Romero family’s Gunman Taco Truck out, designed by 9-year-old

I had heard that Brenda Romero was working on a new, serious game which in part explored the relationship between Mexican culture and food, but Gunman Taco Truck [official site] wasn’t what I was expecting… Oh, wait, this isn’t that? This action game about blasting your way across post-apocalypse United States and selling tacos to the survivors was actually designed by a nine-year-old Donovan Brathwaite-Romero and co-developed by him with his mum Brenda and stepdad John Romero. It’s now out on Steam and there’s a trailer below.

The setup is that you’re fleeing mutant-infested America in order to make a new home in Winnipeg, Canada, where there are no taco trucks and your family business can thrive. You shoot at various colourful mutants during the driving sections, and then sell tacos to the survivors in each new town you reach. The two are connected in various ways, in that the mutants you kill provide the meat for your tacos and the money you earn helps you buy condiments and petrol with which to reach the next town.

Donovan Brathwaite-Romero pitched the game to his parents and they liked the idea enough that they decided to make it together as a family project. That process has taken two years, with John Romero first creating a “‘fill in the blanks’ game design document” in which Donovan had to expand his original idea, and development taking place during a series of game jams with a team of six. Donovan has also been learning to program for three years, with the game partly conceived as a way of helping him learn. Here he is, now eleven years old:

You can hear Brenda Romero talk a little about the other game she’s making, which is called Mexican Kitchen Workers, at 8 minutes and 10 seconds into this video, and about the other games in the Mechanic Is The Message series at her site.

21 Comments

  1. Snowskeeper says:

    I live in Winnipeg, Canada, and, unfortunately, I’ve seen at least one taco truck rolling around. This fictional family’s dream is destined to be shattered.

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      DuncUK says:

      I live in Britain and taco trucks don’t exist here. With a bit of reworking, this game can be saved!

      Also, please send taco trucks for real.

      • JB says:

        Seriously, for reals, please do.

      • Snowskeeper says:

        Taco truck boat? Troat? Bruck?

      • Shuck says:

        “taco trucks don’t exist here”
        You poor, poor bastards. Someone needs to start a non-profit to help bring taco trucks to the deprived people of the UK, quick.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Honestly, seriously please do that.

        • sneetch says:

          “Some people in the UK have never even seen a taco. Just $2 a month can buy much needed salsa and tortillas…”

      • bill says:

        Japan also has no Taco Trucks. Please send.

        Okinawa has Taco Rice, but that is missing one vital element – Tacos.

    • Vandelay says:

      This is a depressing ending to a fictional apocalypse to rival The Mist.

  2. vnsl says:

    I’m getting all fuzzy and warm feelings.
    That’s really great that their kid shares their passion for creating games. The game itself looks fun. Kind of a mashup of cook, serve, delicious and convoy maybe?

  3. Lacessit says:

    John Romero’s about to make you a Taco?

    Sorry.

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    subdog says:

    This is great. That kid definitely won the Cool Stepdad Lottery.

  5. Kaeoschassis says:

    Cool stuff. I’ve never made an actual game and while I’d love to, it’s on the backburner right now due to a lack of time and money, but I do remember my dad taking time out many evenings during my early-mid childhood to teach me basic programming and generally just get me excited about it. It stuck with me, and it’s one of my fonder memories of the old man. Seeing this news brought a real smile, here.

    Games are brill. <3

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      MajorLag says:

      Its easier if you can find some good people to work with. There’ll be expectations, discussion, mutual excitement about the idea, etc. It’s easy to abandon projects part way through the slog of Actually Getting Shit Done without that, I think.

      Myself, I work alone because I’m an asshole.

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      quasiotter says:

      I’d recommend trying out a game jam. I have no programming experience, but I managed to make a little something because the deadline forced me to! Itch hosts a bunch of them, check out the Strawberry Jam one because it has links to tools to start with.

  6. ScrapCupcake says:

    I want the Romeros to work with Danny Trejo to make some DLC to add his journey in his taco truck to wherever the hell he wants. Maybe as endless mode DLC?

  7. April March says:

    This is at once an incredibly well-developed idea for a nine-year-old and exactly what I’d expect a game by a nine-year-old to be like.

    • ephesus64 says:

      I agree, I like just about everything about this. The way they set up a structure for their kid’s creativity to grow into was excellent. And I’m sad to say to those less fortunate that yes, even a mediocre taco truck is worth crossing a post-apocalyptic wasteland for.

  8. Someoldguy says:

    “the mutants you kill provide the meat for your tacos”

    Suddenly I don’t feel hungry any more. I’ll try not to throw up thoguh, you’ll probably want it to use as sauce.