Introducing Nick, and a new game: Squiggle!

My name is Nick

"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your f****** khakis."

Hi.  My name is Nick, and I'd like to welcome you to Ghost Roadhouse.  We are a small indie game development/ publishing studio based out of the Metro Detroit area in Michigan.

We believe, very strongly, that games give you much more than what comes in the box.  Sure, you get plastic pieces, a little rule book, maybe a map.  With video games you get line after line of code.  While these things make up a game, they aren't what games are. These are just items; mostly insignificant parts that comprise a greater whole.  There is a game at the end of this article that does a good job proving this point.  Feel free to skip to the bottom if you came just for Squiggle.

The first video game I can remember was "Adventure" on the Atari 2600 from 1979.  I didn't see it until the late 80's however, as I wasn't even born until 1986. My family wasn't exactly well off, so we didn't have a Sega Genesis or Nintendo until much later.  It didn't matter to me though.  I remember being so excited to watch my step dad play.  It wasn't so much that I cared about the yellow square that was "him" on the screen, and I certainly didn't understand why he wanted to get the squiggly line (it was a key if you're curious).  I just knew that he was happy and excited, and I loved sitting on his lap while he played.  Sometimes he would even let me hold the controller, and I felt like I was the coolest kid in the world.

Together, we would win

Flash forward a few years, and now I'm the one holding the controller, but this time it's my little brothers and I playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2.  Now, I was your typical jerk older brother, so I always made them play Tails while I played Sonic, but they didn't care.  They were all too eager to jump forward and die over and over in an attempt to kill the bosses so that I wouldn't die.  Together, we would win because in that game, Tails had infinite lives and I could just run away while they did all the work.

I've gone back and played that game as an adult, but it doesn't hold any magic to me like it did back then.  Some might say that it's because I've played better games, or nostalgia makes it seem better than it really was, but that's not exactly it.  It was the fact that my little brothers and I were an unstoppable team, and when we won, we knew that we had done it together.  People often ask why I love Sonic so much (I have way more Sonic toys than any grown man should), especially in light of his recent... misfortunes.  The truth is, I don't.  I love my brothers, and Sonic reminds me of them.

the look on her face

I'll give one more example, and then I'll get to the point (and also the game, as promised).  After graduating college, I was dating a woman who didn't really like board games.  This was problematic, because I played them all the time.  Finally, we found one game that she really liked.  DC Deck building.  I had come to think of DC as a bag of potato chips compared to the steak dinner that was Legendary, so I had all but written it off.  But, she liked it, so we played it.  A lot.  Like, literally every day.  You might imagine that I grew bored after the first few days, and you would be right.   But, after many, many games, she finally beat me, and the look on her face, the way it lit up with excitement,  was worth all of the time we had spent playing.  

Every time I see that game (and since I own it, I see it a lot) it makes me happy to remember those times, bittersweet as they may be.

So, whats the point of all this, besides letting you get to know me?  Its that the most memorable moments in gaming, the games that inevitably become your favorites, are more than the cards, or the pieces, or the code.  We love games because we love the people we play them with.  We go on WOW to be with our guild.  We learn to play Smash Brothers so we can spend time with our children.  We buy games to have an excuse to see our friends.


Me and the rest of Ghost Roadhouse want to give you that excuse.  That's why we make games.  To prove that, here is a free game that requires nothing more than paper, a writing utensil, and some friends.

All players start with a sheet of paper.  Each player draws a single line...  Not a straight line, mind you.. but a crazy random mess of a squiggle.  The only rule here is you have a 2 second time limit, and your pen/pencil cannot lift off the paper.  Then, each player passes the paper to the next player.  That player has 1 minute to add to the squiggle and make it a recognizable "thing".  Any thing will work.  After your time runs out, pass it to a third player.  If that player can guess what you turned the squiggle into, you both get 1 point. First player to 10 wins.  Try it out, and let us know what you think. 

Again, my name is Nick, and I would love to hear how games have effected you in your personal life.  Please drop me a line if you'd like to share stories of your own.  Thank you, and welcome to Ghost Roadhouse!