We’re living in a golden age of video gaming where everyone’s personality and tastes can be match-fit for just about any title available on the market. The current progression of AAA games becoming so much more advanced than we could have ever envisioned is balanced by the simplistic nature of the grassroots developers who want nothing more than to share their craft.
With an industry such as this, the spectrum of choice ranges from some of the most sophisticated (and beautiful) stories that have emerged in recent years, right along to the more carnivalesque nature of base humour and cartoon-y worlds. The former, a genre-defining tale that enriches our lives. The latter, fart jokes and pixelated nudity.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with the latter. Certainly it has its place in our industry and serves as a constant reminder that gaming is fun. Unless of course you’re playing Diametric Games’ Gas – a side-scrolling platformer that unashamedly strips away comedic and stylistic integrity in favour of one idea: That farting is the funniest thing in the world.
Gas is what happens when you give college frat boys some quick lessons in Visual Basic and set them to task on creating a video game. The kind of game that takes cues from the most crass moments in a Judd Apatow film. The kind of game that was seemingly crafted by individuals who missed all of the subtle moments in South Park episodes because they were too busy laughing at the word “penis.”
You begin Gas as some dude with a toxic gut. A cutscene kicks us off whereby our hero is seen eating a rather spicy taco in a Mexican restaurant. Lo and behold, it plays merry hell with his insides and he must dash out in order to seek a toilet. Apparently in this world, the idea of tacos giving you diarrhoea is a joke that has not yet run its course, despite the majority of the Internet having grown weary of that cliche long ago.
When the game starts, you move the main character from one side of the screen to the other (where the elusive toilet is no doubt waiting). Objects must be hurdled with the use of the spacebar, which lunges our hero into the air via the emittance of the aforementioned gas, and propels him upwards ever so slightly. This is accompanied by an oh-so-hilarious animated green gas cloud spewing from the back of his trousers.
The object is to fart your way across the level while keeping an eye on your gas meter. Run out of farts and you’ll crap your pants (game over). Along the way you must collect sporadically-placed food items to keep your fart meter up: more tacos, chili peppers, red onions, etc. Too much of this and our hero explodes from – what we can only assume is – spontaneous combustion (again, game over).
There is little else to be said about Gas. It’s as stripped down, basic and amateur-looking as a modern game can get. Characters and backgrounds seem to have been cloned from some bygone art software, and the audio consists of only two things: a repetitive fart noise and grating Latin music (you will do well to mute both).
In all honesty, I feel kind of bad for not being able to give a glowing review of the game. Diametric Games are – after all – a new venture (beginning in 2012 and consisting of just three people) and this is their first born. They’re the lambs that are learning to walk, which must be difficult to do when you’ve got people like me pointing out how weak and wobbly your new legs are. I would love to be able to say that there was hope, but I honestly don’t see it here.
Had they decided to make this game based purely on a whim or a drunken bet, the negative repercussions would have almost been deserved. As it stands, though, Gas is just one of those games that really shouldn’t have been put out for review.
Creating a game is hard work and requires persistence. If I’m not out there making something of my own, it’s easy to call me out (or indeed any reviewer) for slating someone else’s creative endeavours when I can barely get past the “hello world” program. But then I remember the saying that, “You don’t have to be a chef to know when the food tastes bad.”
I’ll end on that food analogy by saying that Gas is a game that you make to give your friends a brief chuckle, or as a project for your game’s development lecturer to grade. It’s not something you leave open to public criticism. Unless I’m mistaken and this has all been just one big joke at my expense.
This review is based on the PC version of the game, which we were provided with.
Gas is what happens when you learn the basics of programming and combine it with frat boy fart jokes.