Blocks on
(Game Jam Prototype)

Screenshot of the beginning of the level.

The core idea behind Blocks was one that had been in the back of my mind for a long time: There are personal things I do for my mental well-being that are not what someone else might do, and not everyone is accommodating or understanding, so you end up deciding how much discomfort you are willing to live with to continue associating with groups that have people like that.

Additionally, you might have multiple facets to your identity that are important to you, but you are often asked to pick one that is “you”, or to leave them all at the door. If you have not experienced that, imagine how a politician or news anchor would talk about someone who is, for instance, gay and Black and transgender and Jewish and disabled.

In Blocks, you start with a stack of glowing blocks that act as an extension of you—if they touch a wall, you can climb; if they hit a barrier, you get stopped. You can choose to discard any or all of them, but if you do, you might find the world gets a little darker.

Blocks are labeled, I am, Jewish, Pansexual, Genderfluid, Neurodivergent.

On a less serious note, the core game mechanic of Blocks is also a pun. It was a built during Possum House's Chill Jam 2, the theme was “LAMP”, and my brain immediately went to the web development “LAMP stack” (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), and from there to games about stacks. But after I had implemented colored platforms and colored boxes, I was struggling to give it some some sort of visual identity. Then, while I was poking into other Unity docs, I stumbled upon someone talking about the 2D lights in the Universal Render Pipeline (formerly Lightweight Render Pipeline), and it all came together: make the “building blocks” of the character light sources—a literal lamp stack 😊