Jostle Bastard: Memory Lane

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Monsters, Aliens, and Holes in the Ground

It is easy to forget that games don’t spring forth fully formed, like Minerva from the head of Jupiter. That isn’t true, though. Games, unlike most other mediums, are constantly changing, like a snake perpetually shedding its skin. Every version is called a build.

There are thousands of builds for Jostle Bastard.

In terms of scale, it isn’t a game on par with Skyrim or Red Dead Redemption, and yet, there are thousands of iterations that chart its evolution from inception to completion. Every meaningful change to the game spawns a new build. Some seem hardly changed, others are hardly recognizable.

For something as massive as an open world game, with development cycles lasting years, builds could number in the hundreds of thousands or more. And yet, unlike rough cuts of movies or first drafts of novels, we only rarely see early builds of videogames. In fact, unless you already work in the game industry, you probably have only the fuzziest notion of what a build might be. And how can you really understand a thing if you don’t know how it is made?

Thankfully, Pippin Barr has raised the veil for us, providing a cross section of 48 playable builds that chart the most important and interesting moments in the development of Jostle Bastard, complete with context-providing annotations.

(To play the builds, click on the box and use the arrow keys to move. Except for Build 1, that one doesn’t do much)

Build 1
This is the very first prototype of Jostle Bastard. It’s a little bare bones, I just wanted to get the sprite on screen. The avatar doesn’t move! Good start! (The game is written in Haxe using the Haxeflixel library.)

Game, Games, Playable