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Cart #24452 | 2016-07-03 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Play as Max the Sax and keep your solo alive for as long as you can against an unending barrage of trumpets in a cutthroat underground jazz club.

This is the first full game I've made in PICO-8, and really my first completed game period. It's an arcade game that procedurally generates music based on how you play. There's a blues mode and a bebop mode (bebop mode let's you play faster but it's also more difficult). High scores and unlocks are saved if you download the cartridge. Instructions are in game!

Also for anyone interested, the source code with version history is up on my github page here.

Edit: the music desyncs really badly on the web player, so I'd recommend downloading the cartridge to play it!

P#24453 2016-07-03 15:44 ( Edited 2018-02-25 14:45)

Congratulations on your first game, it's absolutely fantastic!
I really dig the music. ^^

P#24460 2016-07-03 16:25 ( Edited 2016-07-03 20:25)

Really great!

I'm not sure you should allow the player to hold down the button though?

P#24478 2016-07-03 18:49 ( Edited 2016-07-03 22:49)

Thanks for the feedback! Holding down the button is intentional, it's equivalent to "blowing" into the horn. The notes only come out with the beat (plus on swing eighths), so tapping can cause you to miss notes if you're not on the beat. Holding uses up breath faster though, so there are some tradeoffs.

I may clarify the instructions to make it more clear that it's supposed to be "hold x to play notes".

P#24559 2016-07-04 15:54 ( Edited 2016-07-04 19:55)

Aha! Now I see.

P#24584 2016-07-04 19:43 ( Edited 2016-07-04 23:43)

This game is incredible! It's got that rhythm element (although tapping to the beat isn't quite necessary to play the game), it's got catchy music and it's got a touch of levity and humor to it. I can't get enough. xD

P#24734 2016-07-06 15:20 ( Edited 2016-07-06 19:20)

Fun game! Hilarious!

P#24736 2016-07-06 16:27 ( Edited 2016-07-06 20:27)

this is amazing!
i love the jazz humor (i am a big fan of jazz)
i am just blown away at how cool of an idea this is
the people in the background are great
lady bassist yesss
this has to be the most accurate digital simulation of being an underground jazz saxophonist ever created

P#25469 2016-07-17 19:26 ( Edited 2016-07-17 23:26)

This may be my favorite pico game to date.

P#25571 2016-07-19 17:53 ( Edited 2016-07-19 21:53)

As a jazz musician, I really dig this game!

Are the notes chosen randomly according to the scale, or is there any additional set of rules? I think there's got to be a way of integrating solo construction into the game.

P#25718 2016-07-22 09:54 ( Edited 2016-07-22 14:31)

Synth_dfr: the notes are randomly selected from the scale, but they're biased towards either chord tones or passing tones, with a slight penalty for any big jumps. The biasing happens for a few different cases. For example, anything on the beat gets a larger bias towards a chord tone, triplets get more bias for passing tones, and pickup notes are uniformly random. That's about as far as I got. Anything beyond linking to the previous note gets a bit tricky since you don't know when the player is going to stop, but I'm open to ideas!

kittenm4ster: the bassist is my favorite! If you look closely, she moves her hand up and down the strings with the flow of the bassline.

P#25795 2016-07-23 19:54 ( Edited 2016-07-23 23:54)

Very cool. I love the progress messages that the band and audience shout.

(Definitely plays better on standalone Pico-8 than webplayer.)

P#25798 2016-07-23 21:32 ( Edited 2016-07-24 01:32)

This game brings me so much joy and it is my favorite Pico 8 cart yet for so many reasons. I'm thankful for your brain and the delight that you have created with it. I've been playing it for 15 minutes straight just cracking up and taking it all in.

P#26888 2016-08-14 03:36 ( Edited 2016-08-14 07:36)

This is the greatest game ever! I love how simple the concept and mechanics are and yet somehow, it really makes you feel like a trumpet dodging, heat blowing jazz man! How is it possible?!


P#26920 2016-08-14 17:55 ( Edited 2016-08-14 22:26)

Thank you for this awesome game example! This was my first Pico-8 game I played after buying it and i was literally laughing out loud with delight when I realized what was going on. Great job! I love the music programming (very inspiring) and the animations are nice too.

I have begun working on a music game myself, but i'm getting stuck on the sound sync issue. i'm trying to do rhythm matching and its got to match the beat!

P#31510 2016-10-22 23:19 ( Edited 2016-10-23 03:19)


P#31512 2016-10-22 23:23 ( Edited 2016-10-23 03:23)

Love the randomly generated music as you attack.

P#31520 2016-10-23 02:51 ( Edited 2016-10-23 06:51)

gcentauri: it's always nice to see more music games! I found that syncing sound can be pretty unforgiving in Pico-8. In my case the gameplay causes the sounds and so the player doesn't have to perform any inputs with the rhythm. I got kind of lucky because if the sound comes out a bit late then the sax player is just playing laid-back blues or bebop :)

The best I could do to resync the music was to break the song up into small pieces and call each piece based on a counter in the update loop. I'm not sure it'd be enough for matching input to the rhythm. I remember a few carts that read the memory to find out what sounds are currently playing, which might be the key to really accurate sound syncing.

P#31821 2016-10-26 10:12 ( Edited 2016-10-26 14:12)

This game is really well made in all aspects--graphics, animation, sound and the gameplay itself are all top notch--plus ridiculously fun. Fantastic job!

P#31832 2016-10-26 14:07 ( Edited 2016-10-26 18:07)

Innovation in gamedesign, top notch:)

P#49659 2018-02-25 09:45 ( Edited 2018-02-25 14:45)

The blues song hits hard for the new version can you add a free song mode where you can play the song with out running out of the blue bar and without getting hit by trumpets

P#87812 2021-02-17 20:50

This turned out to be really hard to play because I kept getting distracted by trying to make the solo sound good - cool work!

P#87820 2021-02-17 23:13

This game is so polished <3 Bravo!

P#87825 2021-02-18 01:18

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