Punk Prism Power is a cooperative 2-player Magical Girl party game, in which players wield custom laser-cut peripherals to defeat bizarre evil monsters in a fantasy world. Each player has 3 different physical motions that can be registered by an accelerometer embedded in each weapon (similar to a Wiimote): Slash, Spin, and Down Stab. Weapons also contain LED lights that indicate which attack is currently being performed. Enemies that appear on-screen have a Health Bar that takes varying amounts of damage depending on the attack. The gameplay emphasis is on kinetic combat movement and getting the players to feel empowered by their physical actions, as well as revisiting the nostalgic joys of Magical Girl shows like Sailor Moon with a more adult, absurdist tone. The current prototype contains one monster and two weapons, the Sceptre and the Chainsaw, as well as story elements presented in a visual graphic novel style.
The current prototype for Punk Prism Power was conceived as part of Feb Fatale III, a game jam held by Dames Making Games Toronto. The theme was ?Killer Interfaces? where we were meant to create a game using physical hardware. Alicia had an idea to make a Magical Girl dress-up type game and pitched it to the team, so we ran with it. Lindy has a giant laser printer and suggested that we cut custom weapons from acrylic to use as the controllers. With Nadine?s Arduino knowledge and stash of LightBlue Beans, we were ready to set the game in motion. Sagan went to work at the drawing tablet and sketched out the concept art and vector designs for the weapons.
The game became an attempt to combine the visual and thematic motifs as well as the nostalgia of the traditional Magical Girl genre (rainbows, hearts, sparkles, talking animal sidekicks, crazy fashion, friendship, and teamwork) with a punk aesthetic and our own twisted sensibilities. We designed the physical peripherals to give players the sense of holding the sort of oversized Final Fantasy weapon that would be impossible to fight with in real life, but are perfectly functional and badass in the world of a video game. Physical motion was also important in the context of the Magical Girl genre, which involves drawn-out transformation sequences featuring a lot of spinning, twirling, and pose-striking.
In mainstream circles, ?feminine? pop culture is seen as inferior to anything traditionally marketed to boys; superheroes and giant robots are viewed as inherently ?cool,? whereas playing with dolls and dresses is ?girl stuff? and not associated with adventure. Punk Prism Power seeks to empower players with the knowledge that being a Magical Girl is awesome, no matter who you are or how you identify.
We’re a bunch of super rad individuals involved in the Toronto indie game and makerspace communities that brought us together, as well as members of Dames Making Games where we first jammed out Punk Prism Power. Please visit the PPP website for links to each of our personal websites. It's good stuff.
NADINE LESSIO is a technologist and designer who spends her time experimenting with physical interfaces.
SAGAN YEE is an animator, game designer, and coordinator of the Artsy Games Incubator: Animation Edition and Game Curious programs for the Hand Eye Society.
ALICIA CONTESTABILE is a writer, designer, and DMG Committee Member dedicated to leveling up programming skills, and constantly changing hair color.
LINDY WILKINS is a laser enthusiast, programmer, and maker of whimsical robots.
JENN WOODALL is an illustrator and comics maker from Toronto. She does artwork for anthologies, games and various types of project.
MAGGIE MCLEAN is a composer who "loves games, music and making music for games!"
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