200th Game Review Special, Part 2: Full Yellow Jacket

Because the associated grades are smack dab in the middle of my grading scale, yellow scores are probably the most diverse when it comes my stance on recommending them. While a 4/10 would be an unlikely recommendation at best, a 6/10 is effectively an honorable mention. Remember that, unlike what you may have experienced in school, 5/10 is average on my scale. Anyway, here are the games that, for all intents and purposes, neither passed nor failed.

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Jumper Two

Fledging independent game developer Maddy Thorson made her first significant mark on the medium in February of 2004 in the form of Jumper. Though not quite her debut effort, it was the first one she felt worth mentioning in retrospect. This minimalization of the platforming games she grew up with was highly praised in the independent circuit. Shortly after the release of Jumper, she teamed up with another Game Maker-user who went by the name Dex. The game that resulted from their collaboration, Dim, drew a lot of inspiration from Jumper while also giving its protagonist the ability to hop between dimensions in a manner reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. This game also found an audience and would be referenced in later editions of the Jumper level editor. As Ms. Thorson gained more experience programming, she used what he learned to fine tune the physics in Jumper and create a sequel. This game, simply entitled Jumper Two, was released in June of 2004 – a mere four months after the release of the original. Being her third game in the span of a year, what does Jumper Two bring to the table?

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Jumper

Jumper

On November 15, 1999, Dutch computer scientist Mark Overmars released a piece of software named Animo. It was a graphics tool that featured limited visual scripting capabilities. Within the next few years, the tool was renamed GameMaker to reflect its specific purpose. Before the internet age, creation tools such as Mr. Overmars’s were difficult to get ahold of. You either had to specifically go out and buy them or work for a big-name developer. However, with advent of the internet, people could distribute such software far more easily. Therefore, it was no coincidence that when the internet became commonplace, gaming began cultivating an independent scene.

One of the people who utilized Mr. Overmars’s GameMaker program was one Maddy Thorson. Going by the e-handle YoMamasMama, she began making games as early as 2002. After finishing her first game, The Encryption, in 2003, she moved onto a new project: Jumper. She completed the game in February of 2004 at the age of sixteen. Though not a viral success like Cave Story, which was released in the same year, Jumper managed to find an audience and is considered an admirable freeware title. Speaking retrospectively on his website, Ms. Thorson would consider Jumper the first game she was truly satisfied with. Was Jumper a strong debut for a budding indie developer?

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