It may be…strange to find yourself jealous of a 23-year-old person living in a New York City homeless shelter. Yet, here I am, jealous and intrigued. The aforementioned homeless person I’m jealous of is Brian Anthony Colon, who has developed an intriguing, crazy-frantic looking FPS from his homeless shelter, titled DEFIAL.
According to Colon’s reddit post about the game, DEFIAL is “Heavily inspired by the classic KILL EM ALL shooters of the 90’s…aim[ing] to challenge players with a tougher roster of enemies and bosses…Strategic use of available weapons, ammo, and health pickups is required to make it through each level. Enemies can dodge your fire, while others will come at you full force with no regard for self preservation. Their mission is to destroy you. Levels are hand crafted, with a mix of tight spaces & open battle zones.”
It looks very “Quake”. Which is probably what Mr. Colon is aiming for. In development since February of 2017, Colon’s designed the game from his shelter using the Blender Game Engine, and is slated for release at some point in 2018. It’s hard not to be jealous of his gumption here. Of course, gumption is secondary to survival if you’re in Colon’s shoes. His reddit post put it best:
“Living through this gives me a far greater understanding of the experience of people living in poverty. They’re unhappy, lacking in basic living standards, and you can’t blame them for feeling angry often. I definitely feel like I have learned a lot from this experience, and I damn sure am not staying living this way.” He wrote.
“Over the years I’ve acquired different skills that allow me to develop a game on my own, and I believe DEFIAL brings something familiar but different to the FPS table. This is an opportunity I feel I cannot waste. If I did, I would feel like I’m doing a disservice to myself, my daughter, and others who need inspiration and motivation.”
At the risk of being honest, it’s not uncommon for a story like this to illicit an eye-roll from general audiences – if DEFIAL seemed haphazard, or looked ‘cheap’, Mr. Colon could be viewed as trying to sell his game based on his own story, not on the game’s merits. But it’s clear the game has merit. With a trailer posted two months ago, an ‘Onslaught Mode’ trailer posted on January second, and Facebook and IndieDB posts cataloging the game’s development, it’s fairly obvious this is a game born out of desperate passion designed to stand on its own – so Colon can stand on his own, too. A game first, proverbial ‘sob’ story second.
For the specifics of Mr. Colon’s story, that’s for him to reveal. Often times situations like this are better in the abstract – ‘Homeless Dad Makes Game’ is a wonderful headline and an uplifting one, too. As to why and how a 23 year old man finds himself homeless is a private, likely torturous journey.
“DEFIAL metaphorically represents the mental and emotional energy Brian feels he has put into dealing with not having a home, and not being able to spend more time with his family. The game-play of DEFIAL is unforgiving. The enemy having no remorse in their mission to destroy the player matches closely to how Brian’s circumstance effects him and others around him.”
Regardless of the details and regardless of DEFIAL’s ultimate quality, any time someone solo-develops a game from idea to release is a cause worth celebration. Games are hard to make and the dedication and time they take result in many a long night and proverbial rage quit.
“If I can do it being in my situation, so can anyone else. I wasn’t born with these skills, I learned them in any free time I could find. When DEFIAL is finished, I hope to be able to use the experience to help others in hard times understand that they can achieve great things in the face of tough opposition…” States the second-to-last paragraph of the post.
There’s not much more to say than that.