6 mad game concepts by kids that actually became games

During the late 90’s, back when I had to ask my Dad’s permission to use the internet and it cost about fifty quid a minute and you had to feed the machine coins and everywhere was fields and everyone knew everyone and you could leave your front door open and linesmen weren’t all women, the only way I could digest gaming news, reviews, features and titbits was through the medium of print.

One of my favourites was Computer & Video Games Magazine (CVG). It was a great magazine overall, but one section that I really loved was called 'Melting Pot', where readers sent in their game ideas, usually accompanied by highly-detailed concept art.

Above: The creative Melting Pot section, as it appeared in CVG Magazine back in the day

I fancied having a peek at these again so I went digging into the internet with my web-shovel and unearthed the old magazines, helpfully scanned and uploaded onto www.retromags.com. To my astonishment I noticed several ideas that were strikingly similar to games released a couple of years later and even some that soundeda lotlikegames from the current generation.

Here are six examples that I think bear the most resemblance to real-life games.

The concept: Wasp (Third Person Shoot ‘Em Up)
Sounds a lot like:Mr Moskeeto/Mister Mosquito (Third Person Suck ‘Em Up)

Here’s the idea in its original form:

So, apart from the fact the protagonist is a mosquito and he doesn’t fire missiles like wasps do (apparently), I would say this was pretty darn similar to Mr Moskeeto. It’s even 'totally interactive' just like young Ste had envisioned. Humans in Mr Moskeeto will fight back if you get caught biting them and the game is set in a 'house and garden' JUST like Micro-Machines!Oh and here’s the highly detailed concept art to go with it:

Actually, this looks better than Mr Moskeeto.

The concept: Sim Allotment (allotment sim)
Sounds a lot like: Farmville (farming sim)

Here's the idea in its original form:

If only young Jonathan Magnet had bigger ambitions and didn’t just target the older generation he seems so keen to snag, he’d have a global sensation like Farmville on his muddy hands. He’d be able to expand the series with sequels such as Sim Farm, Sim Plantation and then probably a prequel, going back to basics, back to the roots of the original - Sim Shed.

Why would you want to encourage old people to get into video games? From a financial point of view it’s a dead market, or dying, at least. I like that he calls potatoes “sim potatoes” as well. I guess that’s so old people don’t get confused, waste all their pension money on this game and ultimately starve to death. Oh dear, it’s gone bleak. I’ll stop now. Here’s an old man who iswicked good at gamesand loves them lots, just to balance it out.

The concept: Inter-Time Death Bandit Smasher (FPS with time-travel)
Sounds a lot like: TimeShift and Singularity (FPS with time-travel)

Here's the idea in its original form:

This was a really good idea and even though TimeShift and Singularity don’t quite let you have as much freedom as young Ed’s idea suggests it’s still eerily similar. Perhaps Ed had a time machine and went to the future and saw these games for himself? Who knows? Although if he did have a time machine, then going to the future just to see a couple of games, one that was mediocre at best and one that was better but largely overlooked, would be a complete waste of… time. Ha.

The concept: School Yard Scraps (3D school-based fighting game)
Sounds a lot like: Bully/Canis Canem Edit (3D school-based sandbox with *some* fighting)

Here's the idea in its original form:

Ok, so the idea is principal-ly a fighting game but you can imagine this being the seed that grew into a fully formed game such as Bully. I liked the idea of different types of teachers having different special moves and weapons. I also think the selectable characters is a brilliant idea as I’ve always wanted to be a school caretaker, I mean, who hasn’t, right? All those keys. All that power. All those mop heads and brown overcoats. Perhaps the guys over at Wendholt & Barnes can school Rockstar in some additions to the next Bully game.

The concept: Super Wars: The Battle of The Hypermen (Customisable Superhero online action game)
Sounds a lot like: City of Heroes/Villians, Champions Online, DC Universe Online (Superhero MMO)

Here's the idea in its original form:

Unwieldy title aside, this submission had a lot of cool ideas that crop up in the superhero MMO’s that are currently on the market. I wouldn’t say this is a wholly original idea as it’s quite general, which is evident by the fact that there are three big games already out there. It’s probably just been bouncing around for years, waiting for the technology to catch up to it. I stuck this one on my list because it was one I remember reading and getting absurdly excited about.

Just the thought of possibly playing a game like this in the future made me fill with glee and tremble with happiness… Saying that I haven’t even bothered to play them yet, my 12 year old self would be furious! I wonder if Mr Guise has played DC Universe Online and if it lives up to his high expectations? Not sure any of the real games feature Erectile Man or Star Tits though, so he may be disappointed.

The concept: Assassination (Assassin Sim, Assassim?)
Sounds a lot like: Hitman, Assassins Creed (Hitman Sim, Assassim)

Here's the idea in its original form:

Again, quite a tenuous one this as it’s such a general idea, but the assassin genre is still one of my favourites and I actually remember reading this and wishing there would be a game like this and now there are two great ones out there! Yay!

The original idea still sounds grittier than any of its real-life counterparts, especially if it involves killing your local MP, which seems a bit too ruthless really… What could a local MP do to deserve this? Unless they change recycling day and don’t notify anyone in which case they deserve to be riddled with bullets!

And here's one I made earlier

I always wanted to send in my own ideas but I couldn't think of a good enough idea, luckily I’m now in the position to fulfil a childhood dream and have my idea appear on the prestigious GamesRadar.com. So here goes…

Kinect Stare-Out: Eyes of Steel (Stare sim)

Using the technology of the Kinect I have designed a game that would be perfect for it. It’s a stare-out sim that is online and is 1v1 and is awesome and has high-scores and is online. You stare into the camera and using the high-tech facial recognition it can tell if you blink or not.

You would play your friends and games will last as long as you can keep your eyes open. You compete until one of you becomes the “Staremaster”. Also maybe at a later date there would be DLC allowing three-way triple threat stare-outs with three people, yes three! Also there will be customisable backgrounds like woods or golf course or a forest. BEST GAME EVAR! LOL.

Not all the ideas were as prophetic as these - some were terrible like Spice Girls Strip Poker or Pets Win Prizes: The Game. Then there werejust downright sick ones, like a game where you play a surgeon who must kill his patients and make it look like an accident called No Nurse, I Said Prick His Boil.

I’m sure there any many young budding game developers out there, so why not share your ideas below and who knows, if you’re lucky you may end up in a retrospective article such as this in 10 years time!

January 26th 2011