Concept and background research
The original concept for the game is inspired by early arcade-era games in which the goal is to reach the highest score possible. Games like Defender, Space Invaders, Asteroids, as well as more recent re-interpretations of the frenetic action in games like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved and Pac Man Championship Edition DX were instrumental in defining the gameplay characteristics of flow and compelling interaction and colorful and simple aesthetics that I wanted to achieve with this game.
1972’s Pong was a major influence on the arcade design that uses two dials for interaction. Early versions of Shape Arcade had three dials, and a remote controller over bluetooth, but it was feedback from players that pushed me in the direction of building an arcade cabinet that is heavily influenced by this design.
The actual concept for the game itself (where you are matching falling shapes) comes from a more unlikely source, the game show “Nokabe“, which has been described as a sort of human Tetris where players must contort their bodies into awkward positions to fit through holes in walls that are coming towards them. The natural tension of having to match a particular shape or face disaster I found very compelling, although the falling shapes in the final version of Shape Arcade are more akin to Tetris than the game show itself.
The final art style of the game (including the font) was heavily inspired by the works of Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, and other members of the Bauhaus school of art that utilized geometry and everyday patterns to create incredible things.