#IDARB Brings Big League Tomfoolery To Your Living RoomsFiled inside: Games
I’m not the biggest follower of professional sports, but if more of them were like #IDARB, I’d be more inclined to give them an honest go.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the allure of sports like that. I’m a gamer, after all, and you don’t call the most eminent of sporting events “games” for nothing, they’re competitions of strength, skill, and cunning on a grand scale, qualities that also define a significant portion of what gamers do while they play, though in the sanctity of their homes. Most of the time.
You see, there’s a reason that multiplayer games have such pull, as well. Couch co-op has been a thing since the days of Battletoads, Double Dragon, and more recently games like Super Smash Bros. and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (before the update that included online play).
There’s a very particular feeling that comes with being in the room with people to watch the big event—be it a bowl game in American football, the recent World Cup, the NCAA Finals or the Smash Bros. tournament at your local game store. Even more microcosmic, people still love to get together and watch the game or play a game of their own. And that’s where #IDARB comes into the picture.
As the humorous bastard child of soccer and basketball (even that’s a fairly loose interpretation), #IDARB is going to bring rambunctious competition to your home in style—whether you’re actively playing or not.
The game is insanely simple in terms of design. Simple 8-bit sprites (your players) occupy a rendered arena, grab a ball, and jump around trying to shoot it into the other team’s goal. There’s only one stage (sports fields, after all, are standardized). Some platforms are thick, standard platforms, and others are thinner and can be passed through either up or down, if you so desire.
The game certainly doesn’t make use of the entire controller. Controls are basic and don’t allow for quite as much flashiness as you might expect from a game. You both move and aim your shots with the left stick, which any veteran of dual-stick shooters will have a hard time adjusting to. Simply coming into contact with the ball will grab it, assuming another player doesn’t already have a hold on it. The right trigger unleashing a small pulse that pushes enemy players away, and will knock the ball out of their hands. The A button jumps, simple enough. Lastly, if you want a burst of speed, you can waggle the right stick back and forth to build up energy and use another button to release it in a burst of high-speed, low-control momentum.
The game moves in four rounds. In each, you try to get as many points as possible. The further away you are when you make the shot, the more point you’ll receive: one point for walking it in, two for a close shot, three for a longer one, and the maximum five for shots from further than (roughly) half-court (field?).
Teams in the game can go up to four per side. Woefully while at San Diego Comic-Con’s Xbox Gaming Lounge, I happened to arrive at a moment when I was the sole participant aside from my presenter, so the arena was far less populated than it could have been, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t able to get a good taste of what the game had to offer.
The game is a testament to the older days, while remaining oddly modern. After all, the gameplay is hardly more complex than pong, with a few extra buttons. Instead the game is focused on the spectacle, which is the same principle that, say, sports fan might say is what the enjoy about their respective pastimes.
The game has had a curious inception. One that, oddly enough, my presenter made no mention of—he was quite focused on the game as it is now, not as it once was.
Coming out of Other Ocean, a studio not often heard of, but that has been around for quite some time, #IDARB came from immensely humble beginnings. Mike Mika, one of the game’s creators, tweeted a simple image and beseeched the internet for assistance:
Where to go with this? I’ve started a new project, it draws a red box. Thinking platformer. #helpmedevpic.twitter.com/YmdOBhXEXq
— Mike Mika (@MikeJMika) January 3, 2014
From there, the internet did its thing, suggesting features, quirks, making cracks, and doing all the things you’d expect a weird internet to do. And not just from random internet heads, but perhaps some of my favorite game developers ever:
@MikeJMika I think the red box needs to make a critical choice, and the narrative branches from there.
— Tim Schafer (@TimOfLegend) January 3, 2014