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Tube man death match: An indie game 'so stupid' it works

All good indie games should involve a fight to the death...between two wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men.


It's time for a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man showdown.

Hojo Studio

"It's so stupid, but it doesn't know it's stupid. It thinks it's Mortal Kombat!"

That's the summary of Inflatality -- a console game that takes the kind of inflatable tube men you find waving their arms at car yards and pits them against each other in an epic battle of tube-flailing fury.

It's the work of Australian indie developer team Hojo Studio, and the brainchild (in part) of developer Rick Salter's 4-year-old son. After driving past two inflatables at a car yard one day, Salter heard his son yell out "They're fighting!" The idea for Inflatality was born.

"They're in these human environments, and we like to think when humans' backs are turned, these battles go on," Salter says.

The controls are simple -- left thumbstick leans you forward and backward, right thumbstick controls the arms. The result is wild mashing at a controller trying, in vain, to wrangle a brightly-coloured tube full of air in a punch up.

It's impossible not to laugh.

"People look at the game and they go, 'It's so stupid, I've got to try it,'" says Salter.

"We start with the dumbest possible idea and put as much production value and love into it as we can. [Then people think] some one actually cared enough to make this happen."

After showing at PAX Australia in November, the team is looking to launch in the first quarter of 2017. With buzz building among kids and adults alike, the team hopes to sell it on Steam as a quick and low-priced impulse purchase.

"It's an easy couch 'versus' game. We want people to say, 'Ahhhh, that's ridiculous.'"