Let’s Win Forever

By: fuzz

On: March 4th, 2010

WINNINGFOREVER

“Mouse click on gerbils to shoot them, get scores, youre winning, YOU ARE WINNING FOREVER

Let’s Win Forever is the latest creation of Amon26, from whom sprang the wonderful Au Sable series and a number of other short, humorous titles. In Let’s Win Forever, the player aims their crosshair at the members of a large crowd of colourful gerbils. Shooting them results in their gaining jetpacks and a seemingly arbitrary number being added to the player’s score. There’s not really any objective or purpose to the game, but that’s okay since it allows you to WIN FOREVER (!). The music is quite brilliant, as always with Amon’s work. If you enjoy this, it’s also worth checking out the more experimental Let’s Win Everything.

Download Let’s Win Forever here; get Amon26 merchandise (including art-books and a CD of Au Sable/AOOFAD) here.

Hit the jump for an interview with Amon26:

Interview
with Amon26

TIGSource: What
does the pseudonym “Amon26” mean?

Amon26: I was fourteen when I found the name. Amon was short for Amontillado, and in junior high my friends and I talked about each other and our crushes in-code so that our peers wouldn’t find out our secrets. There was Eduardo, Oxy, Aim, Julius, Pizarro, and me, Amontillado. The 26 came in when I was tired of everybody using the same boring numbers like 69, or 666, 13, or 420. It seemed every number had some kind of special meaning. I couldn’t find any special meaning to the number 26 so I chose it to represent me. I let it become my ‘holy number’ I guess you could say.

TIGS: While you’re best known for your games, you’re also a prolific musician, visual artist, and occasional writer. How do you balance your multiple artistic interests?

Amon26: I don’t worry that much about balancing it out. For a long time I’ve liked the idea of trying to bring multiple elements to bear in a way that excites an audience. So sometimes I’ll write a story that becomes a picture, or I’ll design a picture that becomes a short film. I tend to think in fractals, so everything could be easily transformed into another media for me. AOOFAD could be a board game, or a 200 page poem, or a coffee table art-book. It just happened to come out shaped like a game. :)

TIGS: Where do you think games stand as a medium? Do you consider Anna Anthropy’s concept of games being primarily about creator-audience interaction to be worthwhile, or do you tend to focus more on your own individual expression?

Amon26: I think each game should be measured by its own merit. Boardgames for example: Mahjong can’t be compared to Brenda Brathwaite’s Train, or vice-versa even even though they’re both boardgames. Sometimes a game is meant to tell a story or have a message, sometimes a game is meant to realistically simulate an event, other times its just meant to look and feel cool with little or no substance and meaning. The whole “games as/are art” debate is hard for me to understand. The concept of what makes art art is so hard to pin down as it is. I think what matters more is setting out to try and accomplish something good, regardless of what it may be considered in the end

TIGS: All of the games set in the world of Au Sable are in traditional genres, as either run-and-gun or first person shooter. Is this due to a design philosophy that one can most easily distort what is already well known, or simply from the route of attempting to marry gameplay to aesthetic in a way that doesn’t require a great deal of coding?

Amon26: At first it was my way to make sure I wasn’t overstepping my bounds. I re-purposed a free, open source platformer example for GameMaker and didn’t want to design a game that had goals more complex than I knew I could accomplish with what limited skill I had. Now that I’ve learned more, I could try something less conventional but I’ve always been
fond of John Carmack‘s concept of simplicity. You can play Doom1 with a couple keys and the mouse, that’s all you need.

TIGS: What are a few of your major influences, in any medium?

Amon26: Hm, Castlevania II really helped me see potential in making lo-fi graphics unsettling, the whole game gives this stark sense of loneliness even when you’re in a populated town. Same with Wizards and Warriors 2. Silent Hill/Fatal Frame were good examples of creating a vulnerable player; someone who wasn’t good with guns or combat. As far as books go, I used Ray Bradbury’s “Death Is a Lonely Business” as inspiration for creating an eerie mood from what would otherwise be
considered mundane. Also “House Of Leaves” created an illusion that the book was shredding itself apart as you progressed. I listen to a
lot of music all over the board, from Lilly Allen to Soul Coughing. I modeled AOOfAD/AuSable’s music after Throbbing Gristle, and the
ambient tracks off of the Quake1 CD written by Trent Reznor.

TIGS: Your games tend to employ a glitch aesthetic in that there’s no definite reality that is readily understood by the player, making them unsure of their abilities and goals. To what extent is this
intentional, rather than accidental as a result of your unfamiliarity with your tools?

Amon26: Well a lot of those glitch and scratch concepts come from “manufactured accidents” during the development process. I.E the Eyes in Ausable. I wanted them to do something other than hover in a
fully predictable pattern, so I made attempts to break the game on purpose with lots of random integers, particles, distortions. Once I found something that looked good, I toned it down to a point that kept the game playable, but reflected that sense of nearly crashing. That’s pretty much how I do everything.

TIGS: Collaboration is obviously something that you’re familiar with, as you’ve done the music for both Anna Anthropy‘s and Jazzuo’s games. To what extent has this been a positive influence on your own work?

Amon26: Mighty JillOff and Sexy Hiking have been two heavily played games among my local friends and I for years. We’d spend hours at all-night diners trying to work our way over that damn tree, or up the impossible tower. So when I was invited to compose music for Jazzuo/Anna/Kepa I nearly wet myself! Now, a year later, I’ve learned about who they are, and what they enjoy doing beyond what brought us together. Their friendships have been the most valuable outcome from all of this. I’ve met Anna in person and someday I would like to fly over and visit Jazzuo so we could do a live performance of the DildoTank theme song. I think we would obliterate all of Eurasia with
its greatness. (And some of Denmark)

TIGS: One of the defining features of games as opposed to other artistic mediums is the possibility of a social aspect; this is present even in single player games, as you’ve mentioned in relation to your experiences with The Mighty Jill Off and Sexy Hiking. Do you plan on ever creating a game that focuses as much on human interaction as atmosphere, a la Anna Anthropy’s Octopounce?

Amon26: I have this really crazy idea for a 2 player game that actually encourages failure to some degree. I loved how the later ps2 Burnout games rewarded you with super-dramatic visuals when you failed. I want to recreate that same sense of “oh man, I lost the round but look how amazing my failure was!”

TIGS: Do you have any tips for complete beginners to Game Maker or independent game development in general?

Amon26: hmm.. well it applies to more than just GameMaker, but; Make lots and lots and lots of mistakes. Visit forums, grab examples and code and just rip them apart. Even if you dont know what you’re doing, you’re still doing something. Eventually it gets clearer.

its not effective for people who want to go from zero-to-awesome in a day, but its really rewarding

also, make friends with other small devs, cultivate meaning partnerships with other fledgling designers and share your experiments between eachother.

if it wasn’t for the help of glyph, the A.I in AuSable would be little more than bouncing do-nothings.

TIGS: I see that’s worked out very well for you and Anna Anthropy.

Amon26: exactly, she really took me under her wing and spends lots of time helping me fine-tune things. In return, I’m her “piano monkey” writing fun music for her work.

TIGS: Are you doing the soundtrack for her new deep sea diver game, too, then?

Amon26: It’s planned, I’ve had really bad writer’s block with music lately. Winter gets me down and makes it hard for me to focus on things, but I sent her a few blurbs of music today Ages ago, now- Ed..to see what she thinks.

it’s a lot of fun, there’s stuff I cant discuss about it that really amuses me. Very much her sense of humor.

TIGS: Your Quake machinima tend to have a comical aspect not present in your games or music (aside from the Dildo Tank theme). Is it less natural for you to make humorous, rather than melancholy, creations?

Amon26: I struggle with chronic night terrors. I’ve had them since I was a child and they’re very distracting. One time I had a therapist that encouraged me to try “trapping” my horrors on canvas but It
didn’t work out really well. The pictures didn’t make me feel any better. But it all changed the moment I personified a nightmare as an NPC, took aim, and killed it.

In my ordinary waking-life I tend to be very light hearted, positive and quirky. I avoid over-exposing myself to negative things, I don’t read the news or watch TV. So when I’m in the spirit and feel it’s time to tell a really good joke, I do it by whatever means necessary. I look forward to creating a really absurd and hilarious game in the
future. Something that I hope will equal the polish of AOOFAD/AuSable.

TIGS: Have you played any of Aliceffekt‘sgames? They’re quite reminiscent of yours, especially Cyanosis Fever.

Amon26: ooh this looks interesting (downloading valp.zp)

angon a sec, trying it

ohh MAN!

i never knew i could feel that way about a game.
valential hopes just made me keep going “YES! FASTER! YES!” then i ate some mints, and i was allright.
im not sure what its about yet, i just tried the first path

yeah, i’d really love to develop something alongside a programmer with some genuine 3d prowess. I have an idea for a flight game that I’m not nearly smart enough to make yet.
I tried unity, but it made my brain explode out my ear,

TIGS: It appears that you’ve tried to sell some of your work on CD and USB locally as well as on-line; has this been successful?

Amon26: The money I’ve made off sales doesn’t cover much more than a nice dinner or a DVD on occasion, but I don’t expect it to. It’s just my way of providing people a method to donate money and be able to get something nice in turn as my way of saying thanks. I wish I could curb production costs though, I make 2 dollars profit off a 18 dollar shirt.

TIGS: You’ve recently made the jump into 3D; how is designing for three dimensions different than designing for a spatial area seen only from one side?

Amon26: It was a nightmare at first, but I was sort of expecting that. Even though all I was doing was providing a variable for “height” along with width and length, it took a lot of re-thinking to
understand. Once I started getting the basics down It actually felt very familiar. Cactus helped me solve a problem that was a bit tedious but he really saved my ass. Without his tip, The Hunt still wouldnt run right on most PC’s. I really need to look into Unity and
see if I can make anything interesting in that next, but I’m not sure if my brain can handle it. We’ll see. If i start speaking aramaic and drawing stick figures of zalgo with my own feces, then maybe i’ll stick to 2d a little longer.

You can ask Amon26 your own questions at his Formspring.

Amon26

  • SEH

    Oh god, we are having the same goggles. This is embarrassing.

  • Amon26

    *dramatic huff* Well.. one of us is going to have to go change, else we’ll look like absolute fools at the sadie hawkins. ;)

  • Jay

    Does anyone else have the problem I have with Amon26′s games? Whenever I download them, my virus scanner throws a fit saying the zip is infected. What’s the deal with that? It really sucks because the games look fun, but not fun enough to let my system get infected.

  • http://www.microwaving.net Microwave

    Yeah Jay, I have a problem with myself: I suck

  • fuzz

    jay: could this be a gm issue? does this happen w/ other game maker games?

  • http://chaoseed.com/garden John Evans

    Pfft. 26 is the number of letters in the Latin alphabet. It’s also twice 13, which itself is quite the number to conjure with.

  • Phoomegaishun

    I love this guy.

  • http://www.bradkav.com kavs

    The file hosting is terrible. I tried to download it and it gave me a popup with “REAL GIRLS” and said I had to complete the offer to continue.

    More like “Let’s Get Downloaded Never”, mirite? :?

  • Lurker

    Hmmm I need to set this game as my screen saver or something.

  • (Other) Alex

    So Amon26 creates glitches on purpose to enhance the look and feel of the games?

    Interesting. I know workarounds are not uncommon in any kind of programming, but fabricating glitches as an intended part of a final result is something I never heard of.

  • anothergol

    Crap artsy game + (ugly) directory listing as a background, I will laugh when you will discover it ate your files.

  • LazyWaffle

    Hi JS

  • fuzz

    kavs: mediafire is pretty standard for indies. it’s probably the best well known one outside of whff, which no longer exists.

    anothergol: this game isn’t remotely artsy– if anything it’s mindless fun! and no file eating is happening here, amon’s no troll. (and besides, i doubt he has the technical know-how for that)

  • Scapetti

    I’ll be honest… I just didn’t feel like I was winning, for a few reasons :/

    1. I was blowing up gerbils
    2. The score was going down as well as up
    3. The backround was scaring me into thinking my computer was in danger
    4. For all I know, there may have been gerbils sneaking up behind me
    and 5. I was making the gerbils white…

    And then I closed the game… I had lost

  • CMspice

    This game is pretty terrible.

  • Ezuku

    Didn’t find it very amusing, or interesting. How come this gets a mention when lots of other games, like Merry Gear Solid 2, don’t?

  • fuzz

    cause i needed some game to highlight to complement the interview, see?

    and merry gear solid 2 was bland and uninteresting to me– i dunno about the other tigs writers

  • Rant

    Too many ugly indie games out there (graphics wise)… Some indie developers have to take into account the visual appeal too, not only weird premises/gameplay. Just c’mon, you don’t need budget to make a game look pretty, just some aesthetic sense.

  • fuzz

    haha what? amon is all about graphics. have you played au sable?

  • Amon26

    “Lets Win Forever” IS ugly, pointless, and totally not a game.

    I chose to make it at a bar in 3 hours. My Beta testers were all drunk and I made myself take their advice regardless. I’d like to think the results are pretty damn impressive all things considered.

    (And the backdrop? that was a screenshot of my command prompt window, not yours.)

  • the king

    @anothergol oh no a command prompt! he must be hacking the mainframe with gigawatts from the internet! darn those kids and their computers!

  • paul eres

    fuzz, an editing tip: you don’t need to link something to its own page every time it’s possible to link such a thing; it makes text hard to read when every other word is a link. for example, you already linked to au sable once the first time, it wasn’t necessary to link to it 7 times in the same blog post.

  • GoSign

    I agree with paul — first mention gets a link, after that, leave things clean.

  • judgespear

    Amon is right, this isn’t meant to be a game. Protip: Developers like to make random really short joke games or weird crap they made in a half hour by experimenting in GM (or their tool of choice), all for shits and giggles. I do it too. I’m sure everyone does.

    My question is, is it really necessary to cover these on TIGSource? These are made pretty much every day. Just because someone released a good game or two in the past doesn’t mean that everything they make needs to be praised like it’s the next big thing. It’s things like that which give people the impression that TIGSource is a clique, and that the only games that are covered are ones by people who are in the “in=crowd.”

  • judgespear

    *”in-crowd”

  • judgespear

    I dunno about you, but to me it seems like you guys will cover anything regardless of the quality or even if its a full game as long as its made by someone you happen to like.

  • Jad

    judgespear, this seems fair enough

    I can dig that though cause I live in a silly bubble of ignorance so that’s ok

  • thexder

    TIGSource is slowly starting to become a parody of PIGScene. And worst of all, I’m not even sure if it’s intentional or not.

    By that I mean, taking small whip up in a few minutes then reviewing them like they’re pieces from an art gallery. It’s surreal. I don’t know whether it’s a joke and I’m supposed to be playing along or what. It’s uncanny how the two sites are slowly becoming exactly like each other. But one is intentional and the other is not. Or maybe they both are?

  • thexder

    er, I meant “small experiments whipped up in a few minutes”

  • fnugget

    Art game implies theres an artistic point to it. It also implies that it is a game with actual game elements, like an objective and rules. This is kind of lacking in that latter part.

  • thexder

    I was talking to a few people about this the other day and they dubbed it the “alex macqueen effect.” Though I’m not sure if it’s fair to solely blame Alex for anything (as overblown and redundant as his first articles may have been).

  • paul eres

    @thexder: to me, the main attraction of this entry is the interview, not the small game. nobody has really commented on the interview yet. i think it’s within the blog’s role to interview interesting indie game devs, no?

  • C.A. Sinclair

    Yeah, I figured the game was mainly posted as an “excuse” to post the interview (to give it some context perhaps?), but still I think it’d have been a wiser choice to just post the interview and add a small remark in the vein of “Amon’s newest game is call Let’s Win Forever and can be downloaded here”.

  • C.A. Sinclair

    Regarding the interview, it’s interestingm that he namecheck’s Throbbing Gristle, because I always thought the Au Sable soundtrack sounded like old-school Industrial music, guess I was spot-on.

  • SirNiko

    If you don’t like the games being reviewed here, find a game and write your own review about it. There’s a forum to do that, even.

    I guess the hardest part is differentiating “Indie” from everything else. I sort of like that I get different games in TIGSource than I get from JayisGames and more ‘mainstream’ type sites.

    -SirNiko

  • nobody2

    Were suppose to comment on the interview?

    Here’s my comment: the interview is a bigger TIGS circle jerk than posting the game itself.

  • Dinsdale

    there’s no difference as long as the end product is the same. it was all a lie!

  • Rant

    @fuzz: If Amon is “all about graphics” how do you explain this crap?… Anyway that’s not the point, I’m speaking in a general fashion, I mean, just look at the games posted at the main tigs page, they are mostly visually horrid.

  • fuzz

    haha cool- i now have something named after me. the “alex macqueen effect.” i like it.

  • Amon26

    WELL HEY!
    I made a film, do you think they call me Amon the director? nope!

    I wrote a book, do you think they call me Amon the author? Wrong again.

    I composed a song, do you think they call me Amon the musician? bzzt.

    But do one TIG interview, and I’m Amon, the pretentious cocksucker.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I have obscure graphic novels to read and mainstream radio to be above listening to.

  • William

    At least you didn’t fuck one goat, Amon.

  • Amon26

    Good point, W ;}
    I really shouldn’t let this bother me and get back to work trying to make more stuff.

  • Caliber9

    Dont pay it any mind Amon! I thought it was really great for what it was. I like these super small games that have very little rules and almost arent games at all. they are like little nuggets of imagination. I hadn’t read the front page posts for a while and forgot how ridiculous people are on here. Basically everyone’s complaint comes down to “Im mad because this doesnt fit my definition of a game and what I consider good artwork so I am mad and offended that its posted up on a blog!” If you look at all the other indie game blogs they are all posting about the same games so Im glad Tig’s front page looks radically different with obscure little games popping up like this.

  • Scapetti

    I took this game the totally wrong way, I apologise.

    The article created the problems. The constant claiming that the aim of the game is that you win forever irritated me :/

    It also seemed like the game was written about far too much, an interview and everything…

    The article should have been “An interview with Amon26, the creator of Au Sable”

    Amon could have then thrown the game in as part of the interview like “I created this game the other night when drunk with mates, you shoot non descript rodents” if he so chooses.

    However, the worst part of the article was this:

    “If you enjoy this, it’s also worth checking out the more experimental Let’s Win Everything.”

    More experimental? Now that just pissed me off…

  • Ezuku

    ^ Agree with the above.

    If it was made clear that it was an interview, and that was just a recent thing you threw together, that would have been fine.

    But instead the focus of the article seemed to be on the game and how great it was. Then my next impression was, because of how amazing and groundbreaking the game was, there was an interview.

    Sorry, it didn’t click that the interview was the main attraction and I went in expecting a truely amazing game.

  • silpheed

    Amon26: Dude, you didn’t portray yourself as that! Alex fucks people over with his articles completely. Blame him, he’s been doing this to everyone. Shit like this is why people associate the p word with this site (the word that Rinku censored).

    Granted, he’s only 13. But still, his writing style pisses me off. And I’m not the only one, considering that someone tried to fake his death on the forums recently (though I admit, that was pretty funny) and all the comments I hear on IRC.

    Writing about everything like it’s something that needs to be displayed in an art gallery (even shit you or I make just for shits an giggles or as a joke) is what PIGScene does.

  • silpheed

    Actually, I take that back, PIGScene is meant to be funny. The sad part is that this guy is actually serious.

  • fuzz

    silpheed- yes i am a preten{t}ious fuck. i’ve a shit writing style too. all that’s fairly obvious– no need to emphasize something everyone already knows. now move along and comment on something relevant to this particular article.

  • http://www.alexmacqueeneffect.com beef

    the interview was also the main attraction for me. he asked questions i would ask amon if i met him, therefore, the interview was good.

    constructive criticism? follow paul eres’ advice and minimize the links.

    @silpheed: i don’t frequent the forums too often – someone tried to fake their own death? really?

  • silpheed

    fake fuzz’s death. i think the thread got deleted though

  • silpheed

    anyway if I ever make a game, I will do whatever I can to make sure TIGSource doesn’t cover it and ruin my reputation.

    too many people get flack for being “preten{t}ious” when they’re not. most aren’t trying to make art games, more often than not they’re just making random stuff for fun.

    but the way a game is presented in a blog can change the whole intention of anything.

    it doesn’t even have to be a game. you could take something someone said in the news, and use it in a different context. and you could also take a game that was meant to be a quick experiment, and make it seem like the author is trying to be the next Tale of Tales. complete with all the vitriol associated with it.

  • silpheed

    And what I am saying IS relevant. I think Amon26 is seriously getting shafted here, and that irks me. I know you do it intentionally, but the fact is you still do it.

    I don’t mean to be a dick. But too many times you miss the point. Then even though you don’t get it, you’ll still act like you do and then write stuff about the game that was never intended in the first place.

    Second, if a person is important and well known, you don’t need to advertise everything they’ve done. Just calling them the creator of ______ is good enough. The interview could have easily stood alone, maybe with a quick link at the end mentioning a funny little project he made in 3 hours.

  • silpheed

    And what I am saying IS relevant. I think Amon26 is seriously getting shafted here, and that irks me. I know you do it intentionally, but the fact is you still do it.

    I don’t mean to be a jerk. But too many times you miss the point. Then even though you don’t get it, you’ll still act like you do and then write stuff about the game that was never intended in the first place.

    Second, if a person is important and well known, you don’t need to advertise everything they’ve done. Just calling them the creator of is good enough. The interview could have easily stood alone, maybe with a quick link at the end mentioning a funny little project he made in 3 hours.

  • silpheed

    *don’t do it

    fuck, quad post. sorry.

  • silpheed

    goddamn it. I put the creator of BLANK with blank being a big underline with quotes and the blog messed up my formatting.

    x5 post. where is an edit button when you need it?

  • Derek

    TIGSource can never be a parody of PIGScene because PIGScene is really a site about hurt feelings and not games.

  • Jay

    @fuzz, it’s never happened with any other game maker games.

  • undertech

    Nobody faked anyone’s death. It was all a coincidence. Is the possibility that there might be more than one Alex MacQueen’s out there in the world so profound?

  • http://mirosurabu.com Miroslav

    >> considering that someone tried to fake his death on the forums recently (though I admit, that was pretty funny) and all the comments I hear on IRC.

    Hey, I *faked* the death, but not because I don’t like his writing style (it’s not bad in fact), but because I was fooled by twitter list which was about the sudden death of fashion designer who has the same name.

  • fuzz

    miroslav- i don’t have that many friends, neither am i a fashion designer.

  • fuzz

    silpheed- also, i don’t intentionally paint anyone in a particular light. i just write about how a particular game affects me (because of course it’s all subjective– doesn’t matter what the creator intended) and ask questions that i’d like to know the answers of. _i_ am pretentious, according to the definition of most on the frontpage. my interviewees are not.

  • Super Joe