Dark Side of Balloon

Balloons bouyantly battle in this sinister physics brawler!

A family accidentally fills their children’s birthday balloons with hellium instead of helium. The balloons are buoyant with evil and ready for battle! “Dark Side of Balloon” is a multiplayer “brawler” game. Players control a partially-inflated balloon and manipulate objects with its string to try to pop other players’ balloons.

This bizarre, laughter-inducing prototype was created during Train Jam 2018 (an amazing game jam organized by Adriel Wallick) which takes place days prior to the Game Developers Conference. It was a feature of the VICE News report on Train Jam aired on HBO.

Inspiration for the game came from how eerie I find the slow wandering of partially inflated balloons in someone’s home, often days after a party. To see just how creepy they could get, in the past I’ve drawn neutral faces on the balloons, causing an intense increase in the uneasy feeling that someone or something was creeping around. Why make a game from that? Uh… have you seen Ghost Dentist VR? Here, just enjoy this gameplay video...

We focused on harnessing tension and stress as primary motivators in the gameplay, achieved by the vulnerability of the player avatars, the balloons, which are harmless to each other directly. Instead, they are forced to use the environment around them to create situations where harm comes to the opposing players. Colliding with the environment and each other holds a compelling balance of predictable unpredictability allowing for a mix of strategy and surprising results.

Feel free to read through the design and reflection brief for the project here.

Credits