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Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock...

Girl's Graveyard now has been out for a few days, so I thought I'd talk a little bit about this game, myself, and some future things I'm working on.

Girl's Graveyard was originally developed for RPGMaker.Net's Hallow's Eve 2013 Contest. It didn't place anywhere in the contest winners, sadly, but it was still a fun experience working on it. The overall development time was a little over 100 hours in the span of 5 days. The entire development of the game was streamed, I shall mention, as I usually do when working on smaller RPG Maker game projects.

While Girl's Graveyard is not the first game I worked on in RPG Maker, it's the first game in what I call a 'Series' internally. Without saying too much, my current RPG Maker game project, Nostalgica: An Old World Passes, and Girl's Graveyard, have various connections, though I've also been designing them to be able to be played by themselves and enjoyed just fine as is, but there be some extra understanding if you've played both of them. Nostalgica is also very likely not the last time I'll visit this, "Universe."

But, enough about the history and connections of the game, let's talk the Redux version, its changes, and about Girl's Graveyard itself.

Girl's Graveyard is a parody of a 1984 game known as "Girl's Garden". If you've never heard of Girl's Garden, you can see a video of the game here:

Back when I was deciding what to game to make for Hallow's Eve 2013, I wanted to make a very meta video game that was a parody of a real-world game from the past. Girl's Garden was the perfect choice not only to the fact of its obscurity and simple graphic style to semi-emulate, but also the narrative of the game fit perfectly to something I wanted to do. In Girl's Garden, you have a girl who collects her boyfriend flowers to retain their love. If you notice in the above video, your 'timer' is your boyfriend slowly edging his way to another girl. To win, you have to fetch him flowers and bring them back to his home so he will continue to love you. Outside of being extremely superficial, the whole situation is rather strange and raises a lot of questions. What sort of relationship do the three of them have exactly? Why is our main character so desperate for this boy's love if he naturally goes towards this other girl? It was with these questions that I kind of designed Girl's Graveyard, simplifying the gameplay (almost becoming more like Pac-Man than the original Girl's Garden), giving it a Halloween-skin, and putting in a pseudonarrative that develops as the game goes on.

The game was mostly over-looked, probably attributed to the fact the graphics for the game are super simple (you can't lie to me, RPG Maker players, I am one of you, nice graphics adds a lot of intrigue into a title!) and that the game looks like an Arcade game, not something most people looking for RPG Maker Horror Games are specifically looking for. On-top of that, while I meant to make the game challenging, the original release of Girl's Graveyard was hellish in its difficulty. I found most people never made it past Round 3 in the game, partially due to the fact in the original game you wouldn't get a save point until after you completed Round 3, so dying at Round 3 would send you all the way back to Round 1. So the couple of reviews you can find of Girl's Graveyard describe it as they played it, a hellishly hard Pac-Man type game. Of course, those who've played deeper into the game know that's not exactly what the game is...

However, I got into a bit of legal trouble with a musician I was in contact with who I had been paying to make music for another project of mine. I thought it'd be okay to use a couple of the scrapped music from that project in this game, as I had already paid for it. However, apparently that was not okay, we ultimately worked it out but I took down the game and made it no longer publicly available, as it's been for about a year now.

I had thought after taking it down by fixing up the game a little bit to make it less difficult as opposed to just replacing the music and slapping it back up there, but it wasn't until I got to work on Nostalgica that this idea came more forward to my mind, partially as I realized developing Nostalgica it had a lot of connections with Girl's Graveyard. As I became more aware that Nostalgica would have to be pushed back before I went on a Holiday trip for Christmas, I worked hard for an additional 22 hours on Girl's Graveyard over two days and finished and released the Redux version of the game you see before you!

So what's different? Most of the fixes won't be evident unless you played the game, I fixed a few bugs and made a few slight changes to make the game more playable and a tad easier. Changes like making certain event areas larger, adding a few more gravestones/paths in the stages and less enemies, and adding additional save points (the original game had 6 save points that were long and far-between, the Redux version has 12 save points). Outside of this, some new content was added, and some parts of the game were changed. If you played the original, you'll notice probably that most of the dialogue has been almost completely re-worked. It's a bit less cryptic now than it once was, but also more readable with more rhythm and keeping a monologue-like tone that the original game sometimes, though still about as repetitive and strange as the original game. There also were a couple of completely brand new areas added late into the game, though they're just small additions. Some new music was added to the game, including a few tracks I composed, partially to replace the tracks that were in the game originally that I got in trouble with.

Speaking of which, you can listen to the game's whole soundtrack here, though I warn, it contains spoilers:

However, the biggest new changes come in the form of secrets, things hidden in the crevices in the game I bet most won't even find. I decided if I was re-working the game to add in a few fun secrets that players can discover. Some of them are rather well-hidden, so I'm not even sure if people will ever find a number of them. They're also designed so that they add to the original game as opposed to feel like a separate thing, so if you're playing they'll add something extra to the game and may not be identified as a secret unless you replayed the game and didn't trigger it this time. In addition, the game adds two new endings, that makes the game have multiple endings now. One ending in particular adds a lot to the game's narrative.

But I don't want to ruin all the surprises, while the game still has flaws and some purposeful jank to it, I hope it's a game you all enjoy well enough. Also it's a gateway into hopefully bigger and better things in the horizon of the strange games I create. All opinions, positive or negative, are welcome, and I hope you enjoyed or will come to enjoy the game~



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Interesting read!

I did look up Girl's Garden last night, and I'm positive I've seen it before, I remember the cute cover.
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