Hello! Last weekend at the Toronto Independent Game Jam I (Mathew Kumar, in case you’re lost) and a team of developers—Capy's Vic Nguyen and Frankie Leung, Andrew Carvalho (previously of Queasy Games) and Shaun Hatton (offsite as “DJ Finish Him”)—created Knight and Damsel, which I describe as a “competitive two-player feminist puzzle platformer.”
As there’s been a bit of interest in the game since Vic shared some of his work online (including coverage from, of all places, Kotaku) I thought I should share some screenshots of the game being played and describe it (roughly.)
So! Knight and Damsel’s inspiration actually comes from a few places, but one worth mentioning is Feminist Frequency’s first Tropes vs. Women in Video Games video, Damsel in Distress. I’m not particularly interested in this context of debating the quality/value of the series, but one thing that struck me was an aside that in your average video game, if a princess is captured, she waits passively to be rescued. Yet for heroes, being captured is just another challenge to be faced (and heroes getting captured happens all the time. It’s basically all James Bond does.)
Hence the set-up: in Knight and Damsel, one player takes the role of the Knight, questing to save the Damsel, and one player takes the role of the Damsel, who can quite happily save herself.
The twist is: what is a knight without a damsel to save? To avoid losing face, the Knight must do what he can to stop the Damsel rescuing herself, something she isn’t too happy about. So we worked up some video game magic that allows the Knight and Damsel to affect each other’s screens by throwing the blocks, axes and bombs that litter the level onto the other’s screen, allowing them to hurt or trap their opponent, while, at the same time, doing their best to navigate further into the level before their opponent.
Both the Knight and Damsel are inevitably heading towards each other, however, and at this stage of the game it becomes a tense, shared-screen face-off, with the Knight attempting to grab the dodging Damsel before she can run back to town. Once the Damsel either rescues herself or is “rescued” scores are totted up based on who managed to get further (plus some bonuses) and either the Knight is praised by the unsuspecting townsfolk for his heroism, or the Damsel gains new respect for proving she didn’t need to be rescued at all.
And that’s the game! As we only had a weekend, it’s currently only a proof of concept, but one that (I feel) definitely works. The majority of the team have other obligations right now (Super Time Force, for example) but we are looking at ways we can take the time to not merely “finish” it as a jam game but polish and tune the play and add a bit more content to put it out properly. I personally very much hope that we can.