It is great to stumble across real passion in the world of game development. Yin Yang BANG BANG is truly a labor of love for its creator John Butler. John, who heads Mooseknuckle Studios, was one of the most passionate and committed Indie developers I had the pleasure of meeting at the Boston Festival of Indie Games, and to make thing even better, Yin Yang BANG BANG is a wonderful, painterly endless-runner with a solid mechanic, that has a very interesting back story:
Yin Yang BANG BANG! is a challenging yet simple, two handed game. You play as the dots of a Yin Yang symbol on your quest to get as big as possible! You must absorb same color objects and avoid opposite color objects. The goal is to get as big and last as long as you can! But as you control your character with one hand you can use the other hand to tap any object to change their color. This two handed high accuracy game play is quite unique in the mobile marketplace, as is the inked visual art style.
Sounds straightforward, and in many ways it is. However, when what feels like a bazillion colored dots are flying your way across the tablet-screen, things can get hectic when you are trying to tap them all. If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, you’ll need to stay on your toes to catch when your Yin Yang Swirl changes from white to black, or vice versa. The best part about this game was seeing how quickly a number of the smaller children playing it took to it. It took them a handful of incorrectly absorbed colors to get it, but soon enough they were hooked and flying.
John Butler was, as I said, an incredibly fun dev to talk to. Yin Yang BANG BANG is his first full time game (He made his first game, Grumpy Monkey, while still working a regular job.)
I look at [game design] as more of an art form than a lot of developers I talk to. I look at like this: You get the still image like a painting; You get the video of a movie; You get the sound; You get the story and then the narrativity. I view it as one of the most expressive art forms there is. That really excites me and having total and complete creative freedom, and I love learning, so the fact that I didn’t know how to program, or that I didn’t know how to compose a song, was just so exciting, and it just made going to work harder and harder.
-John Butler. Mooseknuckle Games
He’s been working as a full time game developer for about two years and has an incredible goal of combining game development with world travel:
The long term goal of Moose Knuckle Games is to live all over the world, from uber cities like Tokyo, to Rural Villages in 3rd world countries. Wherever the laptop goes, John can continue to make games. The exposure to different cultures and environments will be reflected in the diverse collection of games Moose Knuckle Games will make. John doesn’t want to just make fun, entertaining games, he wants to make games that connect on an emotional level. John looks at video games from an artist’s perspective, and he can not think of another medium where one can express themselves in more avenues than with video games.
Yin Yang Bang Bang is a great game, but I am more excited to see John realize this vision of taking video game development to the world. It has incredible potential and could really move indie video game development further.