Fun Gun Award: Gibhard’s Gibsucker(?)


[~600 words]

Gibhard is a retro-2.5D-aesthetic FPS that is being made single-handedly by Bram Eulaers (I don’t think it’s even in alpha, yet). The game so far looks fantastic (visually, ludically, etc.)

Bram posted a video on twitter recently which shows off (among other things) a secondary fire function on a gun that I think deserves a Fun Gun Award.

So, if you watched the video then you’ll know which gun I’m talking about. It’s the one that sucks up physical objects and then spits them back out into the world. You can use this to press floor switches, or to crush monsters (I don’t know what the gun is called, but I’m going to call it “the Gibsucker” in this post).

I think this gun is ecstatically amazing, and the best way for me to explain my perspective is to compare the Gibsucker with a gun that seems superficially identical: Half-life 2’s Gravity Gun. I have no idea if Bram Eaulaers was thinking of the Gravity Gun when he designed this gun’s mechanic, but nevertheless it acts as a good foil.

As I said, on the surface both guns seem to be the same. They both let the player pick up objects and then toss them at enemies. They also both fill the mechanic trope of having a base weapon that doesn’t require ammo (like a fist, a crowbar, or a weak energy pistol that recharges). However, there’s a few things the Gibsucker does that makes it more user friendly, more clever, and more fun than the Gravity Gun.

First, the Gibsucker’s “gravity-throw” mechanic is it’s secondary fire. It’s primary fire is an orange laser. So, throwing an object isn’t the only option you have with the Gibsucker (the way it is with the Gravity Gun). You don’t have to break the flow of your gameplay by switching to a new weapon or by hunting for more throwable objects. The Gibsucker gives the player more freedom and more options in how to play the game.

Second, the Gibsucker stores objects inside the gun. This is pretty cool aesthetically; you suck up the object (fun!) and then you see it floating in your gun’s display. This also has a tangible function in that 1) it doesn’t obstruct the player’s view, and 2) the player isn’t being pressured to use the object right away. When you’ve got an object floating right in front of you, like with the Gravity Gun, and you can’t really do anything until you get rid of it, that’s the game pressuring you to use that object right away as soon as possible. In Gibhard you can wait for the right moment which feels less frustrating and more empowering.

Third, you can use body parts as weapons. I’m always a big fan of that in games. Apparently the Gibsucker has a charge up feature for the secondary fire. In the video it appears you can either throw an object, or you can charge up the object and then throw it to do actual damage to enemies. This charge up mechanic apparently works with the gibs. So, that’s pretty cool (and that’s why I’m calling it the Gibsucker until the developer says otherwise).

Anyway, I think this gun has a fun mechanic and is very cleverly designed. Keep an eye on Gibhard because I think it’s going to be a fantastic game with a lot more guns that will be deserving of Fun Gun Awards.

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