Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design

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September 11th, 2006

Game Idea #37: Firefight

This week’s idea is one I’ve been kicking around for awhile now…

High Concept:

Join the elite ranks of the local fire department. You are your community’s first line of defense against fires and natural disasters. Work with your team of firefighters and emergency workers to fight fires and save lives.


Nintendo Wii

Why it needs to be made:

I really like the idea of a man-versus-nature action game. And the mechanics of firefighting sound like they could really work well with the unique abilities of the Wii controller.


As a firefighter it’s your job to be the first on the scene of disasters. You rush into a burning building, smoke billowing out from all of the windows. You see flames roaring in front of you…. use the Wii pointer to aim at the fire and unleash a blast of water from your firehose. You push forward towards cries for help, but there’s a locked door in your way. Trade your hose for an axe… and swing your controller to chop down the door. As the smoke clears, you see a passed out woman on the ground in front of you.

You grab the woman, and rush out of the building… dodging burning pieces of ceiling as they fall from above, and leaping over holes in the floor. You reach the window, and hand the woman off to your teammate, who takes her down to the ground level. You meet up with them just in time to begin performing CPR. Push down on the woman’s chest (again with the controller) to start her heart beating again…

The woman comes to just as the rest of your team is getting the other survivors out of the building, and into the able hands of the waiting ambulances and crisis teams.

Why it will be fun:

Everyone likes to feel heroic, and a firefighter is a real-life hero that is very prevalent in our society and day-to-day lives. Some of the fun is simple: like the fantasy of driving a firetruck through a city with the siren blaring. But some of it isn’t so simple: having someone thank you for saving their life… that’s rewarding.

Final thoughts:

While I didn’t consciously make the decision to hold onto it for this long, Firefight turned out to be an appropriate game idea for September 11th.

7 Responses to “Game Idea #37: Firefight”

  1. TheSeer commented:
    posted September 12th, 2006 at 5:21 am

    Can’t find it at the moment but I think there was a published firefighting game that even had sequels. I’ll get back to you ;)

  2. Michael Chui commented:
    posted September 12th, 2006 at 10:45 am

    There is definitely a firefighting arcade game: your controller is a fat nozzle and it’s 1P or 2P. You’re mostly hosing down the burning building within X minutes/seconds. I never actually played it, but I watched some friends do so at Dave & Buster’s.

  3. Patrick commented:
    posted September 13th, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    Yes, Sega put out an arcade firefighting game called “Brave Firefighters” in the late-90s. I didn’t play it much, but I remember liking the concept back then. I think it’s a setting that deserves a second look, and with the Wiimote maybe something innovative could be done. I really like the idea of swinging the controller to swing the fireman’s axe. :-)

  4. Christopher commented:
    posted September 15th, 2006 at 9:59 am

    All I can think of when I hear this is that firefighting minigame in warioware!

    Actually, I think this is a cool idea. I am a little confused on how it works though. Is this a full FPS with freelook and free movement? Or is it on rails like, say, house of the dead?
    It sounds like the former, but I feel like you lose a large part of your casual audience if you go this route. Maybe its more of a cross between the two like Killer 7?

  5. Patrick commented:
    posted September 17th, 2006 at 1:44 am

    I don’t think a game about firefighting would be fun without choice. Do you try to put out all the fire at first, or do you run through the room? Do you head for the exit or take one more look around to make sure there’s not someone passed out in the next room? So I’d definitely want to let the player choose where to go, and when to do it…

    But I agree that having full free-look and free-movement might be a bit much for players, especially if you want them to use the Wiimote (which will be very new to all of us). Instead of being 100% on rails, I think you could do a hybrid control scheme that feels more natural than Killer 7, yet more simple than your run-of-the-mill FPS.

    But it’s the kind of thing that would need to be prototyped like crazy to get just right. :-)

  6. Fletch commented:
    posted January 7th, 2007 at 2:50 am

    This sounds like one of the most promising ideas I’ve heard here so far. I think that provided plenty of direction for the player, a free roaming First-Third Person action game wouldn’t be out of the question. You could move around in third person until you need to use a tool like the axe, the hose, an extinguisher, a respirator mask, jaws of life, pneumatic saw, etc.

    Where a firefighter relies on training and instinct to guide them through the best way to fight a fire and rescue people from the building, a player doesn’t have such skills - hence, the guidance given by the game would need to be pretty good.

    Completely awesome concept, I would love to see this on the Wii.

  7. Alexis commented:
    posted March 21st, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    i have seen something VERY similar at chuck e. cheese!! it is a good idea.. but i think some of your others are better! ;)

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