The Entire Screen Of One Game Will Hurt Your Brain

Ludum Dare 31 entries have 19 days of judging left, and there’s already some gold to be found within. The theme this time is “Entire Game On One Screen”, and amongst the 2637 entries is The Entire Screen Of One Game by Tom 7. A platform game where the platform game is the character jumping about in the level of the platform game which is also the character, and that character is in fact the level of the platform game, which is the character in the game…

This is what I love about Ludum Dare – making games in 48 hours on a surprise theme sees smart people throwing ideas really hard against a giant wall. What sticks may not be a complete project or product, but there’s so much potential for them to be. I have no idea at all how this concept could be meaningfully developed into a full-blown game, but I sure as heck want to play it when someone figures it out.

The description above is actually far more accurate than it appears. The game, literally impossible to play properly, features an ever retreating view on a square platform game, which as things pull back reveals itself to be a square moving player character within a square platform game, which as things pull back reveals itself to be a square player character within a square platform game, which as things…

It’s all very clever, too. There’s no moment where control switches from the ever-shrinking square you’re focusing on, and the one that contains it – you’re simultaneously in control of all of them at once. There’s a lovely moment each, um, loop? – it’s not a loop – when you have to abandon caring about the previous level-character, and focus on the next, seeing how high you can climb it before abandoning that one too. Each lasting about five or six seconds, the whole thing leaving you feeling like you’re falling backward out of a fractal.

It plays directly in your browser, and will make you feel all weird.

13 Comments

  1. Monggerel says:

    “Nobody wins at Mario Cars”

    That said, you can certainly progress in this thing. Send your ouroboric squares right then left while constantly jumping. Though I suspect there’s no practical end point and even if there was you might as well not.

    • bhauck says:

      I think it does loop, though. There’s the stairs, then a few platforms, then you get onto the wall, then you turn around and jump to the next level, then you go up some stairs, but then it’s the stairs from the beginning and the same platforms again. And sometimes you can see your previous level/character near your new level/character. This game is insane.

  2. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I got a nose bleed just reading the description. I wonder what would happen if I started playi–*head explodes*

  3. Oakreef says:

    i seem to have forgotten which way is lettuce please direct me to the nearest turquoise

  4. TACD says:

    This might be even more of a headfuck than Slave of God. Good find.

  5. Shakes999 says:

    Its the mobius strip of browser games.

  6. Josh W says:

    I think there is a loop; if you don’t go anywhere, then you can stack on a pile of yourself when new ones spawn, and start jumping up to get out of the left hand side of the world, but you only just make it, as the old ones start being removed, so you can’t build up infinitely. It’s a nice concept, but I think the time it takes you to scale down sets the possible size of the level (since you can only move so far before your visible area shrinks to non-existence). Perhaps you could make the speed of scaling down an equivalent of health? That way you can either platform through a level more conventionally or try to flood it with self-duplicates..

  7. RagingLion says:

    I found my head was doing some similar things to what it did when playing Inside a Star-Filled Sky.

  8. Tinarg says:

    You should really add a link to the ludum dare page so people can vote.
    link to ludumdare.com

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      I don’t know about John, but I dislike linking to Ludum Dare entry pages because it turns the competition into (more of) a publicity contest.

  9. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    Hm, Kinda reminds me of Fracuum from almost ten LDs ago.

  10. death_au says:

    Yeah, there’s definitely a loop of sorts. Your character is also the viewport into the level, as you zoom out into the “next” character, it seems to spawn at the top of a chute to the left and fall to the floor. As it zooms out, player-controlled movement becomes slower. The upshot of this is you’re not really abandoning any player as it zooms out. You are controlling them all with the same controls at various speeds.
    … Of course, that just opens up a new level of mind-screw-upery. For now I’m just trying to work out how high the left chute goes.
    EDIT: Does jumping off the edge of the world and falling forever count as a “win”?

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    particlese says:

    Well, that was wiggy, and not for the reason I expected. It was really neat trying to figure out what the butt was going on (I still don’t know all the rules), and I felt pretty rad when I escaped from the level, but I got this creeping feeling the whole time that I was playing Super Metroid. Specifically, while exploring the upper half of the level, I felt like I was bomb-jumping around this room. o_O