The Night Balloonists (2010)

The Night Balloonists was originally created for the GAMMA 4 One Button Games competition. Like all games created for GAMMMA 4 it uses only a single button per player. No arrow keys, mouse, joystick or d-pad. GAMMA games are meant to be played in a large social setting with people playing short bursts while others spectate. The Night Balloonists is optimized for these settings and has included a continuous side display that teaches spectators the basic gameplay. However we've found it also plays great if you have a few friends over and want a good quick party game to play together. The one button interface makes it a great game to play with non gamers who are intimidated by complex controls.

We have also tried to optimize the game for 'one-switch' devices used by players with disabilities. If you use such a device and have found our setup doesn't work for you give us a shout. That said, the game inherently requires fast precise button presses and 'double tapping' so it may not be suitable for all players.

Requires Windows XP or better. Due to some of the background animation effects it may not play on older computers. Full gamepad support including rumble on Xbox360 gamepads.


...a deliciously atmospheric competitive game ... There’s a surprising amount of drama and strategy given the simplicity of the one button control scheme.
— Paul Sottosanti, Senior Systems Designer, Darkspore

Video With Developer Commentary

Custom Controller

While The Night Balloonist's plays great at home with a couple of friends it was always meant to be played with a crowd. Inspired by the Copenhagen Game Collective's custom controller for their game B.U.T.T.O.N we had the 4UP built. The 4UP is a custom 4 button controller with glowing coloured buttons that match the one's on a Xbox 360, created just for playing The Night Balloonists. It was unveiled at Hand Eye Society Social #11 and was built by the talented Jonathan Seguin and Tino Kapetaneas.


Will there ever be a Mac/Linux version?
Unlikely. As much as we'd like to have it available for all operating systems the older version of GameMaker The Night Balloonists was created in doesn't easily support porting to Mac or Linux.

I'm Getting an "XINPUT1_3.dll not found" error / My gamepad isn't working.
You'll need to update your copy of Direct X from here.

The game doesn't quit when I hit Esc.
This is an intermittent issue with newer versions of Windows and games created with GameMaker 8 and earlier. You can still exit by hitting Alt+F4.

Blog Entries Mentioning The Night Balloonists


Miguel Sternberg - Art, Sound & Game Design
Andrij Pilkiw - Programming

Created using Game Maker 7.0 Pro

In addition the following 3rd party dlls were used:
GMXInput.dll by Yellowsix
supersound.dll by tsg1zzn

Sound effects include audio from and are
used under a Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License.
These sounds were created by the following users:

AGFX - andriala - Benboncan - delphidebrain
Dynamicell - fabe - junggle - pengo_au - petenice
Pogotron - Rock Savage - sagetyrtlee

All music is from Apple Garage Band’s default loops.