I came back to making games in 2009 after a six-year hiatus. That’s when I purchased Game Maker and followed some tutorials by Derek Yu on the TIGSource forums. Shortly after I completed my first little game (About a Ball, also in 2009), a friend of mine named Eli suggested a title to me: “Monster Hug.” That was about the extent of the proposal. I liked the idea, and wanted to do it, possibly at a Glorious Trainwrecks Klik of the Month event, but I never hit upon a satisfying way to present it.
Then in 2013, when I was in Tokyo on a study abroad and running out of money, I ran an Indiegogo to submit Caverns of Khron to IndieCade and also for living expenses (partly framed as if I have more money maybe I can spend less time scrounging for eikaiwa work and have more time to make games). Eli and his wife Miriam sent me money at the reward tier where I would make a game for the contributor. They requested “Monster Hug.” I never got around to making it.
Until the end of last month, when I started work on it on Eli’s birthday.
I had thought maybe I could get it done in my old GT-style trainwreck time. But it took me a week and a half to through it. Not entirely sure where it was going from the beginning, I decided to just sketch a monster and a protagonist in a scene in MSPaint.
And from there, I kinda started to see where things might go. I started imagining motion on the part of both the monster and the PC. I went home and hammered it out. This is the form it eventually took:
After that, I quickly sketched five other monsters in a similar fashion, not thinking too hard about gameplay implementations. I took four of those (the discarded one I did want to include, but I never figured out quite what to dow ith it) and, then, using the same kinds of player actions (a tall, fast jump; a slow walk cycle; a hug button) and the kinds of movement suggested by the monster designs, designed stages and monster behaviors from there.
Some probably work better than others!
I spent way too many hours one day generating (thanks bfxr and Chiptone!) and messing with sound effects for this game. But I think they more or less work.
I added a storybook-like frame narrative for the whole endeavor, too. It seemed fitting, though I had to rewrite it a few times to find an approximate tone that I liked.
As a last-minute addition, I gave the protagonist eyes. I wasn’t sure if they needed them, but I think eyes probably help humanize the blue-skinned humanoid in a way that works best for the game.
Anyway, after 9 years of thinking about it, here’s MONSTER HUG