Takahiro Miyazawa is a genius. The independent Japanese developer's games were the highlight of this year's Alt Ctrl GDC display, a section of the show dedicated to weird games with even weirder controllers. Miyazawa brought two games to GDC 2018. The first one I played was Scissors The That Than, which is really what it's called, and is presumably named after what most people stammer upon seeing its controller, a massive pair of scissors.
Look at these things:
The scissors are nearly four feet long, and while they may be papercraft (don't let the aluminum tape fool you), they're still pretty damn heavy. I should know: halfway through the level I played, I noticed that my arms were starting to burn, and all the notes I wrote after that look like a doctor's signature. You physically open and close the scissors to attack, and you attack a lot because the haunted mansion you're exploring is filled with rope demons and tripwires, both of which need a good cutting.
Sure, I could've opened the impractically large scissors just wide enough to trick the sensor, but where's the fun in that? Besides, Miyazawa was standing right next to me and I didn't want to disappoint him. I used an analog stick on the left blade to move around—slowly, wouldn't want to run with scissors—and a red button on the right blade to lock onto enemies, but I spent most of my time hedge-clipping away like I was practicing for a war on overgrown bushes. Miyazawa rewarded my efforts with a cute figure of a character from his other game, ShCoCoooCoCo, whose namesake, and indeed pronunciation, I can't even begin to guess.
As for SchCoCoooCoCo itself, the game is a sidescrolling shoot-'em-up about a war between cute bottle-shaped birds and significantly less cute mine-shaped germs. Germs shoot viruses at you, and you fire soap suds and water back at them. Again, the kicker is how you play it, namely with actual bottles containing some impressive—and impressively well-hidden—tech. You fly up and down by tilting your bottle like a joystick, and you fire by pressing its plunger or pulling its nozzle.
I played as the swift spray bottle bird who shoots bubbles which float up, and then again as the lumbering detergent bird who lobs water that arcs downward. Both felt remarkably responsive, and not just in the "for a plastic bottle" kind of way. It's untested technology so I think I'll stick to standard gamepads for now, but plastic bottles could be the next big leap.
SchCoCoooCoCo can be played with up to four people, but only two people were around to join me. Luckily that was enough to make it to the final boss: a really big germ. Alas, one of my cleaning comrades was slain, ending our run. I considered dual-wielding spray bottles and trying again, but my arms were still tired from the scissors. Plus I figured I'd already made a big enough fool of myself.