If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you might be aware that I’ve spent the last little while working on something that involved wiring bananas into my computer.
I’m now ready to announce that the thing in question was Bananarchy, an arcade shooter controlled entirely with two real bananas (or a regular keyboard or touchscreen, just in case you lack the hardware necessary to generate keystrokes using fresh fruit). You play as Hitcan – Agent 57 – and must use twin banana pistols to shoot down ever increasing swarms of flies that converge upon your precious pink donut.
I came up with this project as a submission for EGX’s Leftfield Collection, as they’re particularly interested in games that use alternative controllers and who doesn’t like bananaguns? If it’s accepted you’ll be able to play it at the ExCeL Center in London from the 17th to 20th of October 2019. If not, I’ll probably still cobble together a version to take to DIY Southampton and whatnot.
The game itself is entirely playable, and I’ve got builds for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and a version that’ll run in a web browser. I’m planning to add extras such as powerups and multiple enemy types (I’m thinking ants, beetles, and possibly wasps) but the main thing that could do with some work is the controllers. Currently they consist entirely of a strip of foil taped to a banana, with both foil and banana loosely connected to a Makey Makey using crocodile clips. When you touch the foil, a current runs through your finger and into the banana that you’re holding, which the Makey Makey interprets as a key press. If I’m going to set up any kind of public demo, I’ll want a more elegant method of hooking up the bananas and probably some kind of nice, durable box to keep all the electronics tidy.
Because the game is only finished to the extent necessary to submit to the Leftfield Collection, I’m not yet ready to share a playable version. However, I would like to share this banana bread that I made using the controller bananas after they went a bit brown.
The final thing to mention would be that the game features music by Liam Hayes – specifically I Hate Me and another track called “Waltz the Problem” – while all the other sounds you hear are me making gross mouth noises into a condenser microphone. I think I ended up using just over a second’s worth of audio out of more than three minutes’ worth of recording.
When I’m happy the game is in a finished state, I’ll be releasing it for all the platforms I’ve got working so far and also providing instructions on how to make your own banana controllers: you can do it with less than £10 worth of materials, though you will have to swap in new bananas from time to time.