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Happy Birthday, Platdude! Blog
16th April 2023
Happy Birthday, Platdude!
25 years of platting, and he's still going strong.


Back in "The olden days", my life of coding started because I spent far too much time reading through the great big chunky manual of the Amstrad CPC.
As part of its extended character set, the Amstrad featured a little oddball character, with his long spindly arms and legs, and giant oversized head.

Making use of the Amstrad's default Mode 1, 4 colour palette, I found myself reusing oddball character a lot.
After a while, using the Symbol command and tweaking his head/torso/legs into separate characters, I learned how to overlay elements of him in different colours.
From this, the evolution of Platdude was born.
But it took a long long time to get him to where he is now.

During days on the Amiga he was almost right, but still not quite the Platizen we know and love, today.
"The Maze" was a simple topdown sokoban style maze game, in which our intrepid hero had to navigate his way around the titular maze. It was a nice enough puzzle game, but one that wasn't "quite" what I wanted.

Good grief, what was I thinking with those stripes!?!?

Not quite there, yet!

Enter College.. 1997, and my first time using a PC properly. (As in, sitting down and coding on it, instead of watching friends try to boot games that required faffing about with himem and autoexec and more. Gosh, the amiga was so much better!!)

QBasic was the tool of choice, and I remade what was now "JNKMaze" using that. Having to hard-code sprites instead of having an editor made for a complicated attempt at drawing the character.
.. I ended up drawing a face.
Not very Platdude-like.. In fact, the exact opposite of Platdude!

But the game still didn't have the right feel, yet. Which is when I hit upon the idea of switching from a top-down maze, to a 2D Platform game.
Retaining the maze game's methodology, I created a puzzle game, but with gravity.

The result was JNKPlat.. A fun game, but that "guy" sprite didn't look right at all.

I spent the next month or so creating a sprite editor in QBasic, and used that to make some lovely sprites for the character and the world he inhabited.

Red floors, Orange bricks, Yellow ladders, Blue spheres, the lot.
The timestamp for the sprite file is April 16th, 1998, so that's what I use as the official birthday for Platdude.

The date that his red shirt got toned down to a milder orange, and his bright cyan pants were reduced to an inverted version of the orange of his shirt.
The date that Platdude became Platdude.
And ever since then, he's been the same little dude, running around in identical looking mazes, with two jump buttons.

Although Platdude's gone on to appear in tons of other AGameAWeek games, the JNKPlat title is held back for the two-button puzzle platforming games, and there's been a whole bunch of those games over the years.
You can find a vaguely approximate version of the history of JNKPlat here.

There's been oodles of versions of JNKPlat over the years, and today I'm launching the first version of the 2023 edition.

This is almost identical to the 2018 edition, using the exact same level data, and the same 100 levels in the same 25 packs.
Over the coming weeks I'll be reintegrating some of the previously uploaded level packs that other users have created, and will try my best to get a level editor up and running, too, so that you can make and share your own levels.
All that's in the future, though.

But for now, you can play 100 levels of JNKPlat 2023, right here in your browser.

Happy Birthday, Platdude!!
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