Postmortem - The more hair you have...

We’d like to share with you some insights about our Ludum Dare 40 entry "The more hair you have…" If you feel like playing this short HTML5 game, you can do it on the game’s page before we start with spoilers :D You can also find us on the LDjam site.

Let’s begin talking about the jam’s theme: "The more you have, the worse it is". At first we were working with many straightforward interpretations of the theme, but suddenly we got to this one about women’s hair and we found it really interesting. It’s still a literal interpretation of the more - the worse, but we could alter it in-game in order to negate its original meaning. So it was something quite simple, but with a twist. Also, we like games with some content about social issues, and thought that this was a great opportunity.

We chose a flat visual style. Something functional to make sure that every player gets it, but at the same time pleasing for the eye. Main character’s design was made very carefully: we wanted an average girl, neither skinny nor fat, neither tall nor short, and definitely not hyper-sexualized. You may argue that she is a white girl, and that’s not representative of course, but we made it for a reason: we needed high contrast between skin and hair. As body hair is core in our game, it must be easily seen. Anyway, we know that maybe there was a better way to solve this issue. On the other hand, for secondary characters we have 3 skin tones that spawn randomly in-game.

These people are the ones who shout at the girl because of her body hair. As you can see, they don’t have neither eyes nor hands, and their heads and bodies are square-shaped. That’s because we wanted to depict them as closed-mind characters with very poor emotional and social features. Moreover, you’ll notice that some guys have got chest hair: that’s true hipocrisy, folks ;)

The tweezers are a key element in the game. The player is forced to use them, as they’re the only element that can be directly controlled. Moreover, the game’s visual language tells the player to use them in a particular way, that is, to pluck the girl’s hair. However, the truth is that the player can choose not to follow the game’s instructions and "pluck off" all those jerks instead of her hair.

The core idea of the game is to get over the common prejudices related to women’s hair. It is not a call to stop plucking your hair, but rather a statement to say that even when the rules are so clear, they can always be questioned, and eventually defeated.

Although the gameplay is not very complex, there are several possible playthroughs depending on what kind of player you are. If you target the jerks as soon as they appear, you’ll get to the ending soon. But if your first response is to pluck her hair, you’ll notice a shadow that is slowly covering the girl’s body. The shadow gets darker whenever there is someone shouting at the girl. If you remove her hair completely and all the jerks leave, the shadow will stop darkening, but it will only get brighter if you actively use the tweezers against them. With this feature we wanted to represent the girl’s self-esteem, that gets damaged not by her body, but by other people’s judgements.

If you keep plucking, eventually the help tip will appear on the screen in order to give you some clues about the ultimate goal of the game. Below you can see the help text on the left and the ending text on the right.

We’re not going to talk very much about programming because the game is pretty simple in that aspect. Just say that it was made with the awesome Phaser Engine, and that the source code is available at github.

Well, that’s all! Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to play it if you have not already done so!

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