Game Jam Winner Spotlight: Hot Water

from the gaming-like-it's-1924 dept

This week, we announced the winners of Gaming Like It's 1924, our game jam celebrating the works that entered the public domain in the US this year. Just like last year, over the next few weeks we'll be spotlighting the winners from each of our six categories (in no particular order), and today we're kicking things off with a look at the game that won the Best Visuals award: Hot Water by reltru.

We never expect much in the visuals department from people who submit digital games to the jam, since one month is hardly enough time to produce elaborate graphical assets for a video game, but canny designers like the creator of Hot Water can surprise us by finding ways to create something visually striking with a combination of pre-made sprites, powerful choices, and attention to detail. The game, which is based on the 1924 silent film of the same name starring Harold Lloyd, has a clear and simple goal in mind: capture the distinct aesthetic and feel of early silent comedies in a retro 8-bit style video game. It's a beautiful little idea in and of itself, and one that exemplifies the fun of remixing multiple sources from throughout history: each of these two distinct and instantly recognizable visual styles occupies a similar spot in the timeline of its own medium, but they are separated from each other by more than half a century — so what happens when you put them together?

You get Hot Water, with its black-and-white 8-bit scenelets and its pixelated interstitial title cards (though a still image doesn't do the latter justice):

The gameplay (which is "soft boiled" by the designer's own admission) is your basic reaction-test obstacle course, tasking the player with dodging and jumping over benches and other obstructions to complete a mad dash to the end. It can be a little frustrating — while it's no Battletoads hoverbike or anything, the somewhat-sluggish controls and unclear boundaries on the obstacles are enough that I doubt anyone's getting to the end without a few false starts. But the manic music, and the silly and amusing little story unfolding via title cards, will make you keep trying until you reach the end of the game's one short level and receive one final little visual gag. And while the game clearly has no intentions of being anything more than the brief diversion it is, some fine-tuning and a few additional levels offering new story vignettes would quickly turn it into a full-fledged (if still simple) game. But either way, as a demonstration of what you can get by combining these two disparate vintage styles, it's a great success that makes me imagine an anachronistic arcade cabinet in a 1920s jazz club where dappers and flappers line up to play the new tie-in game for the latest Harold Lloyd movie.

You can play Hot Water in your browser on Itch, or check out the other submissions in our public domain game jam. And come back next week for the another winner spotlight!

Filed Under: 1924, copyright, game jam, games, gaming, public domain


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 12:02pm

    the google doc dump, a story ignored by extremist crazy lefties like tech derp, is much more a story than that, junk indie titles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 15 Feb 2020 @ 1:13pm

    Re:

    What does that have to do with anything?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 15 Feb 2020 @ 1:16pm

    such a great title

    This year's titles were really something else. Whereas last year showed potential of what could be done without copyright hindering a creative work, this year saw that potential realized. I guess you could say this year the "Gaming like it's 192X" game jam grew the beard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    CharlieBrown, 15 Feb 2020 @ 2:36pm

    When Is Something In The Public Domain?

    Every country has different laws. I'm in Australia. Our copyright laws are a mishmash of UK laws, US laws, extreme versions of US laws thanks to the 2004 "free trade" agreement, and unique-to-Australia laws. Many things that should be in the public domain here are not due to loopholes and additional laws. I know this because I actually read through our copyright law late last year. Talk about twisted and convoluted.

    In summary: What is public domain in America may not actually be public domain in Australia. Having said that, most things here seem to follow what America says anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 4:08pm

    Re:

    You really need to go back on your meds. This obsession of yours begs for psych help.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 4:12pm

    Re: When Is Something In The Public Domain?

    That's unfortunate. US laws are some of, if not the most corporate-friendly copyright laws in the world. From wikipedia:

    Copyright protection generally lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. If the work was a "work for hire", then copyright persists for 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever is shorter. For works created before 1978, the copyright duration rules are complicated.

    An individual holding a copyright has only an outside chance of enforcing that copyright if it is violated and then only if that person has loads of money to pay for the lawyers. Generally only corporations are able to enforce copyrights, even some they don't actually hold, via the courts, DMCA filings, etc. It's super ugly in the US, not the right model to use for crafting copyright laws elsewhere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re:

    tech. it is google. get digging, anons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 15 Feb 2020 @ 4:37pm

    Re: When Is Something In The Public Domain?

    Every country has different copyright laws but all of them are subject to the Berne Convention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You obsession with Google is noted, as it your unwillingness to do your own digging.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    so, what have you found in yhe epic google doc dump?

    https://www.zachvorhies.com/

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re:

    did you read through the aithentic google doc dump? vorhies has dumped authentic google docs

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Dave, 15 Feb 2020 @ 6:30pm

    Way to waste your time and resources

    I have watched the content publishing rate of techdirt get continuously slower over the years. Also, tell mike we are hip to him republishing slightly altered content over and over again to try to make it look like techdirt is still a functional news site. Maybe go back to focusing on content and reporting instead of incredibly stupid public domain board games from 100 years ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just pathetic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 8:58pm

    Re: https://www.techdirt.com/submitstory.php

    Just like I told you last time rumpled foreskin.
    This is the correct place to direct your drivel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I ain’t your minion bro. Do your own work. Then post it to the right place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 9:00pm

    Re: Way to waste your time and resources bitching

    <————— doors that way bro. Nothing stopping you from leaving.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    bro. a term which means brotherhood, assistance. but to the left it means someone you wish had been aborted, and here is why that's a good thing, soy face article, by issue studies worthless degree author, que jim cary crayon monstrosities as dumbest heights achieving art imitating life imitating art etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 12:45am

    Re: Do you smell toast

    Because I think you’ve just had a stroke bro.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Blessing Bona (profile), 16 Feb 2020 @ 1:57am

    I wouldn't have thought

    The title is nerdy. What's with hot water and a game?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Feb 2020 @ 3:39am

    Nothing that also wasn’t there six months ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Feb 2020 @ 3:39am

    The documents being authentic doesn’t mean they’re important.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 16 Feb 2020 @ 4:29am

    Re: Way to waste your time and resources

    Maybe go back to focusing on content and reporting instead of incredibly stupid public domain board games from 100 years ago.

    Bzzt! Wrong! The game Hot Water was made as recently as a month a go and is still copyrighted. However, it remixes material that was made 96 years ago.

    Who’s stupid now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 12:03pm

    Re:

    A story not ignored by this site. It was covered and... debunked:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190815/18023542791/latest-google-whistleblower-to-prov e-anti-conservative-bias-doesnt-prove-anything-appears-to-be-bigoted-conspiracy-theorist.shtml

    But hilarious to watch you insist it wasn't covered so you can continue to spew ignorance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 12:50pm

    Re: I wouldn't have thought

    That's how instant games work. They come dessicated, so adding hot water is the optimal rehydration method, giving also a preferred serving temperature.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    PaulT (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 12:37am

    Re:

    A better question is why you're so obsessed with a 6 month old story that has already been debunked here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    PaulT (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 12:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "vorhies has dumped authentic google docs"

    ...that were examined months ago and found not to contain anything like what the known con artists at Project Vertias claimed they did.

    Do you have any new information, or is your life now reduced to following 6 month old lies?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    PaulT (profile), 17 Feb 2020 @ 12:46am

    Re: Way to waste your time and resources

    "incredibly stupid public domain board games from 100 years ago."

    Perhaps if you were intelligent enough to follow the conversation, you'd understand that the games are new. They are based on work from nearly a century ago, but this is the first time where they are legally allowed to do this for these particular works, hence newsworthy.

    Given that you just described a weeks-old video game as a 100 year old board game, I'll take someone else's opinion on what is and isn't news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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