Officially, it's day two of Gamescom here in Cologne, Germany. For us, though, it's day four of Nick Summers and I marching up and down a vast convention center, visiting developers to find out more about their games. It's been a stressful 100 hours or so, working together without a break, but we finally got to let off some steam today with Oh Sir. It's a game that let us sling abuse at one another in a way that wouldn't involve a call to HR in the morning.
The idea is simple: You and your opponent pick a character and a location, and then the game starts. In the centre of the screen, you'll see a batch of words and short phrases, and each player takes turns to pick in order to build out an insult. Once both are done, the game decides how good your insult is, and your opponent's life bar is reduced as a result. You continue along that path until one of you runs out of health, and the character concedes defeat.
The game is styled with pixel art based on British gentry, and most of the insults you build are of a similar ilk. There's some depth in the gameplay, too. Each of the characters has its own weakness; an old lady is particularly fragile when it comes to insults about age and death, while a sharp-looking gentleman is vulnerable to jokes about his sense of style. You can also build combos by using the same elements in succession. When I played against Nick, I went for "Your mother" insults three times in a row, and it was that tactic that led to my victory.
Oh Sir, like many indie titles before it, was born from a game jam, where developers come together, hang out, and code. These events promote creativity, and often give birth to some fantastical games. It was released for free on Steam last year, and has been downloaded over 140,000 times since, developing something of a cult following. In the meantime, developer Vile Monarch has been turning the idea into a full game, published by Gambitious. It's just about complete, and now features AI opponents and online matchmaking. It's going to release simultaneously on Steam (PC, Mac and Linux), the iOS App Store and Google Play.