Get ready for capitalism in space

We speak to Simon Préfontaine, a.k.a. Pixels & Poutine, about his latest game Cashtronauts.


Space. The final frontier… for making money.

Now, thanks to Cashtronauts, an Asteroids-style multiplayer game developed by Rosemont resident Simon Préfontaine, aka Pixels & Poutine, it will be possible to strike it rich in space. It’s a concept deserving of its own genre: space capitalism.

gameplay_01Préfontaine is still working on the game (and is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to help the project along), but the best way to know if a split-screen one-to-four-player game works is to observe live bodies blasting for bucks. So he’s hosting a Cashtronauts tournament this Thursday at Foonzo, a video game cocktail bar downtown.

There’s a free Cashtronauts demo on his website for PC, Mac, Linux and Ouya, should you feel the need to practise in advance. It’s designed to be an easy game to learn, so expect to be shouting “No deal, McCutcheon — that moon money is mine!” in no time (provided you’re well-versed in Simpsons quotes).

“There was a genre I really liked in the ‘90s called space combat/trading games, where you’re usually a Han Solo-type and it’s pretty open-ended,” explains Préfontaine. “Then those types of games died out. It was a friend of mine who came up with the term ‘space capitalism,’ though, which I liked, so it stuck. It’s easier to say than space combat/trading game. Because really, that’s what the game is about: grabbing coins and getting rich.”

Money in the game can be acquired by flying over coins, mining for minerals or fighting against opponents, pirates and cops.

gameplay_02There are a multitude of power-ups to collect and purchase between the game’s two-minute rounds, but Préfontaine says the game always comes down to money. “I wanted to simplify things: money is your hi-score, but you also have to balance it with buying power-ups that could potentially get you more money or drop you out of first place,” he says, adding that he’s currently working on having an auction system when it comes to buying items.

There’s also going to be a single-player venture mode to go along with the three-round multiplayer skirmish mode. If looting in the stars isn’t uncommon enough for you, it should be noted that space in Cashtronauts is purple, brown and other bright, non-black colours.

“I wanted to do something different. If you want, you can say you’re in a nebula,” says Préfontaine. “Or you’re an alien with eyes that make space look purple.” ■

The Cashtronauts tournament takes place at Foonzo (1245 Drummond) on Thursday Feb. 20, 8 p.m. For more info, head here.


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