I’m amazed that I didn’t write about this sooner.

Two years ago at PAX, I took second place at the Pitch Your Game Idea contest with a game called “Pinch.”   I fleshed out the idea further for an assignment, and thought I’d share with you here.

I ultimately want to make this game for either the PC or for a mobile device. I’ve made a short video demonstrating three of the most simple puzzles in the game; the solutions to these puzzles will be discovered as the player learns the controls.

The game is called “Pinch.” It is a 2D side-scrolling platform game that uses an environment manipulation element similar to the pinch filter in PhotoShop. By clicking or touching a certain point on the screen, the player can “pinch” then environment. If, for example, the player needs to create a hole in the ground, a click under the ground can be used to bend it downward. If a platform is too tall, a pinch between the platform and the ground can have the double effect of raising the ground and bending the platform down.

The story shown below will appear for the player as he/she progresses through the first levels.

Chapter 1

Dash knew what he wanted to do. He was a great planner, and always thought into the future. He was horrible at living in the moment, though. Given enough time, he could effectively prepare for anything, but when it came to the pinch, he froze. He didn’t always fail; he simply froze. With both eyes on the destination, he didn’t have an eye left to find the path toward that destination.

Dash was afraid.

Some professions allow people to succeed by just getting by, but Dash’s was not one of them. Success in his field required dedication, constant work, and sacrifice. When it came to the pinch, he had to stand firm, knowing that his way was the correct way. What if he failed? What if he was wrong? Dash feared these questions, and could not find an acceptable answer. In addition to fear, though, Dash felt something else.

Dash was ashamed.

He wanted the respect of his peers and family, and none of them respected what he wanted to do. So he attended a respectable school and learned a respectable trade. He got a respectable job, an earned respectable degrees. He found his studies to be easy, and earned respectable grades. When he was done, part of him wanted to go back to his original field. But when it came to the pinch, he soon discovered another sensation.

Dash was comfortable.

Dash looked back with regret, wondering how things could have been different. He wanted to break into his original field, but he had too much invested in his respectable life. Dash was lost. He didn’t lose his way recently; he lost it the day he decided to leave his passion for a “respectable” job. He lamented this decision, and wished for a way to go back take back what he had lost; to return to that first pinch.