beat the original Mega Man… an event which led to me testing games for Virgin and so on from there)

So it’s crazy to think that after that inspiration led to where I am today, with the knowledge that my game could be somebody’s very first game.  I hope it inspires in them the same wonder that Space Invaders did in me.  If I’m lucky, the passion my team poured into Adventure Time will come through even a fraction of the amount that Mega Man II’s did.  We’re certainly working very hard on it.

That hard work had us all in the office today, and I was quite pleased as a few things came together and really made things “click”.  It was a good feeling, to be there working hard on a fun game in a rad universe, one of my best friends and I leading the team.  My wife had stopped by to give some feedback too.  Thousands of miles away, people were actually playing a demo of my game at PAX as my team sweated away to bring it all together!

What a great feeling–I could scarcely be happier!  Then, another thing happened at PAX, not far from all those people playing my game.

Keiji Inafune, oft called the “Father of Mega Man”, unveiled the greatest Kickstarter reveal video you will ever see.

Then… another of my best friends showed up at work and the lot of us geeked out together over (literally I guess) the second-coming of Mega Man.  It’s insane to think that’s actually happening, and that somewhere in the same convention center, in some corner, my game is near all the madness.

I’m pinching myself every day that I’m finally making games for a living–a sincere thanks to all the people who helped inspire, support, and encourage me along the way.  And Special Thanks to Mr. Inafune for his wonderful games.  Please consider supporting this one.  I mean it’s only been 7 hours and they’ve already gotten 1/3 of their goal. Don’t you want to be a part of the fastest Kickstarter ever?

(But don’t empty your wallet, as there are other worthy Kickstarter projects too!)

It’s weird that people like my games now.

“Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! feels like a love letter. A hand-written, joyful love letter addressed to the community, to the creator of the show, to retro games, to anyone who gives half a damn about pixel art and co-op couch experiences.”