Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design

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November 1st, 2006

Game Idea #44: Stone Roller

High Concept:

Life is hard. Life is especially hard when you’re a caveman who has to push a giant five-ton boulder around. Every year your tribe of cave-peoples selects one lucky member to roll the sacred boulder from your cave up to the top of the volcano, where it will be used to clog the ‘cano and put off an eruption for another year. This year the honor is yours… but luckily you have a little help from the gods.


PlayStation 3 / Nintendo Wii

Why it needs to be made:

I’m really intrigued by motion controllers, so I wanted to come up with a game that’s controlled exclusively via tilt. And on top of that, I wanted to think up a game where you only indirectly influence the characters in the world. So I figured, why not let the player tilt the world?


In Stone Roller you don’t exactly play as the caveman. He’s the hero of the game, and if he gets into trouble, then you’re in trouble. But a lone caveman can’t push a boulder that size around. This is where you come in. As you tilt the controller, the entire world tilts in that direction… It’s much easier to push a boulder downhill than uphill… so if you tilt the controller to the left, then the caveman pushes the boulder to the left. Tilt the controller to the right, the caveman pushes the boulder to the right. The more you tilt, the faster the boulder rolls!

Along the way to the volcano are a series of hungry prehistoric animals, traps, and of course, lots of lava. You’ll have to find your way over, under, or through these obstacles, using your giant boulder and your brains. Since everything in the world is based on physics, you can build up speed on steep slopes, jump chasms, and even cause avalanches. But beware! There are more boulders out there than yours, each made up of a different kind of stone, with its own size, mass, and fun quirks. Every time you tilt the controller you’re putting things into motion, not just you and your boulder.

Why it will be fun:

Stone Roller has little bits of a bunch of my favorite games in it. There’s the rolling around of Marble Madness. There’s the traps of Adventures of Lolo. There’s the protecting of a helpless little guy, like Lemmings. There’s some Pool and Pinball for the geometry nerds. And there’s a dash of Katamari, just for good measure. Sounds like fun to me. :-)

Final Thoughts:

You have no idea how long it took me to come up with the caveman theme for this game. But it just didn’t feel right describing the game as “you tilt the world and all these little balls roll around!”

2 Responses to “Game Idea #44: Stone Roller”

  1. James Craig commented:
    posted November 3rd, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    Reminds me of the engine design in Futurama… They move the universe around the ship. Much more efficient that way. ;-)

  2. Erin commented:
    posted November 6th, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    I wasn’t going to comment on two games in a row, but I can’t help it — I LOVE THIS ONE! Maybe it’s because I loved Captain Caveman as a kid. Maybe it’s because it was an idea I didn’t see coming and had no advance info on. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of the “release the stone of shame!/attach the stone of triumph!” moment in the Simpsons. For whatever reason, this just really, immediately appealed to me. I particularly dig the idea of using boulder to clog a volcano. very cool!

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