Wonderland Game
THE MIDNIGHT POST * December 2010
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From the Midnight Synergy Vault:
Games That Weren't
For every released game there are dozens of gameplay concepts, designs, and prototypes that don't make it beyond the initial stage. Most of them remain just scribbles in a notebook. However, some make it to playable form, before being abandonded for other projects. In this "just for fun" feature we will dig out some of these prototypes and let you see them and play with them yourselves.

This edition's Game That Wasn't is the arcade blaster Buzz Off! This 1999 prototype was to be a homage to the Williams classic Defender. You play a lone guardian sent to defend a number of cities under attack from bugs and other critters. Wave after wave of enemy forces will invade your world - some will attack you directly, others will start an aerial bombardment of the settlements. It's a matter of survival - both for you and the cities you were sent to protect.

Instructions: Use the keyboard to control your player. The Shift-Key switches your direction, the Spacebar fires your weapon. Keep a close eye on your radar, as it will warn you of incoming enemy fighters. Your on-board computer will also warn you if a city is under attack. Rush to destroy the attacker, before the city is destroyed.

The game demo includes five enemy designs, the crab-like hunter, the spiky sharp-shot, the splitter, the radar-jammer (very dangerous!) and the lumbering city bombers. There are also two test backgrounds - you can switch between them by using the F1 and F2 keys.


(1) This game is very hard and quite unforgiving. You'll need very quick fingers to survive any length of time. Keep an eye on the radar at all times, and keep your speed in check. Practice makes perfect - can you make it into the highscore list?

(2) The game might not work on your computer - it is only a prototype, after all, and was written on a Windows98 system. You will also need to ensure that your Internet Security program doesn't delete the BuzzOff.exe file.

(3) In many prototype designs we will insert temporary graphics and sounds from other sources just to "test out" the feel of the game. In this prototype some sound effects are sampled from the Star Wars movies, and the soundtrack consists of sampled loops from the early 90's dancefloor hit "For Your Love" by BKS.

If you've read the above, you can download the game prototype (in a ZIP file) by clicking here.

What happened to the design prototype? Not much - it was one of the many designs inspired by our infatuation with the glory days of a 1980s arcade blaster. Some of the code did make it into our two arcade/action games Intensity XS and Intensity XS ReCharge.

Watch for more games from the vault in our next issue. Until then... Happy Gaming!

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