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Doctor Whoodle

An adventure in screen & browser

Doctor Who games have historically been far more Colin than Tom Baker, as assorted game-makers struggle to reinterpret a bloke with a fancy screwdriver and a silly outfit as something interactive. The trouble is they've always pursued stories and action and companions over the two fundamentals of the cosmic hobo: he can travel in time, and he can regenerate into a new body if killed.

Someone really needs to do a Batman Arkham with the old Time Lord, and get the essences of the character right before worrying about anything else. I didn't quite expect that someone to be Google.

Today's Google Doodle, as part of the team there's continuous attempts to one-up themselves, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the BBC sci-fi show. As someone who grew up with Doctor Who, I can't help but be excited by this week's celebrations even though I'm quite sure the special episode tomorrow will involve an egregious amount of space-magic, handwaving and peopleexpositingincrediblyquicklytodistractfromalltheplotholes. So far though, the second-best[1] tip of the hat I've seen is said Google Doodle, which turns into a short, stylised and surprisingly brutal Doctor Who platformer. It's only a wee thing, but it gets it.

  • He has to avoid (rather than fight) Daleks! Or he'll get exterminated!
  • If exterminated, he regenerates into the next Doctor!
  • One he gets to the end of the level, he travels to a different point in space and time in his Tardis!

Doctor Who.

It's also very cute, with 11 tiny dancing Doctors who are immediately recognisable due to careful deployment of their archetypal outfits in just a handful of pixels. I was deeply upset when I got Patrick Troughton killed.

Oh, for the Beeb to hand freedom to use the Doctor Who license out to indie developers rather than these sporadic attempts at low-budget, godawful console games like The Eternity Clock. The things we'd see, the things that non-commercially minded creative sorts might do with regeneration and time-shifting. Or, as Oor Graham suggests, a Who gamejam would be a wonderful thing.

The Doodle will only be up for today, so get your timeskates on. OR TRAVEL BACK IN TIME IN YOUR TARDIS TO PLAY IT AGAIN IF YOU READ THIS TOO LATE ETC AND ALL THAT HAHA.

[1] The best is this radio broadcast of Doctor Who & Daleks, which tells a composited version of the first couple of Doctor Who stories from the point of view of uptight early companion Ian Chesterton. It's impressively sinister and atmospheric, and so agreeably focused on the science side of science fiction that there's even a long sequence describing how the showers work in the TARDIS.

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