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Hello all, this is My First PICO-8 Game™︎ and therefore My First BBS Cart Upload™︎™︎, hopefully I've done it right.

Cart #unchecked_8-4 | 2023-08-25 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Unchecked-8 is a slight twist on the classic spike-jumping, maze exploration platformer. There are simply 10 stars to collect. Once you figure out how it works, I estimate it takes 15-30 minutes?

I wanted to dive into PICO-8, make something reasonably small, and actually release it - so I chose a remake/demake of my own short game Unchecked (previously existed in Flash and Basic). I like this so much it's now the canonical version of this game!

I first put it up on itch.io, because it had some HTML player customizations and also to hide My First P8/Lua Code™︎™︎™︎
but now, with a minor update to the game, and the 0.2.3 release of P8 (with Lucky Draw!) I wanted to share it on the BBS :)


P#97038 2021-09-08 02:46 ( Edited 2023-08-25 02:45)


fun stuff!

I haven't seen a game where the distance from checkpoint effects gameplay like that!

P#97041 2021-09-08 07:04

i love how you just trademarked my first pico 8 game and my first BBS post 😂

P#97059 2021-09-08 17:21

Also wow! The mechanics are pretty interesting, and seem like they would open up for pretty good level design tbh. The graphics are pretty simple, which i have no problems with, and this is really cool for first pico 8 game! (even though you just ported an old game of yours to p8 haha)

P#97060 2021-09-08 17:25

eu estou jogando esse jogo a horas, é muito legal e complicado ao mesmo tempo, ainda não terminei ;-;, falta só 3 estrelas

P#97088 2021-09-09 00:49

This is fun and AMAZING!

P#97097 2021-09-09 12:20

Odd there's a unknown ext_cmd at the start

P#97103 2021-09-09 14:51

@SmellyFishstiks - Thanks! Two possible inspirations were Braid (time affected by distance from the placed ring) and Terry Cavanagh's Fountain (Flash game, no longer playable?) a top-down explorer where the farther you wander from the central fountain, I think you lost more health or stamina.

@ThaCuber - Right, the graphics were intentionally simple to limit the scope. Same with the music, the last thing I added. (I love tossing around trademark symbols.)

@ZadGhoul - Obrigado! I hope some people get all 10 stars. I know which one I consider most difficult...

@OCISGRAT - Thanks!

@HouseinTheTrees - Yeah, that's the ext_cmd that sets the window title text. It works in the compiled binaries. And in the HTML player it does not display an error. Only in this BBS upload(???)

P#97126 2021-09-10 02:20

@touk "I know which one I consider most difficult..."

The one where you have to do a precise min jump over a checkpoint where failing means you have to circumnavigate most of the game again?

This was my second playthrough, the first took 34 minutes. Might be doable in ~6 minutes? Didn't record it, so it's hard to say exactly how much time I lost.

Also, speaking of errors in this bbs version—if you stand still for a little bit, a phantom of the player appears at the top of the screen sometimes. It doesn't seem to affect anything.

P#97143 2021-09-10 08:51 ( Edited 2021-09-10 08:54)

@hahhah42 Nice job!! I think you're the first person to confirm getting all 10/10. Fast time on the replay, too.

I don't know my best time, but it's around 4.5-5.5 minutes. Of course I know all the stars and have practiced all the jumps so much.


Yes, exactly that checkpoint jump and that star! If you bump that checkpoint you have to circle back around perhaps 15 rooms again. I've considered making it easier... maybe I will... but for now I kept it as-is. Such a small obstacle but tricky. Sort of the VVVVVV Veni Vidi Vici of this game.

Actually, a few other jumps/blocks/spikes have been edited since the original Flash/Basic version to make the platforming slightly easier. Because tough jumps aren't supposed to be the focus here!

P#97172 2021-09-10 19:53

@touk, your games are surprisingly complex and well thought out. I've never played a game like this one before. You have my star.

For those confused, hitting the circle is a save-spot, but when you do it becomes sort of like an energy black hole. You cannot jump in the room you touched it, and depending upon how far (in rooms) you are to to it, your energy to jump increases more and more.

The challenge is when you need to jump a particular height to avoid ceiling spikes, then creating this "black hole" becomes a requirement to make sure you have just the right energy level for your jump to get past certain obstacles.

The other challenge is you need to "die" in certain instances to warp back to your last saved spot - so that also adds to the challenge and complexity of the game.

Your goal is to grab all the stars. If you do not move for a moment you will see a ghost appear above you showing your current height in jumping, showing you if your strength is too high or too little to achieve your goal.

P#97177 2021-09-10 21:28 ( Edited 2021-09-10 21:33)

spike stand??

P#97181 2021-09-11 01:39

@BrightBlackHole Yeah, that sort of spike stand is possible. I don't think it breaks the game in any effective way. (If somebody uses that to bypass something, I'd love to see it!) I leaned toward the spike collision being more lenient than aggressive/pixel-perfect.

@dw817 Good summary, I hope you like any future games I make too.

@hahhah42 That vertical phantom of the player is a feature, not a bug. Maybe it was not clearly indicated. @dw817 is right, if you pause briefly it shows you how high your jump will be.

P#97268 2021-09-13 02:38

@touk Ah, I see. That makes sense. Anyway, I came back and completed the game in 3:35:

Regarding the spike-edge trick, the first time I played I spent some time trying to use it to get to that one star we discussed above. I got into the room before it using the trick, but then your jump is too high to use it again because the spikes you can use are at the same height in both rooms. So I gave up on it.

P#97273 2021-09-13 08:13

@hahhah42 That's awesome, I don't ever remember getting below 4:00 myself! You are technically a 1st place world record speedrunner now :)

P#97301 2021-09-14 04:21

Awesome game! I like the concept and the art (even though there basically isn't any)

P#97329 2021-09-15 01:11

The hunched appearance of the protagonist seems fitting for the trouble the poor creature has getting around. There's a lot of personality in those pixels.

Completed it for the first time in 21 minutes, so I think your estimate is good. Are the counters on the right the number of switches and the number of jumps? It would be interesting to see what the optimum route through the game to minimise either of those is, although I'm not about to work it out.

Most of the levels seemed fair, but I died a lot to these particular spikes, even if I tried to carefully step right just enough to avoid them.

If you have any tokens to spare, would it be possible to have known star rooms remain on the map, even if you blank the others each time you hit a switch? I think that would be good for hinting at which stars remain, while keeping the challenge.

P#97961 2021-09-29 04:33

@Cowirrie I posted a speedrun above that had 7 checkpoints & 103 jumps. Looking back at it from a min jumps perspective, I'm pretty sure you could shave at least 6 jumps while following essentially the same route, so it could go down to at least 97. There's a couple other spots I'm not certain about, but still mid 90s either way.

That was the most efficient route I could find, so I don't expect there'd be an alternate route that takes fewer jumps. But I've been wrong about that sort of thing before.

P#97962 2021-09-29 05:22 ( Edited 2021-09-29 05:27)

@Cowirrie Great feedback! Thanks!

  1. Yes, the end stats are Time, Deaths, Checkpoints Hit, and Jumps. I doubt a single run can optimize all 4 stats. For example, intentionally deaths can trim off some time.

  2. Those spikes are probably my #2 biggest annoyance in the game, but unlike my #1 (see @hahhah42 earlier post), they don't pose any unique challenge. They're basically a speedbump to slow you down for no reason. ... Maybe I'll remove those in the small update in progress!

  3. I tried a few functional variations of the mini-map and I liked this the best. BUT I do like your suggestion of always showing known stars. Should be plenty of tokens left to add that. (And it's my first P8/Lua game, so it's not even efficiently coded.)

@hahhah42 's route is probably optimal. The world is only 8x4 rooms and somewhat linear, so there aren't too many possibilities.

Here's a secret for everyone: if you hold X+O for ~3 seconds you can toggle Debug Mode which shows your game stats in realtime.

P#97992 2021-09-29 17:19

I've uploaded a new version 8.2 with a few improvements:

  • minimap now marks any rooms that have known stars (cycling white dots)
  • the jump height indicator "ghost" now flashes if your jump will go above the screen
  • removed one spike block that was not interesting, just annoying (cc @Cowirrie)
  • removed another spike block (purely visual)
  • prevent the "set_title" warning when playing on the BBS

I chose to keep as-is the hardest checkpoint jump, sort of the final boss in this game, the one @hahhah42 mentioned earlier under a Hidden tag. Sorry >:)

P#99538 2021-11-03 03:51

@Neko_Necromancer That spot is where a hypothetical expanded map would be accessible...

It's the kind of game you can play once or twice and trim 80% off your run time :)

P#100931 2021-11-28 06:18

@0xFFFF967F @Neko_Necromancer Nice job, both of you!

@Neko_Necromancer Those colored maps are awesome! I wish I had thought to generate those while making the game. How'd you color and animate them? Modify the P8 code? Export to an image editor?

P#101052 2021-11-30 00:48

Uploaded a new version (8.2C) since a syntax error arose since PICO-8 0.2.3 (weird), breaking version 8.2B on the BBS.

Also, reading this thread again, I don't know what happened to user Neko_Necromancer and their posts, but their cool animated maps of this game are gone!

P#133491 2023-08-25 02:50

Hey, This has got a really nice soundtrack, and some nice, simple visuals. I'm gonna have to come back to this!

P#133539 2023-08-26 01:45

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