At Play NYC 2019, I met all sorts of interesting people. One of them was Gabriel Walter, an unassuming gentleman representing his company Verseability with three games haphazardly arranged in separate windows on one monitor. I made the time to speak with him about his creations and find out what he was all about.
One of the most surprising things that I discovered about Walter is that he wasn't at New York's biggest dedicated gaming convention to sell any games, generate any press, or secure any investment like so many of his peers in the indie industry. Instead, he simply wanted people to playtest his creations.
"One reason [I invested in a booth at Play NYC] was to get feedback," Walter said. "That was the most important one reason for me, to see which game or games would be the most fun for people.
"[Play NYC] is a good [place] to sell things, definitely," he continued. "I don't want to just sell things if I'm not getting feedback first. I like to be interactive with my ideas."
His ideas—at least at Play NYC—were represented by three games, although they aren't the only thing coming from Verseability in the future.
GolfInverse Flips Things Around
I've always had an odd fondness for golf games. It probably stretches back to a defining moment of my childhood where I was on a family convention and driven to tears over a closed-down mini-golf course. Since then, I've always had the desire (but never the opportunity) to play mini-golf.
I've since picked up both Golf It and Golf With Your Friends and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with both games. Suffice it to say, GolfInverse was the Verseability project that piqued my interest.
While most golf games have you controlling the ball, GolfInverse instead has you rotate the course. In a sense, it's like a digital version of the Labyrinth tabletop game (the maze with a marble that you tilt around).
"I'm planning on revamping [GolfInverse], but I'm definitely seeing something there," Walter said. "It depends on how long it takes me to make it. The timing with game-making is always kind of tight."
In the current build, the golf ball begins in the air and falls towards the ground; you must rotate the level as it falls to get the ball in the hole. Since you're not hitting the ball, your score will be measured either by the time you take to complete the level or by how many times you rotate the world.
"You have a set little hole somewhere on the level," he explained. "You have to rotate—you cannot use any golf clubs or anything—you just have rotate whatever's there to get [the ball] in that hole."
What Else Is Verseability Doing?
Aside from GolfInverse, Verseability also presented two other games at Play NYC 2019: Trapease 3D and Kingside.
Trapease 3D is an endless runner, which is a genre that, quite frankly, is more oversaturated than reality television. What makes this game mildly more interesting is the fact that you're a trapeze artist trying to stay on the correct path while avoiding the wrong handholds. Aside from a brief love affair with Flappy Royale, I'm admittedly not too fond of Flappy Bird-style games. Still, Trapease 3D is plenty interesting at a conceptual level.
Kingside, conversely, operates using a retro-styled Game Boy aesthetic and features chess gameplay. It's an interesting presentation of the game, but it hasn't been developed as far as GolfInverse or Trapease 3D.
"I can just keep [Kingside] as a demo," he said. "If there is an interest, I could always [develop it further], but at this point, that one will be a demo."
Walters later told me about another project called Revuer, which is best explained in his own words:
The game is based on an old turn of the century (1900s) "revue" set in New York, where you play as the "revuer" - watching for mistakes and fixing them on the fly with just one button mashing! For instance if the main character (a suspender peddler!) gets hit in the face (with a pie) you can pause it at the right moment to have him duck. There are plenty of sight gags and banana peels to avoid! This is going to be released 2020 for pc/mac/linux/ios/droid and..yay amiga!!!
Each of these games has potential, although I think GolfInverse has the best chances of doing well commercially. That's not to say that these are the only things that Walter is working on.
"I'm really getting back into [Commodore 64] developing, so that should be interesting if I could port [GolfInverse] to that," he said.
I'd like to thank Walter for taking the time to talk with me about his games. Verseability is still relatively new on the indie scene in terms of commercial releases, but GolfInverse looks like it would make for a fine first game. You can keep up with his work on his equally-retro website.