The History Of This Game

Strange Powers is one of the five special computer / video games I most wanted to make in my lifetime, and never got to. The original idea for Strange Powers was very different and much more elaborate than the simple puzzle game presented here.

In my original design, the player would be able to craft an original superhero or heroes, or import fan created (or even licenced) comic superheros, and form teams or play them solo. The gameplay, though designed back in 1985, would have compared to something rather like today's Final Fantasy Tactics , only with skill tests for actions, not unlike a baseball or golf game today; swing meters and timed button presses to maximize effects. It would be a turn-based battle system. In the comics, there is always time to think, and to speak during battled: real time does not allow such things. During battles, the characters would have things to say, and would react to events, using a random-yet-controlled set of responses unique to each character. This was important: that the characters show emotion and introspection during the battles, and react to events in text balloons, just as in the comic books that inspired the whole thing. I wanted to bring the emotional content into such battles, and not just concentrate on fighting alone. To this day, no one has accomplished this, and I still feel it is at the heart of what is important to the concept of a superhero: they agonize and revel and emote about the battles they fight. That is what makes them more than just units engaged in mindless combat. Heart.

The gameplay would have been centered around a university for superheroes, with a version of the famous 'Danger Room' of X-Men fame, but would also include a city to operate within. A random mission generator would provide various situations to save or deal with in the game.

Additionally, the player would also be able to play the part of a supervillain as well, and build, from a tile based editor, various lairs and traps that could then be tested by hero characters. These creations would be able to be shared with other people who had the game.

Over time, I have revisited the idea of Strange Powers. Finally, with this release of a puzzle game derived from the original concept, I can allow at least some tiny part of my dream to have some small life.

Although this puzzle game is not my true Strange Powers project, it does capture one common aspect of my original design: that most battles would be like puzzles, where teams of heroes would form a gestalt that together could overcome what one alone could not.

I hope you find enjoyment in this little offering.

  Jennifer Diane Reitz

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