||[Aug. 28th, 2008|07:54 pm]
Sigh. Math describes bad shooters equally well as good. Treasure Co. Ltd. made Ikaruga, a [to sum up, very nice] vertical scrolling shooter with a polarity mechanic where your ship could change colors from bluish white to reddish black to counter your similarly binary enemies. Since then I have searched for doujin games which use or extend this mechanic. One mathematical progression is particularly alluring from one gaming viewpoint, and damning from others: non-transitive graphs. In Ikaruga or a clone thereof, there are two kinds of "tie" between bullets and ships: destructive, and safe. One avoids fulfilling one's end of the bargain by dodging or switching colors before your bullet-ship interaction occurs. In three-color variants, the colors tend toward a Rochambeau relationship, with no need for such dancing against individuals so long as your rock beats their scissors. Thus you can win against any one color on the screen. To extend this to two, you would need not five, but seven colors. And for three, and this is where humanity's knowledge ends, the number is nineteen. And also absurd. But seven is just on the wrong side of tempting. And for me, that's still tempting.