Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design

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April 30th, 2006

Game Idea #18: Go Nuts!

With E3 coming up it’s a wonder I remembered to post a weekly game idea… much less actually write one. But somehow I managed. Enjoy!

High Concept:

Go Nuts! is an open-world game with a twist: instead of being some guy exploring some city, you’re a squirrel, exploring a single neighborhood block in a dense urban area. See the world you thought you knew through the eyes of a small, furry, agile, and dare I say, sneaky little critter!


Next-gen home console

Why it needs to be made:

I really like the idea of playing with the player’s perspective on things. Sometimes you can show a situation from a different narrative angle, and sometimes from a different emotional angle. Go Nuts! would show a very familiar world to the player from a very different physical angle.


In Go Nuts! you play as a squirrel exploring a small urban area. You aren’t an exaggerated, anthropomorphized squirrel like you see in cartoons; you’re a fairly realistic squirrel who does realistic squirrel things. You run around, you climb trees, you sneak into hard to reach places, and most importantly, you collect nuts!

Much as the name would suggest, nuts are the key ingredient to the game. The various hard-shelled nuts you find all around the neighborhood are your food, your currency, and your “ammunition.” Eating nuts will restore some of your health after a nasty fall, while stashing nuts away in one of your hiding places will score you points. You can also throw the nuts you collect at other animals to keep them away from you and your stash, at traps to set them off, and at breakable objects (like attic windows).

Moving around in Go Nuts! is one of the major attractions. As a squirrel you can move around in the world in a number of fast, fun ways. You can quickly scamper along the ground, rooftops, and tree-branches; you can scale most vertical surfaces, like walls and tree trunks; and you can leap far distances from branch to branch or roof to roof. Go Nuts! is a “realistic platformer” in many ways.

But the game isn’t all nuts and tree-climbing. There are plenty of foes to avoid in the neighborhood. Besides competing squirrels, there are also pesky birds, feisty cats, hungry dogs, curious toddlers, and of course the squirrel’s natural enemy: the automobile. Luckily you’re super nimble, but sometimes you’ll have to use your brain and your nuts to get out of trouble.

Why it will be fun:

Squirrels are just so darn cute. Who wouldn’t want to run around as a squirrel? And just in case that wasn’t enough for you, I think that combining really agile movement gameplay with a realistic urban setting could be really fun, especially if there were fifty well-hidden golden nuts to find. And then the fact that you can try to scurry down chimneys and into the crawl-spaces of peoples’ homes is just the icing on the cake.

Final thoughts:

Go Nuts! is a game idea that Erin and I pretty much came up with together. We were sitting on a park bench watching some squirrels play, and it just looked like fun to be one of them. Then the other day I literally ran into a squirrel as I was walking to work, and seeing him dash away and up a tree sealed the deal: this would be the game idea for the week.

4 Responses to “Game Idea #18: Go Nuts!”

  1. BJ commented:
    posted May 1st, 2006 at 11:42 am

    All I’m saying is … GO NUTS!

  2. Patrick commented:
    posted May 14th, 2006 at 1:38 am

    I love that shirt.

  3. Joel commented:
    posted June 15th, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    I would love to see this game made. I loved SimAnt in how you were in a real life backyard. This game has so many possibilities!

  4. The Mighty Doof commented:
    posted June 17th, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    OOOH!!! A great unlockable character would be a sugar glider!! (Flying squirrel)

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