Scribbly Walrus is a quick game I made to help me get over some of my generic-tortured-artist ‘oh I can’t release/ask for money/care about my art because it isn’t polished enough.” Abstract ideas of polish are the enemy of art. Sometimes you just need to flipping MAKE something. So I drew all the assets in a day and put it together the next. Not all my future games will be put together so haphazardly, but its nice to just create a small little world once and awhile.
Something I’ve been exploring lately are the old Nintendo Game & Watch devices. They are incredibly simple games, but many of them are quite lovely and elegant. Despite the primitive hardware and EXTREMELY limited animation, the little Mr G&Ws are incredibly evocative and charming. While a character in a G&W device may only have three frames of animation, each one is given a great deal of attention and design. You end up with characters that resemble playing a “real cartoon” even more than later games with fluid animation would be capable of. I want to take lessons from these early pieces, and other simple LCD devices like tamagotchis. Sometimes it is fun to go on and on and let a piece spiral out of control, but there is something to be said for being able to convey everything you want in as simple a means as possible. These games have only a single screen and limited animation, but someone can figure out what to do and have fun just by looking at it.
I also like how many Game & Watches involve mundane or everyday activities. Games about cooking sausages, caring for goldfish, mixing cement, being a fire-fighter, swimming in the ocean, and caring for a greenhouse. I like games that give you a little moment to enjoy, and that kind of format is good for games about animals.
Scribbly Walrus isn’t as polished as a Game & Watch (by design!) but it does give you a single screen to explore as a simple character. Like a real walrus, you can relax on an ice floe, play in the sea, and use your sensitive tusks and whiskers to find hidden shellfish.
Walruses are not exactly having a great time right now. Man made climate change has led to a huge decrease in arctic sea ice. Walruses don’t have a lot of stamina, and need to rest on those ice floes in between foraging. Without ice to rest on, they have no choice but to flee inland, resulting in 35,000 walruses rushing the coast of Alaska all at once.
Walruses aren’t the only marine mammal in trouble. As of this moment there are only 97 vaquita porpoises left in the world. Vaquita are the world’s smallest porpoise, and their numbers are plunging due to unregulated gill-net fishing and demand for the shrimp and fish that share their habitat. If you are able to, consider donating to help the vaquita now before time runs out.
Scribbly Walrus can be played online for free at Gamejolt
Or download it for Windows and Mac OSX at itchi.io