Ninjah 2007 For Windows – 2.65Mb – Tested on Windows 98/XP/Vista and 7
Ninjah is a fast paced action-puzzler. The general idea is to get from A to B as quickly as possible with the help of your trusty, if not slightly elastic, ninja rope and your ability to err…. go into slow motion. However, there is a snag. You may only come into contact with blocks the same colour as your belt or you die (for some well explained and thorough reason!). To help combat this strange allergic reaction to the evil, evil blocks, you can change the colour of your belt by hitting the corresponding checkered blocks.
Above, you can see the little ninja guy has hit the green checkered changer block, this means he can now safely hit the standard green block just up ahead. It sound’s simple enough but the game can get pretty complicated (hopefully not frustratingly so)!
The level editor used to make the levels has been included with the game, so go crazy and make your own! NOTE: do not attempt the upload feature as it will hang the game, this is a feature that is no longer supported.
History and boring stuff
When I first started messing around with proper game programming (having played with Klik & Play and the sister products) I experimented with a quite simple platform engine in a programming language called Blitz Basic. It was a very simple crude engine, but it was smooth and felt right to play. I added a god awful implementation of a ninja rope and kind of forgot about it, it never became a game. I think this must’ve been around 2001-2002?
In July 2007 I finished Uni and wanted to make games as a living. I figured I would make a simple game to attach to my CV in the hope of someone seeing it who would think something like “Hey this is good! You’re hired!”. At the time I thought it was a rather naive/stupid thing to think but I didn’t really care, I was in a position to give it a go, so I did.
I had just finished Pogo Fred which I made as a third year project at Uni, so wanted to try my hand on something much simpler but at the same time, much more likely to be finished. I revisited the Ninjah engine and started trying to turn it into a simple game.
Inspired by the defrag scene (speed running quake levels without enemies), and probably more specifically “Lags The Movie” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFkoTfhwlfA) I decided to make time trial platform game.
I wanted it to be fast, smooth but simple. For ease of level design I wanted to keep each level to a single screen so I needed a mechanic that could control the players path within a relatively small level size. So was born the colour changing mechanic. It allowed me to open and close paths and create a puzzle element.
I was actually very pleased with how it turned out, unlike Pogo Fred, I had set out a simple plan and managed to stick to it without much deviation. The only deviation to occur was the fact I implemented an automatic level pack upload feature (that was actually quite clever in my humble opinion)!
I didn’t actually get around to submitting the game with my CV to anyone, but I did have an interview for a game testing job at Sega in Birmingham (responsible for the Sega Rally franchise at the time), the interview went so so badly, which prompted me get a grip and go find a proper job 🙂
Ninjah was the first proper game I released (Pogo Fred didn’t feel finished) and the response was brilliant. The level editor seemed popular too and people began making levels in ways I hadn’t imagined. Instead of making individual levels, I set it up so people could make level packs. I hadn’t anticipated that people would link the levels together in the pack to create some sort of story but they did! The limitations of the level sizes meant people got really imaginative with things and that was great to see.