Demon Deleter is a game in a spreadsheet
Typically, I would associate Google Docs with work and any form of spreadsheet with even more work, but indie game developer “droqen” made me re-evaluate that prospect. He is the developer of the 2D platform games Starseed Pilgrim and Probability 0, and now Demon Deleter, a game in which you have to remove the names of a group of demons from a spreadsheet. It’s a simple yet surprisingly fun idea that brings players together in this unusual shared space. The inspiration behind this is pretty hit and miss too – droqen tells me he came up with the idea after spending hours cataloging stuff for Animal Crossing.
“I’ve always been interested in ‘shared spaces’ online, but I know how much work it takes to create them,” droqen says. “It’s easy to make a spreadsheet and invite people to it, but the problem is, there is no ‘game’ for people to engage in socializing. . ”
When you first open Demon Deleter (which you can play for free via Itch.io), you land in Purgatory (aka Google Sheets). It’s basically a waiting room for anyone who wants to play, so a lot of people aren’t all playing with Demon Suppression at the same time. This is where you’ll find the leaderboard, space for reviews, general chatter, and most importantly, the rules.
The concept is simple: there is a grid of demons, and you have to remove all of their names. When you select the game tab, you are informed in the order in which you should remove them. If you get it wrong, you have to reset and start over. The goal is to do it as quickly as possible, which is tricky when groping the keys. You can suppress the demons however you like, although droqen encourages players to use various keyboard commands to get the job done, like “cell jump”, to make it a bit more difficult.
“I was helping my partner with their Animal Crossing cataloging and using Google Sheets to filter lists and item lists, and if you’ve tried Demon Deleter you can imagine the kind of thing I was doing in the sheet. calculation… “droqen told me.
“So as not to get too deep in the weeds of Animal Crossing’s work, but she had a list of items and the number of items we had spread out on the floor did not match the number of items in this list, ”he adds. “So I had the items in four columns in a spreadsheet and was deleting items while she read them from Animal Crossing. And halfway it started to get FUN.”
At first droqen was just going to do a little solo spreadsheet game, but then remembered Spreadsheet MMO, a game his friend “quasiotter” created for a Spreadsheet jam game earlier this year. To tell the truth, I took a good look at the mmo spreadsheet and I don’t understand how it was played at all. I think people take turns filling a cell, playing a role in exchanging goods and going on expeditions. All I know for sure is that this is a very colorful spreadsheet full of absolute nonsense, which is a sign that it has been enjoyed by a bunch of people.
Demon Deleter has similar community vibes, with random cells containing snippets of conversation and commentary about the game. The social aspect is really more important than the game itself, removing demons is pretty much something to do. while you chat with strangers. The Guestbook section in particular has premium quotes, and even an escaped demon:
“Damn, I never thought I’d die in an Excel sheet – M”
“I suppressed demons, but in doing so, did I become one myself? – Ryan”
“FUCK you and your puny DELTE KEY – Kinpharaph”
Chances are I’m just jaded that I’ve played too many first-person shooters where players are usually awful to each other, but there’s something special about seeing strangers interacting so nicely and anonymously in a random environment like this. Demon Deleter also has one of the nicest review sections I think I’ve ever seen.
“I made a column for reviews and for people to sign their names on the sheet itself, and I think it was a nice place where people left their thoughts and things like that,” says droqen. “I’m surprised the response was so pleasant, there are more reviews on this subject than the Steam reviews of the game I posted last year! Of course, these reviews aren’t behind a pay wall and are sort of “part of the game” but it’s a fun comparison to make. ”