300 Game Mechanics & Lost In The Static

I’ve not encountered Sean Howard’s Three Hundred Game Mechanics before. Beginning in June this year (and already up to #58) it’s a collection of ideas for making interesting games. Not the games themselves, but simply concepts or conceits that Howard would be interested to see appearing in games. With the added suggestion that others go make games based on them.

Collect them all!

For example,

#10: Time Spy. “A turn based game where you can send a spy to previous turns or even future turns.”


#53: Alphabet Rogue. “A roguelike for beginners, where the alphabet is the deciding factor in combat.”

Each is accompanied by a longer description of the concept, and its potential, often accompanied by Howard’s lovely pixel cartoon illustrations.

Not all inspire, but many do, and indeed as posted by Indy Gamer this week, here’s one such inspired result: Lost In The Static.

Try shaking your head around or something.

Based on #56: White Noise, it’s a platform game using a screen of static noise that moves at varying speeds, thus creating the optical illusion of shapes and space. So in the screenshot above, you just see static, but believe me, it’s a picture of a stickman leaping across a gap, avoiding the missiles of a wobbly star beast. (And no, it’s not a stereogram – for goodness sakes don’t break your eyeballs trying to see the patterns).

It’s a very simple game, about 10 minutes long and there’s no great challenge, but it remains well worth playing. There’s something intriguing about how it messes with your eyes (and I think might have given me a headache).

So get to it, indy game makers – let’s see some more of Howard’s ideas. Especially Time Spy! Oh, and Mr Howard – how about putting links to games that have been made based on the ideas in the posts?


  1. Kast says:

    Lost in the Static links to the White Noise idea.

  2. John Walker says:

    Fixed! Thanks.

  3. Lorc says:

    link to nitrome.com is a playable version of idea #1.

    Of course drama ensued when the creators flatly denied being inspired by Squidi, but that’s neither here nor there.

  4. Brog says:

    pity “yingyang” is a buggy piece of crap.

  5. raigan says:

    i’m pretty sure the 300 mechanics thing was abandoned to much controversy sometime this summer..

  6. Kast says:

    I’ve read through all the ideas (well, skimmed some is more what I did) and most of them certainly seem well worth further investigation. I’d love to see someone take a crack at the banner-RPG series.

  7. John Walker says:

    raigan – Unless I’m going mad, the most recent post seems to be from October, so I don’t think so.

  8. Pod says:

    The last two posts are from october, but the ones previous to that are from April and before hand: ie it seems he gave up for 6 months, and now he’s back….kinda…

  9. John Walker says:

    No, there’s a bunch from July and August.

  10. Pod says:

    Yes, I came back here to say how much of a fool I am. I got really confused by the American v. British style of writing dates. :(

  11. Ging says:

    While I really, really don’t have the time – I’m sorely tempted to try and make something out of a couple of these. I particularly like the “tiny crawl” and “time shock”… “Image save files” sounds like a good research project!

    Might have to try and put something together tomorrow when I should be teaching people… Hmm.

  12. Mr Pink says:

    I would really like to play time spy. I wish I had the time to have a crack at making it. It would be amazing 8 player :)

  13. Jody Macgregor says:

    That wobbly star-beast shot the hell out of me and I loved it. Nice use of music, too.

  14. Joe says:

    Ah Squidi – Sean has done some excellent comics – check out A Modest Destiny for some rpg inspired shenanigans.

  15. Benjamin Finkel says:

    There’s a Knytt stories level with the black and white theme. It was short, but fun, using grey as the way to switch color.