Mighty Rabbit Studios is proving what a powerful tool nostalgia can be with their love letter to the 80’s, Saturday Morning RPG. Combining a gaggle of 80’s references with conventional RPG mechanics, the first episodes of SMRPG proved to be a hilariously entertaining romp. The story isn’t over, though. Episode three is coming up, so to recap where things stand, I talked to SMRPG programmer/designer, Josh Fairhurst.
First, comes the spoiler-free recap, minus the dramatic “Previously on…” narrator. An average high school kid named Marty dreams of a magic notebook that allows him to fight the forces of the evil Commander Hood using everyday objects. But he wakes up to find that the notebook is actually real. Episode two takes Marty through his day at Shadow Valley High School. After dealing with the school bully, Billy, Marty uncovers Commander Hood’s secret high-powered death laser underneath the school. After foiling Commander Hood’s plan, Marty is recruited by Commander Hood’s archenemy, Private Johnson.
As one might imagine, the third episode of Saturday Morning RPG will pack in just as many 80’s references as the previous ones. “The next episode of the game takes place in Downtown Shadow Valley and at the town’s hydroelectric power plant – the Jean Claude Van Dam,” said Fairhurst. “The episode primarily references Transformers as the story centers on our Botchanger characters. Gigantitron – the leader of the evil Badbots – has announced plans to steal all the power from the dam to refine it into Powertron, an addictive drug that has its hold on the Badbots. Marty joins forces with the Goodbots to stop Gigantitron and save the town’s power.”
While the story will center around the Transformers homages, they’re far from the only 80’s reference. “One of my favorite locations in the episode is Charles Cheezer,” adds Fairhurst. “It’s like if Chuck E. Cheese was run by one of those shady guys that run all the questionable pizza places in any downtown area. We’ve also got storefronts in the town like S-Mart, a computer café called Kenny Log-Ins, and a travel agency called Tom’s Cruises.”
As in the previous episodes, the nostalgic references also extend to inventory items. Players can look forward to the addition of a karate headband that grants players a Ralph Macchio-style crane kick whenever enemies come close. There’s a toy item called Garfunkel (strongly resembling the multi-colored Simon) that starts up a quick mini-game, which grants status effects depending on the final button. However, there’s one new item that has Fairhurst (and myself) particularly excited. “My favorite new battle object is the brick cell phone,” Fairhurst explained. “It brings up a dial pad that lets you call a few different 900 numbers to get boosts in battle, but of course it costs money to stay on the line! We programmed in a whole bunch of numbers from pop culture into the phone as well. You can call Jenny (867-5309) if you feel inclined.”
Episode three will also see a new mode of fast travel introduced — the hoverboard, inspired by Back to the Future. Fairhurst notes that fast travel became a necessity with the addition of the dam and downtown. Loosely based on Back to the Future’s Hill Valley, in terms of layout, the downtown area is roughly three times the size of Shadow Valley High School from episode two. The dam will be roughly five times the size of the total area of the first episode. Fairhurst equates the hoverboard to the bike from the Pokémon games. Once the player acquires the hoverboard, he can also retroactively use it in SMRPG’s previous two episodes.
In fact, SMRPG will retroactively add several pieces of content to the previous two episodes with episode three’s release. “With each new episode, we will try to add one or two little things to previous episodes,” said Fairhurst. “The third episode adds a quest of sorts that spans across all three currently available episodes. You can find emblems shaped like a heart, wishbone, and funny bone that can open an ancient door in the first episode. To get the heart emblem in episode three, you have to fight a super powerful and optional side boss. The emblems in episodes one (wishbone) and two (funny bone) haven’t been placed yet, but they will probably be well-hidden. We’re also planning to add our He-Man parody, Manly-Man, into the first episode. He’s supposed to give out a new quest, but we’re still brewing on what that will be. In any case, with each update to SMRPG – players should definitely go back to the older episodes to see what may have changed.”
Saturday Morning RPG is launches on October 25, after undergoing delays from the release of iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. However, Fairhurst is also looking to release the game on PC, Mac, and Linux. Look for Saturday Morning RPG’s Steam Greenlight page, which is up now.
blog comments powered by Disqus