But even if Creighton himself has a history in game design, his daughter was new to the proceedings, and that's the most magical thing about Sissy's adventure (which is playable online for free, or on the iPad, with a petition pending an iPhone release). With all of the tools and platforms available today, including UGAGS, Cassie's game shows that anyone can not only build a game, but anyone can build a good game, something that speaks from their own talent and viewpoint.
"There's a thread on Gamasutra," recalls Creighton, "where somebody mentioned that Ponycorns was entered into the IGF. Somebody said if that game wins, forget this, I'm quitting, so much BS, blah blah blah, they're going on like this. And someone else said just because a game isn't technically complicated doesn't meant it's not artistically valid." That's what make's Cassie's game so magical -- it's powerful, and funny, and intriguing, and it was created by someone who didn't need to write a line of code.
Does this mean Cassie (who wasn't able to make the trip to IndieCade) has aspirations for more game design? In case you forgot, she's 5. "She wants to be a firetruck," Creighton says.
But he does say that he's trying to instill some interests in math and the sciences in her, even if he's doing it in his own Ponycorn
-y way. When he heard that some schools were holding back math and science lessons from girls until later in development, he went to his daughter with the news and a good helping of sarcasm. "I started telling Cassie, 'Listen, girls don't take to math, and they don't get good jobs and they don't get paid a lot of money.' And she's like, 'That's terrible,' and I said, 'I know, right?' I said, 'You know what else, they won't teach you math in kindergarten, they won't teach it until grade one.' She's like, 'No way!' I said, 'You know what we're going to do? There are secret symbols involved in mathematics that they will not teach you. Do you want me to show you?' She's like, 'Yes!' So now you ask her what she wants to do, and she's like, 'Math!'"
She's also become a gamer. "She's a big Minecraft
fan," Creighton says, "and she plays a lot of things on iOS."
The company's next game, Spellirium
, isn't quite as abstract as the Ponycorn Adventure
, but it does have some adventure game elements, combined with a word-building mechanic. "When you go to solve a puzzle, instead of rubbing items together and trying everything to see what works," Creighton says, "it brings up a letter grid, kind of like Boggle, and you make words, spell words out of puzzles."
To shear a sheep in the game, for example, you have to try spelling words like "shear," "trim," and "cut," or to then dye the wool, you need to spell words having to do with "red." Creighton also mentions "a two-headed monster, where you have to spell palindromes" to defeat it, and there's a maze where you move as many spaces as letters in the words you spell.Spellirium
is due out next year. As for Cassie, we really hope that firetruck thing works out the way she wants.