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Pringo Dingo games introduced me to Paparazzi at the E3 2014 Indiecade booth, where countless entertaining and interesting games sat together waiting for anyone willing to ignore the louder, more bombastic blockbusters the conference has become known for and while the title is criminally small at the moment the developers showcased a knowing awareness of humor in gameplay mechanics by pitting two against each other. One person takes on the role of a famous celebrity while another tries to snap pictures of the star to earn a little scratch.
It’s far from the paparazzo missions you may have played in last year’s Grand Theft Auto V where you had to dedicatedly steer a motorcycle next to a teen starlet for cheap laughs. Instead of attempting to line up the perfect shot in an absurd downtown chase, you’ll click wildly as the celebrity dashes behind buildings or into crowds. While the concept might not sound like much, there’s plenty of room for expansion.
The build I played at E3 only featured two levels, but there seemed to be about a dozen planned. First player takes control of the celebrity with an Xbox 360 controller attached to the laptop running Pringo Dingo’s early build. The left stick would slowly navigate the celebrity up, down, left, and right although movement with only the analog stick proved painfully slow. The celebrity player can tap the A button to dash an infinite number of times but with the screen crawling right, you can’t just hang behind a building and wait for time to run out. Crowds move too, so even if you dash towards one it might not keep you covered for long forcing you to adjust your position.
The second player as the paparazzi uses the left mouse button to snap as many pictures as possible. Both the paparazzi’s camera and the celebrity’s dash ability work in an unlimited capacity, but as the paparazzi takes pictures the celebrity’s dignity falls. The more pictures the paparazzi takes, the more money he or she earns. The celebrity can run into adoring fans to recover a little dignity, but ultimately the goal is to finish a sequence with more meter than the other player.
The first level took us downtown where the celebrity could hide behind buildings and crowds, but the second level featured a vibrant club with crowds of screaming fans, big speakers, and a few stages. Snapping a few pictures of the celebrity in a row felt really satisfying because it meant I had successfully kept the dashing sprite in my sights and the pictures fall away either blank and lifeless or in an explosion of pure could-you-please-turn-TMZ-off-now-please.
I asked the developers what they had planned for the game and right now the focus has been put squarely on finishing levels and core mechanics. The title is on Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter. $10 will secure you a digital copy of the title through Kickstarter, but it’s totally free to vote for the game on Steam. Look for more from E3 on GameRevolution all week long.