Once again I am horribly neglecting my planned workflow of making a release post for each game out, but to be sincere I think my social media updates and game pages are doing a better work at that than the standardized posts I’ve planned. But Quartet’s own nano-post-mortem will come out. Eventually. Now I definitely want to talk about October’s game, because it has some story behind it.
Farmer Fran is an old idea that dates, probably, from the beginning of 2013. This was a time when I was much more in touch with the current political and meta discussions surrounding games, and all those things that made me abandon r/Gaming forever: the whole discussing the discussion about games. For a summarized version of why I don’t care anymore, it’s because I decided that out of making games, playing games and discussing games, I only really had time for two out of three. So the annoying one was abandoned.
But back on track: if you have the faintest idea about who Anita Sarkeesian is, you might know that there’s been an overbloated and somehow still ongoing discussion about the presence of women in games and one of the starting points of this discussion was the Damsel in Distress story. Again, I’m oversimplifying because this whole subject is merely a backdrop. Back on track again: the whys and implications behind the DiD plot were discussed and revisited and one day I realized that maybe instead of questioning and speculating on why there aren’t many games where a woman is out on a quest to save a helpless man, maybe it was about time people just went and made those stories happen.
And that’s when I decided one day I’d just make a game turning Super Mario Bros’ plot on its head, and it’d probably be as much fun anyway. Because the story itself is just an absurd excuse of a plot to keep the player going ahead level to level, I just replaced some aspects and Farmer Fran was born.
Farmer Fran is the story of a farmer who one day receives a mysterious message urging her to save the Prince of Colors from the tyrannical queen of the Vegetable Kingdom, and she decides to take action.
There, it’s Mario on Rule 63. That is most of the design doc right there.
But of course Farmer Fran cannot be only that. The version I’m producing in one month is a prototype, meant to experiment and show off gameplay mechanics as well as kickstart the character’s story itself. The decision to make it all in Gameboy style is also not totally a coincidence: it guides my concept into making it a love letter to those games I’m more or less parodying. And also to keep it simple, because I’m making a game in one month, so better not get too fancy!
So, this is it. Farmer Fran, a game born out of the simple desire of making something different just because it can be done, is finally becoming a prototype after years of conceptualizing(and, in fact, planning a sequel, Farmer Fran II: Fran’s Rescue, in which Fran rescues herself from kidnapping). And this is the first step for it becoming a real game.
But, you know, one thing at a time. Let’s get this prototype ready!