CHUDCHUD Industries’ Dumpster Dive! is billed as “an endless runner through garbage and trash”. You slide your customizable pixelated punk rocker up and down as they fly toward the right side of the screen, collecting pizza and burgers and corndogs (which boost your score and speed) while avoiding broken glass and trash bags. Colliding with these slows you down and knocks off one of your hearts. Three collisions means you have to start over.
The game’s got a few different metrics of success: Score multipliers increase as you collect items without missing any or getting hit. Distance dove is tracked, marked every fifty meters with a dotted line. Avoiding picking up items will keep your score down, but by not speeding up you may have a better chance of diving farther. Each of the three stages has a list of star challenges based on these metrics (collect 150 pizzas, dive 500m). Only one stage is unlocked at the beginning. Completing these star challenges unlocks the others.
I’m not very good at these kinds of games: Once the speed starts going and the multipliers start climbing, I lose focus and slide and tap all over the screen, usually running into obstacles three times in a row and losing. But I have managed to collect most of the cassette tapes you find in your dives, which unlock different audio tracks by bands that sound like they’ve played more than a few loud, dirty basements.
That’s my favorite part about Dumpster Dive!, the feeling that it’s also a punk rock mixtape. The audio selection menu that lists the songs in the game link directly to the bands’ websites, making it pretty easy to find out more about them (if that kind of punk is your thing). It’s the word-of-mouth reciprocity that makes DIY communities so vibrant and exciting. It’s not surprising that the main CHUDCHUD Industries website is divided into Music, Games and Zines sections. Dumpster Dive! is part of a larger body of work, a game that sits alongside its creator’s other efforts in an oeuvre that expands beyond videogames.
Brian Taylor has played a few basement shows and has been known to zine on occasion.