Yo Yo Games is holding their fifth competition, with the theme of "Design a Hand-held game". Games in this contest have to meet certain technical restrictions, the most daunting of which, for me, is that the controls are restricted to the four arrow keys and one (and only one!) action button. Since even my shmups-- the simplest of my games!-- typically have two if not three action buttons, this posed more of a challenge than the restricted screen size.
My answer, at the moment, is to make a sword-fighting game with a heavy emphasis on blocking-before-counter-attacking, timing, and figuring out patterns. That's right: it's Punch-Out!!, but with swords.
More daunting than the basic coding (which is basically done) and enemy behaviours are the spites-- one for each player attack and block, one for each enemy block, and two for each enemy attack (a "taunt" or "tell" followed by the actual attack). I'd like the game to have more of a "cartoony" feel than an "obvious collection of coloured squares of equal size" feel, and the single-screen action would allow for decently-sized sprites despite the low screen resolution. Maybe 100 pixels tall for the player, 150 for the bosses?
Either way, as you can see from the basic player poses I sketched out below, appealing art isn't exactly my forte-- if anyone would like to volunteer their spriting services, I'd be willing to split the prize money (should, of course, the game win) 50-50 with them. Drop me a line at milos_parker at yahoo dot com if you're interested.