Mangahigh.com // June 2009 – October 2009
Ice Ice Maybe is probably the closest we came to a genuine ‘casual’ game at Mangahigh. The game is about estimation, i.e. taking complex sums and quickly generating approximate answers. Combined with the simple gameplay mechanic (place an iceberg on a number line where you think the answer is to bounce leaping penguins across an expanse of icy water) it made for a fast, addictive and immensely fun action game.
The basic idea of placing a marker on a number line came from Dr Richard Lissaman, and I then built upon that. The marker made me think of the bat in BreakOut, which lead to the idea of bouncing something around the screen. Problem was, a direct BreakOut clone wouldn’t work as the bat’s position was prescribed by the sum.
I then recalled the old Game & Watch title, Fire, in which ambulance men use a stretcher to bounce people falling from a burning building to safety. I figured that by forcing the player to position the stretcher before the person left the building, it could be a mechanism that’d work for our game.
Of course, raging infernos and screaming people didn’t create quite the right tone for Mangahigh, so I introduced cuddly penguins who were on a migration to the holiday paradise of Summer Isle. It wasn’t all cute and cuddly, however – if the player made a mistake then the penguin would fall in the water and be chased off-screen by a killer whale. (I originally wanted the whale to eat the penguin with a comedy gulp, but that was vetoed. Boo!)