Juggle! Coming soon to an Xbox near you…

At the risk of sounding like the old man I actually am, I can’t believe it’s August already!

It seems like only yesterday we were all readying ourselves for our Christmas Party, and only this morning that we majorly hit the buffers while searching out a publishing partner for Quarrel.

But since then it’s been even more of a blur.  In between developing new versions of Denki Blocks! for every platform we can think of, we took time back about May/June to scratch a long term itch of ours – to develop a “lost classic” Denki arcade game we called Juggle!

Gary described the design and development process behind Juggle! in his excellent series of blogs at the time, but in summary for those who missed them:

We’d always wanted to create a game that could have existed back in the earliest days of video gaming.  That would force us to build a fun game from the simplest toy-set imaginable.  Then, we’d iterate it through the years releasing versions to cover the significant epochs of video gaming history.

Part design challenge, part arty vision, but mostly just a fun way of forcing ourselves to create something compelling to play from as little as possible.  The result was Juggle!

The iPhone version is great.  I love it, and it remains among my favourite iPhone arcade games I’ve so far discovered.  I still play it all the time, although I’m finding it really hard to get anywhere near my current high score again for some reason.  But unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have been embraced widely by the iPhone audience overall.  There’s a hardcore following of people who love it, and I’ve had some great chats with people who are totally addicted and recognise it for what it is – the best bat and ball game on iPhone.  But with still less than a thousand players on the leaderboards at this point, it seems unlikely to become a mainstream success any time soon.

So, in true “if the mountain won’t come to Mahomet” spirit, we decided to take Juggle! to where we know there’s a whole lot of dedicated arcade gamers – namely Xbox LIVE Indie Games.  Behold then!  Juggle! for Xbox!

Since launching Denki Blocks! Daily Workout for Facebook a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been focused on taking Juggle! across to Xbox LIVE Indie Games.  We realise that the Indie Games channel is really meant to be for those cutting their teeth and learning the ropes of making games, which hardly describes ourselves.  However, Microsoft’s LIVE platform is currently broken if you’re a long-established Indie Developer like Denki.  There’s Arcade if you happen to fit Microsoft’s irrelevant definition of what constitutes a “Publisher”, and there’s Indie Games if you’re an aspiring developer with talent and ambition.

But if you’re Denki (or, rather depressingly it seems, Tuna… 🙁 ) or any other sort of long-established Indie there’s simply not a natural home for you on Xbox LIVE.  So we opted for Indie Games – hoping dearly that the community will enjoy Juggle! and won’t object too much to this bunch of big kids (fair enough then… *old* kids) coming  to play in their garden.

And we hit submission on Friday – only two weeks after delivering our first Facebook game, comes our first Xbox Indie Game!  It’s now in the hands of the Indie Games community for peer review, so if you happen to have an XNA Creators Club membership please feel free to go in and review Juggle! for us.  The more people that review it, the quicker it will (hopefully!) become available for the wider community of gamers to enjoy.

We’ll be posting more details about Juggle! for Xbox in the coming days, but it’s fairly safe to assume it’s not *just* a direct conversion of the iPhone game.  There will *definitely* be a new feature or two in there…

More about that later, but meantime the message is simple – Juggle! is coming to Xbox.  Soon!

Best get saving those Microsoft Points… 😉