Cancer Wars

Apparently jet lag (GDC will do that you), over 50 unanswered emails (I blame GDC) and trying to prototype multiple game ideas (also GDC’s fault) at once isn’t the most productive working environment. Who would have known. And before traveling to San Francisco I was thinking that it wouldn’t be too difficult to do a game after the conference; having a head full of ideas I wanted to test out. Anyway I patched together this prototype in two days. Unfortunately it isn’t nearly as finished as I would like it to be. I’m not sure if the game mechanism even “works”…

It’s a two player game, played with a single mouse. There is no single player mode in the game! Also there isn’t any instructions in the game, so please read the written instructions before trying it out. And to reset the game you have to manually “reset” the game, by closing and restarting the program.

Cancer Wars

Cancer Wars shot Cancer Wars shot Cancer Wars shot

DOWNLOAD: (2.4 Mb)


You play as pink and green stomach cancers, who mainly survive by consuming large amounts of beer (yellow liquid in the stomach). The goal of the game is to harvest enough of the beer to fill out your resource meter. Who ever fills their resource meter first wins the game.

To harvest the beer try to get as much of the beer into your cancer mouth as possible. You can build constructions by dragging cancer pieces from the “shop”. You can rotate the pieces (while dragging) with the mouse wheel. Every piece you build will cost you some amount of resources. The bombs will allow you to destroy cancer pieces from the stomach.

Trouble shootting

If you have problems getting the game to run I’d suggest on installing the newest
DirectX 9.0c drivers and making sure you have .Net Framework 2.0 installed.


Game Design, Code & Gfx: Petri Purho ( petri.purho (at) )

Background image is PauloVicente‘s BAR MUNICH – Interior, which is freely available at under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. The graphics of the game are under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic lisence.

Music: John Cage – 4′33″ (used under fair use license).

Inspiration source: Experimental Gameplay Project.

Cancer Wars uses: SDL and SDL_rotozoom .

39 Responses to “Cancer Wars”

  1. agrash Says:

    Great idea but how do you mantle/lean those straight lines like in your screenshots?
    Otherwise its almost impossible to play or it would take you like an hour

  2. Chase Says:

    when is crayon physics deluxe coming, is it this year.

  3. Katy Says:

    Your music selection made me laugh.

  4. brian Says:

    game barely works and impossible to beat

  5. Petri Purho Says:

    @brian: I agree with you. I finally managed to test the game properly as a two player game and I noticed that it doesn’t really work. Consider it a failed experiment.

  6. Timmy Says:

    Can u spend more time on deluxe because not much people like those wierd games

  7. Noobos Says:

    I’m not able to run the game, and I’m sure it’s not my fault. Generally it’s a pity that you are making two players game… I think that there aren’t many people that have a chance to play with someone else on the same computer. And please please can you release crayon psysics soon? I’m dying with impatience.

    Well if you want to hear my opinion I think that your games made before the Rolling Boulder (including it) was great! With humour, with idea, with playability… Just great. But the others… well… it suck. (Boody zombies was fun, but you cannot die… nor lose…)

  8. chris Says:

    we’re all waiting for crayon physics. Don’t “waste” your time for other games – just finish crayon physics and we’re all happy 🙂

  9. Chance Says:

    @Chris, Timmy, and Chase

    Let him do his thing. Petri came up with Crayon Physics by making these “wierd” games.

  10. Ssscott Says:

    I do like all the crazy games because i love to mod them and play around with the physics etc.
    Crayon Physics shouldnt be rushed otherwise bugsd etc might still be left in it,
    just let it be done when its done.

  11. Stuart P. Bentley Says:

    Nice one on the music. Is this turn-based? I haven’t downloaded it yet.

  12. McWonderBeast Says:

    I cant wait to play this. And it would be cool to at least get a progress update on CPD

  13. Faguss Says:

    Well, great that you made a multi player game on one computer (don’t listen to noobos). It can be fun if fixed.

    But some problems:
    1. Is there any music?
    2. Game is endless because bars depress. For a dynamism game should end quick (but not so quick, find the compromise)
    3. It often happens that I can’t choose any options. It shouldn’t be like that.

    I see you’ve got a problem because “people” instead of comment your new game are asking for crayons. Here’s a remedy: make a surprise and don’t release it, leave whining bastards in torment OR release crayon dummy-program and then say: “What do you want? I released Crayons!”

  14. Faguss Says:

    And for last but not least, to get a good example of multi player game on one computer necessarily play(&analyze) with friend Puzzle Bobble (Mame or Winkawaks) AND Money Idol Exchanger (Neo-geo; gameplay is better than it’s graphics 🙂 ).

  15. Matt Says:

    I agree with Chance. Do your thing Petri; if it’s good enough to win IGF, it’s certainly worth the wait.

  16. garyyo Says:

    we will always love you no matter how crappy and imposible your games become.
    ok, that was a lie.

  17. zzzdude Says:

    Yes, the rotation of the pieces is an apparent problem that people cannot overcome, it is almost as bad as “a tribute to the rolling boulder” with wall jumping.
    I think you should specify the answer../

  18. Timmy Says:

    OK i get what you are all saying, let him do his thing and hes still experimenting

  19. Ryan Says:

    Hey, I just wanted to say to you Petri,

    I am a great fan of your works, and I greatly admire what you do. To just keep making prototype games is brilliant, and I have always enjoyed your games. I’ve been checking out your site for about a year now, and I must say, I’m impressed.

    So don’t listen to the people who say you should quit all your other games and just do CPD, because I think that all these “wierd” games are the at the core of your successes. Personally, the wierder the game is, the more I like it 😛

    I will download and play this new game next chance I get, and I eagerly await the first working version of CPD.

    Thanks for the great games!

  20. Faguss Says:

    Well, don’t listen to the people who tells to release Crayons. You don’t want to be one game-man, do you? :]

  21. Nathan Says:

    +1 Crayon Physics Deluxe.

    Mate, I am guessing that a whole lot of cash would be a great motivator and give you a certain amount of freedom in designing games and having the time to do so. I hope you realise that once you get CPD onto the market as a saleable product you are really going to rake in some cash. Really. Not just saying that because I intend to buy it (I do), but because this game has a real viral quality to it and the amount of press you have received is going to go to waste if you take too long and allow it to dissipate. I can respect that you have your own goals of releasing experimental games regularly, but I think in this case, you might consider taking a short break from that and putting all your energy into getting this out. This is going to sell. You are going to make a lot of money from it. Focus on it, get it out the door and reap the monetary rewards and further exposure you’ll get for your experimental games afterwards.

  22. Mupf Says:

    Hallo Mr Petri,

    I love your experimental Games… but the latest Gametitel let me shudder.
    Have a phobia concerning this disease and can’t any longer visit your Web page nor playing this new Game.

    I’m sorry.

    best regards, Mupf

  23. Bleh Says:

    Yes, don’t listen to those n00bz0rz!

    I love your random stuff 😛

  24. andreas Says:

    I’m really looking forward to CPD. Maybe an little update in the blog? Some status?

  25. Chance Says:

    Ahhh! for some reason I can’t see the comments on the second page. When I click on the 2, » , or Show All at the bottom it won’t go to the next page. Can someone help?

  26. Chance Says:

    wait..dam. I wont be able to read it!

  27. Rob Says:

    Congrats on another game release!
    Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try it out soon.

    Unlike a few others who have commented, I find it rather impressive that you manage to work on other games while still having normal work/life and CPD going at the same time.

    I’m also impressed with the creative and unique ideas you keep coming up with for games.
    I wish I had the same dedication and talent as you.

    I have no doubt that you’ll have more successes like CPD in the future.

    Good luck 🙂

  28. Faguss Says:

    Yeah, right, listen to Nathan, he’s right, it’s only about money.

  29. cactus Says:

    Damn, you beat me to releasing a game after GDC!

    Interesting idea, as usual. Can’t believe the comments I’m reading here, though. Pretty funny that everyone thinks they’re wise enough to tell you what to do 😛

  30. Balthazar Auger Says:

    Hey Petri, bet you didn’t see this one coming eh?

    Anyways, we didn’t get enough chances to chat with you suddenly becoming this big star and all 😉 , if you ever come to Paris I’ll be glad to buy you a drink or two to feed our poor internal cancer warriors.

    two players / one input device… I think you got something there. What would that control scheme do in a non-turn based game? Interestingness!!

    Hang in there dude.

  31. McWonderBeast Says:

    I unfortunately was disappointed with cancer wars. Im personally not a fan of two player games this is what ultimately killed it for me. But as a single player prototype i think it has some potential, with some upgrades of the pieces and a system of levels and points i think the game could go somewhere.

    And to all you People who just want CPD calm down im sure he wants to make the game as good as he possibly can, i mean some of the games he made have entertained me for hours and they didnt take long to make so with all thsi extra time imagine how friggin amazing CPD will be.

    Keep up the Good work Man!

  32. Spunkycomics Says:

    i love to play the wierd games, dont listen to everyone else. Take your time with CP and it will be better.
    although…..i have to admit this cancer one doesnt exactly work too well…. :p

  33. Lobster Says:

    Nope, can’t get to work. I’ve tried installing the DirectX 9.0c drivers as well as the .Net Framework 2.0, but all I’m getting is “Sovelluksen käynnistäminen epäonnistui, koska sovelluksen kokoonpano on viallinen…”


  34. Kevin Says:

    how can you download crayon phisices?


  35. Charvel Says:

    Why wont it let me play?
    it says open with windows explorer, and then it doesn’t do anything..
    is there something i missed?
    I already hae both the things you said to download, and yes, the newest versions.
    What’s happening?
    I want to play!!

  36. ormila Says:

    hi very goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood veblog

  37. Gandalf Says:

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

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