I’m probably not going to be able to take part in Ludum Dare this time around, but I always like voting for the themes anyway. I thought it would be a good exercise to come up with a game idea based on each theme, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. Here’s what I came up with for the first round.
Afterlife: Roguelike where you fight your way down into a dungeon. When you die, you become a ghost and are sent to the bottom floor. You must now use your ghostly powers to sneak back upstairs to find your body and carry on.
Against the Rules: The story of a man working a dead-end job for a faceless megacorporation in a cyberpunk city where routine is law. The game really starts when he disregards protocol and finds himself on the run from the authorities.
Alternative Physics: Platformer where you’re swimming through a coral reef while wearing a life vest. You have to strain against its flotation and propel yourself down under the water.
Ancient Ruins: An endless racing game starring Nevada Clarke, intrepid explorer. Climb out of a collapsing pyramid and collect valuable artifacts before being swallowed up by the desert.
Apocalypse: Play as the earth as you try to divert earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters to areas where they’ll do the least amount of damage so the humans will have enough time to get to safety. Beware of rising panic levels leading to mass suicides and hysteria.
Chaos: Orchestrate the perfect jailbreak and take over a high-security prison with hundreds of your fellow inmates. Could be a good application for a flocking algorithm.
Colony: A city building game set in space after an exodus from Earth due to resource scarcity. Terraforming is a key component.
Dreams: A point-and-click adventure in which you play a young girl who can interact with other peoples’ dreams. The items necessary to progress can be summoned by influencing her sleeping family into dreaming about them.
Electricity: You play a malevolent storm cloud. Use various types of lightning to rain destruction down on a peaceful city; lightning strikes cause chaining through water towers, sheet lightning blinds meteorologists, etc.
Everyone Is Dead: Survival horror where you are the last living person in a plague-stricken city. Your character mutters to himself about watching out for zombies and mutants. Plot twist: There’s nothing in the game that can hurt you.
Flammable: A god game in which you play a fire god. Your only means of communicating with your followers is by setting things on fire. Lead them in the winter and show them where to avoid in the summer.
Going Backwards: A stealth game in which your character can only moonwalk. Timing becomes paramount as you must move between hiding spots without being able to look in the direction you’re moving.
Industrial: A rhythm game where you play a technician in charge of training assembly line machines. As you successfully perform each procedure, you move further down the line onto the next step in the line, each more complicated than the last.
Journey: An adventure game where you play a sword. Throughout your owner’s quest, you must decide whether his cause is just and influence his fighting skill accordingly.
Keeping Control: An action game starring a brain. You have to suppress the right synapses and stimulate others in order to keep your owner, a mental patient on parole, from being recommitted.
Lifecycle: A tron-like in which you try to capture the most plots in a graveyard to raise an undead army.
Lost: Survive on a desert island after being marooned by your mutinous pirate crew. Survive long enough to signal a passing trade ship or settle down for the long-term.
Mutation: An RPG beat-em-up set in a science facility where you gain new powers by imbibing various chemicals and cultures from genetic experiments.
No Weapons Allowed: You play an assassin who specializes in penetrating highly secure government facilities. Your latest mission requires you to enter through the front door with a group of tourists, so bringing in weapons is out of the question. You’ll have to improvise with whatever you can find throughout the compound.
Point of No Return: A metroidvania where every room is sealed after you exit it.
Rediscovery: A point-and-click detective story where the crime scene is slightly different every time you return.
Rise and Fall: A dating sim in which you play the Sun and try to find true love with the Moon.
Seasons: An art game in which you play a tree. You must balance your ability to survive the cycle of the seasons with your desire to cause happiness in people who look at your leaves and pick your fruit.
Surrounded: A simulation game where you manage a resort on a tiny tropical island.
Underworld: A tycoon game where you play a mob boss in his bid to become the kingpin of crime by rubbing out the competition.