Death Checkers

The online game that has invaded my marriage.

“I can feel a butt whuppin’ coming on,” my wife, Stacey, announced a few minutes ago.

Then we proceeded to sprout spikes, lob bombs, throw acid and turn one another into smoking piles of ash.

The game is Quadradius — or as Stacey affectionately refers to it, “Death Checkers.” It’s a two-player Internet board-game-on-’roid-rage, and we’re addicted.

quadradiusQuadradius is played on a checkerboard-like grid that’s been transformed into a post-Apocalyptic arena. In addition to jumping on other pieces to destroy them, each player’s pieces can also gain special abilities — offensive powers (bombs, acid), defensive powers (the ability to grow armor or build walls or trenches), powers that give the player more pieces, powers that amplify other powers, and so on.

I learned about the game a few months ago through the newspaper where I work, when I was assigned to write a profile of the two guys who created it. It turns out they’re both from my part of Pennsylvania; the programmer — Jimmi Heiserman — invented the game’s first version for a class project in his senior year of high school.

His graphic-designer friend Brad Kayal came up with its “Mad Max”-inspired look, complete with analog dials and clanging, rusted metal, and an Internet sensation was born. It’s picked up several awards and is played by several thousand people per day.

Weirdly, it’s also come to fill a niche in my marriage. Instead of, say, bonding over a card game, Stacey and I fire up dueling laptops — it’s strangely reminiscent of setting up to play Battleship — and settle down for a nice quiet deathmatch.

“Hah! I smushed you!” she declared, after her piece landed with a clang on top of one of mine and obliterated it.

I just smiled. And went on to defeat her, 10 to 0.



Screenshots courtesy of the Independent Games Festival (www.igf.com) and quadradius.com.

Article © 2009 by Michael Duck