Fade. was a game created for the 2015 Global Game Jam, Fade. was the gracious winner at the event being held at Birmingham City University.
It was an amazing experience and my first 48 hour jam, there were many extremely talented people there and it was a huge honour to be chosen as the cup winner, which is an even greater feeling as a first year University student up against industry developers!
Downloadable Link: https://mega.nz/#!GsBxQDTI!KZsab2xYXGlWcPSnjP0fIgtyyapRli6o6LRxdUGyXmg
The GGJ’s theme was “What do we do now?”, the ideas were flowing well and I suggested we take a more psychological look on things and work towards something dealing with a very real issue, Alzheimer’s. The typical platformer will slowly introduce you to new mechanics over time, Fade. however will slowly take them away, I’d like to take a minute to ask you to play the game using the link above before reading further as there will be spoilers below!
I wanted the game to be open to artistic impression, no floating assistance text, no NPCs, no main menu, and importantly, no name given. The player is put directly into the scene, clueless and lost as to what to do, they must rely on their instincts to guide them to the end. The beginning few levels are quite simple as far as showing the mental degradation goes, the toll booth’s appearance and future nonexistence to show that the man forgets to bring money with him, phasing out his need for it.
The forest level depicts the man attempting to grab the sheers to cut down the bush on the far left side of the screen, it’s also the first level that the player is not spawned at the bottom left side of the map. Notice the music, much more peaceful and calming as compared to previous levels, this is to express the ‘calm’ and attempted peace-making between the man and his illness, rather than the clippers cutting the bush, simply by collecting him the map has evolved to allow him to pass without having to face any obstacles.
This was a partial re-design of the city (Level 1) and identical (yet distorted) music. The night background, the off-putting music, the heavy rain and the unusual inclusion of forest platforms sets the player on edge and is done so to show the man’s world feeling unfamiliar and how once familiar events can seem scary to them.
The hospital level heavily cripples the man’s speed, this level I feel is best left to interpretation.
The re-visit to the man’s house is meant to leave the player feeling almost sick to their stomach, the once homely haven for the man has become a daunting, uncanny nightmare. The painting on his wall with the faces of his wife and grand-daughter now left as a blur, the bushes the man has been cutting down for the duration of the game overgrowing (pay close attention to the bush’s face!) with the nearby clippers unreachable. The entire background is warped and the consoles that got him thus far prove unusable due to his unfamiliarity with them. All the man can do is get his key and leave, memories not included.
I will comment only on the text.
“Game Over” is the only ending, you didn’t mess up so don’t worry there. What this aims to convey is that no matter what you do, there is no winning when dealing with Alzheimer’s.
Well, out of the doom and gloom!
The game itself is not to put down those suffering from Alzheimer’s, but to raise awareness for it and to ensure that those who may not be sure of how scary of an experience it is can see it in a more personal way.