August 15, 2006

Snakes on a Grid

by Nick Montfort · , 11:53 pm

Grid Wars 2

Abstract shooter fans: Be sure to check out Grid Wars 2, programmed by Mark Incitti in Blitz Basic and available for Windows, OS X, and Linux.

The game seems to be the most famous in a series of Geometry Wars clones that use the dual-stick move-and-shoot control scheme of Eugene Jarvis’s Robotron 2084 and radiant vectorized graphics. Grid Wars 2 features a wide variety of geometric shapes along with some snakes. It’s been upgraded substantially since its first release. At World of Stuart you can read some about why the gameplay may exceed that of its visually very similar Xbox progenitor.

I wish I had experience with other indie, freeware abstract games that have been developed recently, such as Mono, but my Mac use tends to cut down on my gaming, which I guess they warned us about. Anyway, thanks go to Geoff and to the recent legal fracas for bringing this Mac-compatible game to my attention.

3 Responses to “Snakes on a Grid”

  1. Greg Says:

    I think it quite unfair to call these “Geometry Wars clones”. They are shmups. Shmups have been with us at least since Galaga. Geometry Wars is not a lot different from, say, nullpointer’s Endless Fire. Geometry Wars is a well-executed instance of the genre, but it is hardly original.

  2. andrew Says:

    shmup — I had to look that one up.

    I was hoping it was meant to spelled schmup, i.e. Yiddish, perhaps a variant of schmuck, perhaps meaning “copycat”, but nope.

  3. nick Says:

    I think indygamer’s article on “clones” may have been making fun of the way that the term was used in the Bizarre Creations takedown email. I agree, though, Greg, that it doesn’t make sense to call games with similar mechanics and some related visual elements “clones.” Geometry Wars itself might be a clone of the 1980 Atari Space Duel by that standard.

    The games in the indygamers list do have more in common than just being shmups, though: They use dual-stick controls for movement and continuous firing (athough Grid Wars 2 can also be played with a mouse, like Jeff Minter’s Gridrunner++) and they are highly abstract (although Mono doesn’t have a “vector graphics” look, the way the others do). “Highly abstract dual-stick shmup,” maybe?

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