Video Game: Ninth Rock
Ninth Rock is a third-person Platformer created in the fall of 2011 by a team of five game design students from the University of Houston with help from Time Gate Studios (of Section 8 fame and Aliens: Colonial Marines infamy).Spencer, a young astronomy nerd, has just learned that Pluto has been demoted to dwarf planet status due to its small size. Since it was his favorite planet, he's more than a little upset and sets out to infiltrate MASA to give the planet a little more mass.
- Bland-Name Product / Writing Around Trademarks: MASA, Spacebook
- Cargo Ship: Examining the computer screens reveals an ode to the humble moon brick from a man who is "more than just bicurious".
- Creator Cameo: The news anchor who appears in the opening sequence is in fact the lead programmer.
- Enemy Chatter: Guards will randomly mumble to themselves as they patrol.
- Failed a Spot Check: The guards often fail to notice Spencer hiding behind a waist-high partition.
- Fat Idiot: The guards are portly fellows who are probably lucky to have three brain cells to share between the entire team.
- Fat Slob: The guards. Part of their Enemy Chatter includes finding food in their pockets.
- Gone Horribly Right: Pluto does indeed become larger - larger than Jupiter, even! A sequel was discussed in which the resultant increase in mass causes a proportionate increase in gravity and threatens to throw the whole solar system out of balance, but it never materialized.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: There's a team of security guards patrolling parts of MASA (but not the public areas, apparently, even though it's technically closed at night). They are large, dim-witted, and give up chasing the player quite easily.
- Platform Game
- Pluto Is Expendable: The driving force behind the plot is Pluto's expendability and making it less expendable.
- Punny Name: MASA was originally conceived as an obvious take on NASA, but becomes funny when you realize that Pluto's problem is a lack of mass(a).
- Swiss Cheese Security: Spencer tells his mom there's a sleepover at MASA so he can get a ride to the facility, then just waltzes inside with no trouble whatsoever (the front door isn't even locked).
- Unexpected Game Play Change: Most of the game is a light platformer consisting of running and jumping. One of the latter challenges involves using a crane to move crates to block the vision of guards, and the final task is a spherical maze which must be manipulated to collect all the energy orbs and get them inside.
- Talking to Himself: One guy provides the voices of both Spencer and all the guards.
- Vocal Dissonance: Spencer is your average prepubescent child with a fitting voice. His voice actor is a grown man who is at least 6'2" and 250 lbs., give or take.
- You All Look Familiar / Faceless Goons: The guards are all identical, and apparently even share a name.
- Spencer: How many Charles Bronsons work here?