With its Nintendo Switch release literally dropping the day before PAX, the simple indie side-platformer, Duped, was a game we were keen to check out on the convention floor.
The demo proved to be the perfect combination of simple mechanics with challenging methods of execution to warrant a full purchase; So that’s what your reporter did as soon as she got back home.
A short and sweet game, Duped offers a lot of enjoyment for those who love problem solving, both in the literal and the philosophical sense.
The modest 8-bit graphic scene scape gives the mind plenty of time to think on the deeper, ethical issues which the game pokes at in a very fun way. And it doesn’t let you forget about those moral dilemmas as you send your army of adorable pixel cubes to their doom. It reminds you of them in quite a straightforward way – using the questions themselves as part of the game’s stages.
We spoke with developer Reuben Moorhouse, from No Moss Studios, the studio behind Duped, to find out what inspired this little philosophical platformer.
“I’ve always loved science fiction stories,” says Reuben, “specifically because of the ability to raise weird ethical or moral questions that just don’t exist in day to day life, or [if they do exist] apply larger than life analogies to them.”
While cloning isn’t exactly a part of day to day life yet, it’s certainly not an all-out improbability for humanity – some of the moral questions surrounding it are the bread and butter of the science fiction genre.
But as Reuben points out, “for people who don’t like science fiction, it’s hard to get them to talk about some of these questions if you have to go ‘first read all of this book old book about spaceships’ or whatever it is.”
So that became the inspiration behind Duped, “kind of exploring the ideas around identity, especially around cloning and identity.” As a sci-fi fan, Reuben himself finds these concepts fascinating to think about and explore, he wanted to present them in a way that he felt was a lot more approachable to people. “Just a little simple box, jumping around and cloning itself. Then sacrificing those clones to get ahead.”
As he explains it, although it was an ethically interesting dilemma to think about it needed to be “simplified so that people could really start engaging with it.”
And it really is worth engaging with, even if philosophy isn’t your thing – Duped is just good old-fashioned platformer fun that harkens back to the early days of gaming.