When the Netflix show Stranger Things came out, we all fell in love with it immediately. The pure 80s kid adventure appeal hit on a lot of the best memories we had as kids from that decade: role playing, bike riding, science class, rotary phones, monsters, and chocolate pudding.
We knew we wanted to build something that existed in this awesome nostalgia-laden universe and reached for what comes naturally to our group, making games. We ended up creating an entire Alternate Reality Game revolving around the world of Stranger Things. Our favorite part of the ARG ended up being an 80s arcade style game we've titled 11 Hunter. The game is an homage to the 1983 arcade game Spy Hunter. We wanted to be sure to pick a type of game that would have been around at the time the show took place.
80s Game Mashup
Much like the show, rather than copy anything directly, we wanted to show the influence of the 1980s on the game. Riffing on the gameplay from Spy Hunter, user interface design of games like Duck Hunt, and cut scenes reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden, we put together something that felt unique, yet familiar.
Proto vs. Polished
11 Hunter was actually built twice. We quickly threw together a prototype of the game in Unity with very rough art and no sounds or cutscenes in about two days. This allowed us to test the game quickly and figure out what we liked about the gameplay and what we wanted to change. After the prototype, we shifted into GameMaker Studio as we liked its HTML5 export support better, especially since the game was 2D and didn't need the extra bloat of Unity's 3D code. Another week was needed to get new and refined artwork, sounds, and gameplay flourishes in place that made it feel even more authentic.
Kids On Bikes
For quite a few of us, the 80s meant going on bike rides. This is such a big deal in the show and to us, that we decided to make it the premise of the game. Now go take a ride with Mike and Eleven in 11 Hunter.