Source Port: ZDoom
Download: Final Release (9 Dec 2010)
Back in 2006, the insanely awesome (and awesomely insane) Xaser unexpectedly released a ZDoom mini-project entitled “TurboCharged ARCADE!” (yes, capitalised exactly thus). It was a set of eight batshit-crazy levels that made the player go through all sorts of ridiculous tasks, like escaping prison, beating murderous demons at battleship, solving murder cases à la Sherlock Holmes, entering the Matrix, and killing Adolf Hitler. There was also the added quirk that TCA sped up the gameplay of Doom to 200% – weapons fired faster, monsters dodged quicker, and the levels themselves played like something you’d experience if you played Doom while high on crack-cocaine.
I think it’s safe to say that to this day, TCA is still heralded as one of the best ZDoom “jokewads” to have been released. There is, of course, the issue that there aren’t that many ZDoom jokewads in the first place, but I digress. It’s a gut-bustingly funny mapset that rarely ceases to be amusing, and at times, bemusing. Seriously – shit gets really random at times.
Some time in 2007, I was motivated to make my own map in the style of TCA. Ludicrously fast gameplay, stupid and often rather obscene dialogue between the “characters”, and an ironic but predictable twist at the end that resulted in the player’s grisly demise (this was a trend prevalent in all of the previous maps of TCA, and in fact a defining aspect of the project itself). I made a map that featured the Doom guy gatecrashing a wedding between two demons in Hell. I was reluctant to share it at first, because I considered my humour to be a bit too “out there” even for Xaser, so I sort of sat on the map for about a year. Then, in early 2008, I finally decided to spruce it up to meet a certain standard of quality, and sent it to Xaser. Completely to my surprise, he found it amazing, and invited me to do some more maps for a potential full version of the project, and I was happy to oblige.
One day he contacted me on IRC and told me about his plans to make the project open-development. His vision for the full version of the project was a 100-map community mapset, all of which would be done in the same zany style as those in the original. I set to work and soon had three more maps of my own done – a crazy museum-raiding escapade, an isometric block-dodging exercise, and of course an epic showdown with Santa Claus.
Many, many ideas were tossed around on the TCA development forums, but not much new material actually surfaced as a result. The discussion was there, but it didn’t transmute into the massive, hilarious 100-map epic of a project that we’d envisioned.
The forums fell into abandonment, and the project sort of stagnated for a couple of years. Eventually, in mid-2010, Xaser PM’d me on the ZDoom forums, and told me that we was planning to release the maps that he and I had worked on for the project, in another eight-map “episode” that would serve as the sequel to the original TurboCharged ARCADE!. We both made some fixes and other alterations to the final maps over the ensuing months, and eventually released it at the end of the year – thus was born, “The Sequel Episode”.
Opinions were mixed on its release, but overall I think it went down well. It won the 2010 Mockaward on Doomworld, but that may have had something to do with the fact that we released it the day before the winners of the 17th Annual Cacowards were due to be announced… and no other projects that would’ve been eligible for the award had actually been released that year. 😛
Nowadays, the “jokewad” is a dying breed, but its legacy lives on in the few of its kind that actually made an impact. I think TCA 2 managed to do so. Even if it didn’t, then its predecessor definitely did – it’s still the very first thing that springs to mind when I think of the word “jokewad”.