As we learned at the Boston Festival of Indie Games, people only care about reBERth when they can hear it. Visually, it’s boring. And that’s just perfect.
At the festival we had a sweet poster and two big television screens showcasing the game. Lots of people walked by, glancing at the screens but not stopping. What they saw was a good-looking side shooter in space like Gradius or R-Type. Fun… but done before.
Because our speakers were off.
When we unplugged the headphones and let Larry Hong’s energizing music spill into the hall, it was like we flipped a switch. People stopped and played or watched other people play. They told us the game was amazing. We had folks hogging the controllers.
TL;DR: reBERth was designed with music in mind. The meaningful experience this game provides can only be had when the audio and visuals fuse together in the player’s brain. Each movement corresponds to a beat. The player’s survival often depends on their acquaintance with the melody. You don’t just play reBERth, you plug into it. And that’s exactly the effect we were going for. If you told Francis Ford Coppola you saw The Godfather on mute and weren’t impressed, you think he’d mind? He’d say, watch it with the sound. It’ll change your life.
So if you play this game with friends, unplug your headphones. Turn up the volume. You will all have a great time.