Ever wonder if you and you friends could work together to operate the same car?  Now there's a legal way to find out.

Remember that time when you were just a little tyke, with all that allowance burnin’ a hole in your pocket?  You’ve had your eye on the latest toy for some time now, barely able to contain yourself each time the commercial came on.  So, you and your friends decided to take Mom’s minivan out for a quick trip to the toy store.  She’s got insurance, you said.  Only thing is, you were too small to drive it yourself; you needed their help just to make it go.  So you all piled in and distributed the labor equally amongst yourselves.  Fair’s fair.

Well ok, confession time.  It wasn’t a real car.  You and your friends were all together though, sitting just a few feet apart, concentrating on what your teammates were saying.  There was a lot of yelling and giggles just trying to get the thing to go straight.  Eventually, the steerer stops trolling, the accelerator gets his act together, and you’re all cruisin’ like it’s going out of style.

This game you were playing is called Joyride.  You play in real time, in the same physical space with your friends.  We on the team have seen tons of multiplayer mobile games out there, designed to have nearby players interact with each other.  Unfortunately these games rarely have players make direct contact, and in our opinion, that’s a waste of a potential grand experience.  Before we even started coding it, we wanted players communicating directly, and bring them an immediate, personal gaming experience.  So we started brainstorming on what that ideal game would look like and came up with something like this:

Not actual game footage

In Joyride, we put four players at a time in a virtual minivan where all of them are the drivers.  Each player controls a different part of the car- one on the accelerator, one on brakes, and one behind the wheel.  And the final player is the only one who can see the road and know what each player is doing.  He is the navigator, the captain, the watcher from the sunroof; and his word will make or break the team.

Clockwise from top-left: watcher, steerer, accelerator, braker
The game starts when four players link together and select the role they want to play, represented by four kid caricatures.  Setup takes only a minute before each player’s screen and interface are changed to their respective controls and they are on the road.  They must then hurry down the one way street, which the navigator sees as a top-down map.  Their quest is timed, with teams encouraged to beat their personal best.

But the real game happens outside all the code and phones and wireless networks.  The real game is in the teamwork.  There may be much confusion and panic at first, but in the end, it’ll bring you closer together.