Klik & Play is one of those mysterious game creation tools that should, by all rights, be long dead. I was personally introduced to it as a wide-eyed, schoolgoing youth back in a time when accessible game creation was still rare. Countless hours, days, and even weeks were poured into dozens of small projects that I would complete and share with my friends. It was (in a word) awesome.
However, this nifty little program was released way back in 1994, which in human years makes it approximately three gazillion years old. Despite its remarkable age, it still clings to life in a way that would put even the most tired and tenacious of EA game franchises to shame. Heck, it doesn’t just cling: it retains its own thriving community, and lots of high-profile people are still making games with it today.
The thing about Klik & Play is that it hits a sweet spot that’s not shared by many other tools. It’s far more powerful than the likes of Sims Carnival, but it’s also slightly simpler and more accessible than Game Maker. And despite being a good 15 years old, it’s still remarkably useful in today’s game creation scene.
Klik & Play, like many other game creation tools, is based around the basic building blocks of rooms, objects, and events. It works its magic through a combination of drag-n-drop coding, prefabricated game objects (complete with movement schemes and animations), and an incredibly powerful tool known as the step-through event editor. The latter is an innovation which still has no real peer amongst today’s game creation tools: it allows a developer to run through the game and have new events such as collisions and keyboard presses checked in real-time.
So, what do you stand to gain from Klik & Play? Well, for one, people are still using it here and there. It also happens to be a free download (at least in its “KNP for Schools” incarnation), though you shouldn’t expect much from it if you want to make a commercial game: a little disclaimer displayed at the end of each game’s run-through makes it quite clear that Klik & Play games are not for sale.
If this tool interests you, but maybe doesn’t quite fit in with what you’re after, you should really look up the series of game creators that it spawned, which includes the likes of Click and Create, The Games Factory, and Multimedia Fusion. Developers such as Derek Yu have found the series useful in crafting games like Eternal Daughter, and even today the product line stands proudly against others in a world of fun and easy game creation.
Grab Klik & Play now and see for yourself what the early ’90s can teach a whole new generation of hip and trendy young game developers.