Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design


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July 16th, 2006

Game Idea #29: Bike Messenger Mike

Can you have a sequel to a game that doesn’t exist yet?

High Concept:

After taking a particularly nasty spill down the mountainside, our hero Mike has decided to take a nice safe job in the city – as a bike messenger! Bike Messenger Mike is all about speeding through the city, dodging traffic, and making those deliveries in the nick of time! But lookout, the game has a message hidden in there too…

Platform:

Home Console

Why it needs to be made:

The message in Bike Messenger Mike is simple: ride a bike instead of driving a car. I’d like to show that biking is a real alternative to driving a car, but also use the game as a way to teach some really simple bike-safety and bike-courtesy to gamers. Think it’s too hot outside to ride a bike? It’s only going to get hotter if you keep driving that Hummer around!

Description:

Bike Messenger Mike begins with what all modern game ideas begin with: an open city environment. The game is set in a particularly crowded, traffic-jam prone city (take your pick of which one), and the local residents and merchants are starting to get sick of it. You play as Mike, who’s recently relocated and started his own business: a bike messenger service!

The game is made up of a series of delivery jobs: you get a call on your cell saying to pick up a package at one business and then rush it over to another. It’s up to you to pick your route through the city, avoid getting hit by a car, and make the drop in time. You can accept or decline jobs based on if you’re in the area, if you need the cash, or if you want to support that particular business. Maybe you decide you like the idea of flyering for the local neighborhood coffee shop, but aren’t really into delivering the blue-prints for the new mega-mark being built downtown.

As you play the game you learn the ins and outs of the city, you learn the traffic patterns and tricks to getting around really quickly. In super-heavy traffic you can zip in-between the cars in gridlock, or take your bike with you on the subway to practically “teleport” somewhere else. Getting around quickly is the key, but if you get caught riding on the sidewalk (or worse – running over a pedestrian) you’ll be fined.

Why it will be fun:

Riding your bike around the city is fun in real-life, and I think that would translate well into the game. There’s something really rewarding about passing people who are stuck in traffic. There’s just a sense of freedom that goes along with it. And it could be really rewarding to see some positive change in your community based on your decisions about how you run your business.

Final thoughts:

It’s still really hot outside… I wanted to post a concept that was somehow environmentally-friendly and I stumbled across this “sequel” to Mountain Bike Mike… and well… it wrote itself.


5 Responses to “Game Idea #29: Bike Messenger Mike”

  1. wierzbicki commented:
    posted July 17th, 2006 at 2:39 pm

    its like paperboy…but better! i love this idea

  2. PinkQueen commented:
    posted August 1st, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    I really like the idea of having a bicycle “GTA”-style game. With a totally accessible world and limitless options, there are a million different game-play options.
    Bike enthusiasts galore will also appreciate the rules of the road that are taught by the game. One might not jump up and buy a new bicycle (with the money that they won off of a bet, or something), but that person might become a much more courteous driver around bicyclists.

  3. Barak commented:
    posted August 14th, 2006 at 12:12 am

    Hey, I had a similar (but less utopian) idea a few months ago. Sorry to plug my own blog here, but it contains not only my visceral description of riding a bike in Midtown Manhattan traffic but also my naive non-gamer notions for a bike messenger video game.

    link

  4. Fletch commented:
    posted January 7th, 2007 at 7:08 am

    Sounds like Crazy taxi and GTA slowed WAAAAAAAAAY down. And with less guns and running over people.

    I like it! :D

  5. Yesh commented:
    posted March 5th, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Courier Crisis on the PS1. Same principle, dunno if it ever got published, but it got to demo stage on Playstation Official Magazine.


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