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Game Jolt


Glorious Trainwrecks

Your mouse is a golf hole. Put it on the ground and knock golf balls (which, in this case, can be anything you want) into it. There are 10 different hole types to choose from - some are based on timing, others on finesse, and others on which side of the mouse you hit.

Pitch and Putt Club is my biggest game to date, taking over a year to develop. Now, to be clear, it wasn't a solid period of development. I took breaks. I stopped working on it for months at a time. But in spite of that, I can safely say it's the game I have put the most into as of yet.

This game started life as what was supposed to be a more full-fledged golf simulator. I was going to have players cut a hole into the bottom of a shoe box and place the mouse underneath. They would hit the ball into the side of the shoebox, and their ball's speed and direction would be calculated by how hard the box was hit, and if it tilted left or right as a result. If that sounds like a recipe for disaster, it was. First of all: nobody is cutting out the bottom of a shoebox and putting their mouse inside of it to play my video game. Second of all: it was incredibly risky to ask people to putt golf balls as hard as they can into the side of a box, even if they were willing to cut a hole in the bottom of it and put their mouse in there; I was testing both with real golf balls and foam golf balls, and one time my (thankfully) foam golf ball went airborne. That was that.

Had the game worked out the way I initially imagined it to, you would hit the balls into the side of the shoebox to simulate hitting the ball down the fairway. Once everybody landed on the green, you would lift the box up and treat the mouse as the hole. To make every green feel distinct, each one would have a specific requirement to hole out. It was easy to eliminate the fairway stuff (which wasn't really working out well when I tested it anyway, regardless of airborne foam golf balls) and center the game around that. Plus, though I know it's still a big ask, I thought people would be a little more willing to place just their mouse on the floor without having to do arts and crafts first.

Pitch and Putt Club was intended to be sold. I was going to make a living off of this game. And that idea made me miserable. Knowing I was creating a product for sale made me second-guess everything I was putting into this. There was pressure to add more content than I wanted to, or needed to. And had I decided to try and sell Pitch and Putt Club, I would've been sorely disappointed - it was hard enough getting people to download it for free, I would've never made any money and probably would've ended up making it free after a while anyway.

I'm happy with how Pitch and Putt Club turned out. There aren't any other golf video games like this that I know of. Still, I don't feel I'm finished with it. Hole 9 is a little too difficult in retrospect, and needs to be fixed. I also have ideas for golf holes I want to add, to make the game seem a little more complete. A big hurdle to adding new content is that I would have to draw new backgrounds for each hole, and that takes me a while (it's the best-looking game I've made so far) and I'd rather work on something new to go back to something old. Perhaps someday, though, a Pitch and Putt Club Deluxe will come out. Until then, enjoy the original 10 golf holes, and try not to launch your foam golf ball into the air.

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