What Is Falldown?

Falldown is a game that, as far as I know, originated on the TI-85 calculator. I never owned a TI-85, but I had Falldown on my TI-83 (which, despite the decrease in numbering, was released a few years after the TI-85). But I digress..

Falldown is essentially a reflex game. You control a ball; the game spawns a never-ending series of rising platforms, with gaps randomly scattered along each platform. The goal of the game is to achieve the highest score possible by guiding the through the platforms by rolling it into the gaps. When the ball reaches a gap, it falls down to the platforms below it. However, if ball is pinned against the top of the screen, the game ends.

Points accumulate as long as the ball is still rolling (i.e., not smashed). But also, the longer you “stay alive,” the more difficult the game becomes. The difficulty increases in two ways: 1) By decreasing the space in between platforms and 2) By decreasing the number of platforms on each row. Here is an example of what Falldown looks like on the calculator:

It’s brilliantly simple, yet addictive; casual, yet surprisingly difficult.

I’m remaking it for several reasons:

  1. It’s my one of my favorite video games
  2. It’s simple
  3. It’s entertaining
  4. I didn’t want to make a Pong or Breakout clone;

all of which are great reasons. But more importantly, programming Falldown exercises serious programming skills:

  1. Object-Oriented Design/Programming
  2. Game Flow Control
  3. Simple physics
  4. Collision Detection/Response

My version looks like:

(It’s not that pretty-looking right now, but it will be)

I’m hoping to make my take on Falldown (titled Falldown Rebirth) as fun and addictive as I found the original calculator version. I will keep blogging about the game and the things learn along the way.

Ultimately, Falldown Rebirth is a pet project that I am programming in Python, using Pygame. I haven’t decided how to distribute it yet, but if there is interest, I’ll make it available.

2 thoughts on “What Is Falldown?”

  1. I am interested.
    Are there power ups and stuff in falldown?

    Also… very awesome! (you & the game)

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