Yesterday, we announced the runners-up of our Get Into Games Challenge 2014, and today we reveal its winner. George Ing’s One Minute To Midnight was the favourite of four out of the five judges, and as a result he wins a Unity Pro licence and a trip to Unity’s annual Unite show, this year taking place in Seattle.
“One Minute To Midnight provides an ironic twist on the idea of protest as a force for good, depicting the player’s campaign for social reform in the year 2029,” Ing says. “Told through direct narration, it serves as an allegory about the dangers of populism and reactionary thinking.”
After we’d whittled down the entries to a shortlist of ten, the games were judged by Lionhead and Games Workshop co-founder Steve Jackson; Unity CEO David Helgason; The Chinese Room creative director Dan Pinchbeck; Lucas Pope, creator of Papers, Please; as well as Edge editor-in-chief Tony Mott.
Pinchbeck was impressed by the presentation and clever use of puzzle mechanics to meet the competition’s theme. “It’s a really lovely little game,” he says. “It could easily be out there on the App Store now, which is the whole point, really.”
Helgason agrees: “The style reminded me of Monument Valley, and, interestingly, the game would work great on iPad as well. The title has simple and intuitive controls, with new mechanics being introduced at a steady pace, keeping you engaged. Its economic presentation of narrative was also a success, as it often tied into the introduction of a new gameplay mechanic.”
One Minute To Midnight
Developer George Ing
Play the game: www.bit.ly/1rjVcVD
One Minute To Midnight is an RTS game in which you must assert your sociopolitical influence over opposing movements by occupying buildings. A crush of humanity enters the map from tunnels around the periphery, ready to be turned to a cause. First, you click a structure to occupy it and establish your base. A number on top of each building shows how many supporters are within, and you can drag from one of your structures onto another building to send the occupying followers on a hostile takeover bid, though you must outnumber your opponents to succeed. New elements are introduced steadily, including airports, which let you leaflet-bomb the enemy, and broadcasting stations, which have a chance of converting individuals wandering past.
“I really liked the fast pace required for victory,” Pope says. “It connects well to the idea that things can move so quickly to sweep idealists into power and corrupt them. It reminded me of Galcon, and I like how the concepts tie in with the gameplay. In the later levels, for example, it can be more difficult to start with the high-quality buildings – it’s better to build a base of strong basic buildings, then branch out to the airports, satellites and subways.”
Jackson was less convinced of the gameplay’s relevance to the protest theme, but couldn’t find any flaws with the game itself. He praised the “interesting game mechanic, which would suit an old-fashioned war game”, also commending “a clear tutorial and level progression”.