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Pitching is tough, and to do it in less than 140 characters is even tougher. One game developer who grabbed our attention with his Twitter pitch a few weeks ago was Paul Brighton, the creator of Illuminascii. It’s a first-person roguelike game with a unique visual style. He didn’t even use all his 140 characters, managing to sell us his game in just 39.

The game: Illuminascii

Availability: PC and Mac releases are scheduled for mid-2015.

The pitch:


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Why I picked this: I grew up in simpler times, playing simple games that relied on keyboard characters (and a whole lot of imagination) to bring them to life. That ‘O’ is my skiier? I have to avoid the “/”? Sure, I could dig that. So when I saw Illuminascii’s weapons made entirely of ASCII characters, I knew it was a game for me. That I could also play as “John the economical undead assassin” or “Margaret the patriotic goldfish thief” just made it better.


Above: Illuminascii is positively dripping with conspiracy theories.

Image Credit: Dan Crawley

What is it? Illuminascii is a surreal first-person shooter set in a mysterious neon-lit world of conspiracies and clues. Playing as the lead character, “@,” you must survive the attention of bizarre ASCII creations like Generic Rats and Invisible Snooker Tables, armed initially with a pistol and a little ammo. It’s a roguelike game that supports multiple playthroughs, with levels, items, and enemies randomized each time.

Developer Paul Brighton says he has a pretty paranoid nature, but insists that he’s not a conspiracy theory believer himself. His irreverant sense of humor definitely shows through in the game he says was inspired by acclaimed dungeon-crawler The Binding of Isaac, old-school shooter Duke Nukem 3D, and the classic 1987 ASCII roguelike NetHack.

Is it good? While Illuminascii is still a work in progress, its quirky visuals and offbeat humor definitely make it worth checking out. The gameplay is smooth, and the joy of kicking in doors with your ASCII-generated leg never gets old.

I found Illuminascii pretty tough at first, often running out of ammo and getting overwhelmed by strangely-named enemies. My frequent deaths were tempered by the small joy of receiving a detailed record of my small successes, however. Rest eternal in Valhalla, Rebecca the enchanted golem comedian. Your death did not go unnoticed.


Above: Illuminascii details your successes and failures each time you die.

Image Credit: Dan Crawley

Brighton points out that you really need to conserve your ammo to succeed in Illuminascii. “The game is supposed to be moderately difficult,” he told me. “There is a learning curve and conservation of resources is encouraged. A lot of the random generation means you are subject to the whims of the random number generator. Some runs will be better than others.”

Look for it: Brighton says he’s adding additional levels to the game, along with additional enemies and story elements. He’s hoping to release Illuminascii in mid-2015. You can vote for it on Steam Greenlight.

For more info: DDD Wares

This is the fifth of 10 selections from our “Pitch us in one Tweet” contest. You can find the rest of our choices by following this tag.

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