Ludum Dare #12 entry: The Siege of von Danken Tower

This is my (pansapiens) entry for Ludum Dare #12.

I had various dramas throughout the 48 hour competition, namely two electricity outages … this is not the code I spent most of my time on, but I’m actually happy it all worked out the way it did.

The game is written using batari Basic v1.0. I learnt a lot by reading the included sample code, and the excellent batari Basic manual. I also used the online PlayerPal 2600 Sprite Editor to draw the sprites.

Ways to play:

  • All platforms: Play the game on this page (below the fold) in the embedded JStella applet
  • Window, Linux, Mac: download the ROM and run it in Stella ($ sudo apt-get install stella on Debian/Ubuntu).
  • Windows, (maybe Linux): Download this zip archive which contains the windows version of Stella and The Siege of von Danken Tower ROM, which is compatible with Keeyai’s Compo Game Loader
  • Atari 2600 VCS: For the definitive von Danken Tower experience, you should burn it onto an EEPROM and play it on your Atari 2600 VCS (YMMV. AtariAge may help).

You can also look at the ugly source code.

The Siege of von Danken Tower

Sorry, your browser doesn’t seem to support applets.
Maybe just run the rom using Stella instead ?

(this applet seems a little flaky on some platforms. Works for me on Windows Vista in IE7. Works without Reset button in Firefox 2).

Controls: Left and right arrows, space to fire.


Move your character between the pile of stone blocks on the right and the foundations of the von Danken Tower on the left to build the tower. If you are holding a block, you can throw it at the chariot of the Gods. Watch out for the bolts of light the Gods may throw down at you !

Once you have built the tower, you must destroy the chariot. It will become redder with every hit, before being destroyed. Once you destroy the chariot with a completed tower, you will advance to the next level.

You can sustain only three hits by a bolt of light before dying. Your health state is indicated by your colour.

In the tradition started by Yar’s Revenge … here is the cheezy back-story.

The Story

There are two stories surrounding the famous “Siege of von Danken Tower”. One an allegory for the other.

In ancient times, a warrior named Eric was tasked by the Gods to build a great tower. They hovered above him, and quoth “Build us a mighty Tower, in the name of von Danken”. Eric, unafraid, set about the task of hualing huge stone blocks across the plain to the site where the great Tower of von Danken was to be built. Eric, worked for days, but eventually, he stopped to rest. But the Gods were impatient andmalevolent Gods, and despite the Tower being their request, they made sport of Erics’ toil. They threw bolts of light at him, and ordered him to continue building. Eric, a proud warrior, would not stand for this kind of treatment, even from the Gods. He picked up the block beside him an threw it at their flying chariot. The war had begun.

Millenia later, in modern times, a programmer recieved a message from the aether. I simply stated, “Build a video game featuring ‘The Tower’. Quickly”. He did not know who was telling him to build “The Tower”, but a story from his childhood, buried deep, arose in his mind. He decided to tell the story of the von Danken Tower, a secret family tale passed down from his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, and until now never widely shared. But mysterious, inter-dimensional beings were not pleased at having their role in the development of human civilisation revealed. Electrical distrubances, power failures and other strange occurances plagued the project. Would the story of the great von Danken Tower ever be told ? Would the the Tower ever be completed, or would the aliens forces reign surpreme in their information war on the human race ? It is up to you to ensure they do not !

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