GGJ Archives 2009-2012

Dead Pixels

Game Information
Short Introduction: 
Retro platformer where you must reach the end before all the pixels on the screen die
Brief Play Description: 

Dead Pixels is a hardcore retro platformer with a twist - the pixels of your monitor are decaying, obscuring your vision. As the pixels become extinct, it's much harder to see where the dangers are. The speed of decay is proportional to how fast you're moving. Do you take the level at speed, or carefully explore with limited visibility?

Achievements and Credits
GGJ-2011 Achievements: 
Back to School, OLD School: The game must have a screen resolution of exactly 160x144, is restricted to a color palette of four shades of the same color, and the game must be 1 Megabyte or less on disk (incl. executable, all assets and external libraries, unzipped)
Team Image: 
Matt Dalzell
James Gilliland
Programming: Matt Dalzell Programming: Elliot Hayward Programming: Chris Wilson Art: James Gilliland Sound: Damian Golfinopoulos Sound: Joshua Lynn
Installation Notes: 

Unzip the zip file and run "release\Dead Pixels\DeadPixels.exe"

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Submitted at Auckland (New Zealand)

James Gilliland

Updated level

I tweaked the level layout a bit more, as some parts of the level were actually impossible depending on your frame-rate or resolution setting or something(resolution multiplier can be changed in Config.txt btw).

I also included a list of what everything is in the level file(Level_1.txt), so you can more easily make your own level's if you like.

Gameplay video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8jpJJNMAlE


not easy but quite addicting and so old school :)


nice work, really cool concept and game


Haven't beaten it, but...

This is still the best GGJ 2011 game I've played.


Extremely clever!


I'm impressed. The 'film burn' quirk is totally novel and great in it's own right-- but the graphical limitations aren't just an aesthetic choice or a GGJ Achievement goal, but an element of the game that compliments the game's quirk perfectly. The game toys with player vision and readability in a way that wouldn't be the same with a hi-res palette or an arcadey outline style. It all works together really well!

I have to ask, what came first? The platformer-with-a-twist idea? The specific film burn idea? The decision to use a Game Boy aesthetic?

As for criticism, I don't have a lot, but to be nitpicky: The 'wrench' pit with the spikes is pretty disappointing design-wise. You're introducing a new gameplay idea (until that point you have no idea you can reverse the screen burn) yet it's dumped into a platformer-fodder trap that is neither interesting gameplay nor decision making (which is real important if you're trying to push that "keep running vs. take it slow" risk/reward). The wrenches should be spread out and always off the standard path but close enough to make you ask yourself, "I wouldn't be wasting time trying to get that power up... so do I have the skills to do it without dying or what?" See for example the position of 1-Ups in Mega Man games or something.

What I'm saying is that you guys actually put a lot of care into the level design, but even still, power ups like that are an important part of platformer pacing and here the wrenches were dumped around a little haphazardly -- your risk to grab most wrenches is either very low or high-yet-not-worth-my-time.

Still, I love it. If the worst thing I have to say about your game is "WELLLL the power up placement is weak" then that's still a pretty sweet game. Nice job, everyone!


Thanks for the feedback

I've uploaded a new version with (hopefully) improved collision detection. I also took the opportunity to tweak the level layout, taking your suggestions into account (although I only have passing familiarity with the Mega Man series): hopefully the power-up placement will be more satisfying now. :)

As to what came first (the 'twist', effect or aesthetic), the initial idea was that the pixels were going "extinct" (this was the albeit tenuous take on the GGJ11 theme). Chris implemented an algorithm that flickered, then turned off pixels. Over the course of the 2 days he tweaked it, adding the spreading (cancer) effect - which unintentionally turns out to look quite like film burning. The aesthetic was chosen specifically because, as you say, it supported the "failing display" gimmick. Also, other than the 1MB size restriction imposed by the achievement (which wasn't a huge deal, but it was something to think about, and I believe did end up limiting the size of the tileset), it made everyone's lives easier to have the smaller scope afforded by old-school platformer mechanics and design.

Thanks for providing the thoughtful comments and constructive criticism.


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