One day, you’re a bunch of students just trying to make something workable before the semester ends. The next day, you’re prepping your IGF-nominated, critically acclaimed game for release on the App Store. This is the story of Guy Lima, Ragtime Games and their title “Continuity.”
I had a chance to watch people play “Continuity” at IndieCade this year and it was a fascinating experience. The game takes two game types that your average person is mostly conversant in–the sliding tile puzzle and the “Mario”-style platformer–and fuses them together in an altogether new form. I spoke with Lima on how “Continuity” came about and the way it virally garnered buzz.
What were the inspirations for Continuity? Where did that come from?
The major place it came from was it was a student project, so we were trying to, basically, all of the decision were based on the fact that we really wanted to get something done in three months because the last time we did something it fell apart.
So a lot of the game design and aesthetics come from minimalism. Because it’s like, let’s get good enough done. And it turned out, in a lot of cases actually, good enough kind of forced us to distill the game down to something good as opposed to just feature creep.
And if you had to describe the game to somebody who had never heard about it before, how would you describe “Continuity”?
It’s one of those sliding tile puzzle games where you have to form an image, except that there’s a platformer drawn on top of that. You alternate between moving a character through the world and then re-arranging the world to move him from one place to another place.
When did people first start to notice the game?
The 2010 IGF deadline was kind of our own internal deadline to force us to get something done. When we got it out, then we just went ahead and put it online. We kind of weren’t really expecting anything of it. We were just glad to be done with it.
We never thought anybody was going to play it. Somehow, through IGF, someone got a hold of it and then that person must have tweeted it, and then someone else posted about it on Facebook or something. Some kind of social networking thing that we had no influence on at all, and it just took off from there. That was last December.
Yeah, as students, you don’t have any marketing or anything like that.
No. Well not even any marketing, there was literally one link to the game on the entire Internet. We had just kind of yeah, we sent it out there and someone found it. I have no idea. We’re still just so glad that people play it!
Playing “Continuity” can be illuminating because it becomes clear that the player himself can make things harder than they need to be. Think too hard on it and even the simplest puzzles will aggravate you. You’ll make three clockwise turns when two in the opposite direction would’ve solved it. You need to shift your focus, pulling out to remember what all the pieces look like and how they might fit together and then zooming back in to perform the jumps that will fetch you the key that unlocks each level. It demands a kind of high-speed zen approach that makes it pretty unique. Lima says that he and his cohorts are hard at work bringing the game to iOS devices soon, but until that happens you can go to continuitygame.com [http://www.continuitygame.com/] and play it there.