VGNG 9: XNA Isn’t So Bad After All

It seems that Gazillion and crew had the foresight to include the XNA runtime with their application so I was actually able to play all of the VGNG games. Before I get to the inevitable conclusion followed by me casting my vote, though, I’d like to say a few words to any VGNG-compo developers that may stumble upon this text;

I have been kind of harsh on some games as providing valuable feedback wasn’t my aim with these posts; rather I have tried to describe some of the games to the limited readership of this blog. While I haven’t enjoyed the actual gameplay of every single game I have played, the many different styles of games and the environments in which they are presented has given me renewed insight into the variation of developers, even among the ones visiting a (arguably narrow) forum such as TIGsource, and for that I owe everyone who participated in the VGNG compo.


Corporate Moped Horde is a game in which you adjust a ramp to allow a bunch of businessmen on mopeds to get to a coffee house by using said ramp to jump past crates. As it is now it is a pretty physics toy that’s reminiscent of Scorched Earth, but a fun game with a lot of potential.

Incomprehensible Penguin Arena is an arena fighter that probably should’ve been tested by several people, although even in single player it’s still pretty amusing. You control a penguin on a disappearing ice block and you’re tasked with collecting fish and pushing the other penguins into the sea where there are whales that eat you if you’re not lucky. Temporary powerups and short “bonus missions” gives this title great potential for a party game.

Masters of Janitor Runner can only be played by two players so I guess I shouldn’t say too much about it. You play a janitor on a looping platform level and your mission is to collect all the cleaning utensils before the other janitor can. As there are no powerups or alternate ways to achieve progress (or hinder your opponent), I would assume it gets boring after awhile.

Narcoleptic Soccer Rush is a soccer game where the players randomly fall asleep. I didn’t feel that particular mechanic added very much to the gameplay, and it’s a bit on the easy side since the enemies doesn’t seem to make any effort to block you (other than the goalie), but still good fun for those of us who enjoyed the NES games “soccer” and “ice hockey” way back when. Also, Narcoleptic Soccer Rush had the XNA runtime included in the installer and gets extra credit since this apparently wasn’t an easy task.

Russian Landmine Patrol puts you in the shoes of a Russian mine sweeper and charges you with clearing a minefield so that a bunch of farmers can run safely across and get food. The mechanic where you don’t see the mines until you’re almost close enough to disarm them works fairly well, but since the game doesn’t change it gets boring after awhile.

Samurai Railroad Mansion is a Hogan’s Alley type game where you slash enemies before they slash you. Additional depth is added by forcing the player to uphold bushido and not attacking anyone before they attack you. This game was very pretty but also very hard, and not varied enough that I bothered to play it for very long.

Unstoppable Dwarf – Hot Pursuit takes place in a cave and gives you two magic spells (creating barriers and blasting holes in the ground) with which you are supposed to stop a dwarf from destroying some artifacts. The quick movement and repeating textures of this game made me nauseous so I wasn’t able to form a winning strategy before quitting, but it seemed like a pretty monotonous (although, comparatively pretty technically advanced) game.

Super Mario vs. Programming in China, a board game. I happen to like board games, but since it wasn’t a solitaire game setting it up just to play against myself didn’t seem like it would be worth the effort (and since it only took the developer 2 hours to complete, I’m guessing he felt the same way). It seems like Mario is at a slight disadvantage on the level presented due to the many cannons, though.

1 Comment so far

  1. Jean-Francois Bibeau on April 1st, 2008

    Thanks for the insightful post. I’m glad to see a positive outlook on XNA; it certainly hasn’t been an easy experience to release a game with XNA, especially for a competition where it seems we were unknowingly limiting the amount of people that could play the game. Despite our best efforts to create an installer that would stay within a reasonable size, and one that would allow everyone to play, we still came across people that couldn’t play the game. Which saddens us really, since as a developer, you want the amount of work (and love!) you put into a game to reach everyone who wants to play it.

    Anyways, we’ll probably keep developing games with XNA and hopefully the future holds good things (and more competitions!).

    – Zedix (the “crew” part of Narcoleptic Soccer Rush ;))

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Posted on Mar 31/08 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture, General game development, Reflections | 1 Comment »