Squinky Plays Squinky – Cubert Badbone

I made a Let’s Play video, like all the Kids These Days™ are doing! The subject of said video, in an exciting turn of events, is a game of my own that I made when I was sixteen. So, it’s kind of like a Let’s Play version of Throwback Thursday, except I’m either too late or too early for Thursday. Oh well.

Anyway. Cubert Badbone, P.I. was, much like its later and way more popular successor Dominique Pamplemousse, a sillier, floofier version of a noir detective story, and it was interesting to play this game again for the first time in many years, while documenting the process. Some general insights I noticed were as follows:

  • I’m obviously still in the “copy the games you’ve already played” phase of game-making, here. I mean, there are so many adventure game puzzles that are there purely because at that point, I was operating under the assumption that all adventure games must have adventure game puzzles. And I can’t even count the number of blatant references to Monkey Island and Grim Fandango.
  • I see a lot of proto-queerness and gender-blending shining through in this game, but in this very self-conscious way that frequently backpedals into norm-reinforcing. It very much represents where I was in terms of self-awareness at age sixteen, obviously uncomfortable with the idea of becoming a woman and having that manifest by having Cubert (a male character, because detectives are obviously dudes) constantly reject frilly, femme things, while at the same time including WAY more frilly, femme things in the game itself than any noir detective story would have.
  • There is a surprising amount of cultural stereotyping, which would be less of a surprise if I hadn’t grown up among many diverse cultures and really should have known better. It just goes to show how big an effect the media one is exposed to has on the media one creates; early on, instead of drawing from my own experiences, I tended to repeat the stereotyping I saw in the fictions I consumed.
  • The only instance of romance (heterosexual, of course) in the game was hilariously awkward and stilted. I still don’t really think I write romance all that well.
  • There’s a character in the game named Dominique who happens to be dressed very similarly to Mx. Pamplemousse, so I’ve decided to retcon them to be the same character.
  • Benji is my favourite character and I still want a Carmen Miranda fruit hat.

If you’re intrigued enough to actually play the game, it’s downloadable at the bottom of this page.1 Meanwhile, stay tuned for forthcoming Squinky Plays Squinky episodes, should I get around to feeling motivated enough to record them.

  1. Windows-only for the time being. I’ve attempted to build a Mac-friendly version using the original source files, which I’m glad I saved; however, as is documented in the video, it does crash a lot at the moment, which is why it’s not publicly released.