New Release: The Infamous, Lost Dungeon Kid

NOTE – The interview was an April Fool’s joke. However the games themselves you can download along with the design docs and source code are very much real. Enjoy!

It was the year 2002: A young man took it upon himself to establish a video game company. His name was Dustin R. Hubbard.

Under the name of Spooky Tornado Studio, he along with his cohorts planned to publish phone games for Mophun & J2ME enabled mobile devices. The cell phone was a new and lucrative software market, where one would not only have to pay for the game itself, but the data to download it.

A photo of Hubbard during his gaming career.

His website stated: “Spooky Tornado Studio has set out to create the best games and applications for the mobile phone platform. We believe in creating games that are addictive, fun and well-designed by embracing the cell phone’s limitations as its strengths.” 

While researching J2ME games of this era, I saw the game Number Drop was credited to Hubbard. This led me to an IMDB page for a producer of mostly B-movies with titles such as Terror at Blood Fart Lake (2009) and Cocaine Granny (2023). I quickly realized this was not him.

Thankfully, it was seconds later that I found a lead! 

I managed to find an email contact for Mr. Hubbard, so I sent him a message. He responded, “WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME ABOUT THIS?” Upon further explaining my intent he never responded back. I pondered what happened here. 

Further searching by a hired private investigator brought up something interesting. In the early 2010s, Dustin had helped pioneer a currency that is now known as BubsyCoin. Fascinated by this new development, I knew I had to dig deeper. What could pawssibly go wrong?

I took a visit to a bar in central Oklahoma where I was told I could locate Mr. Hubbard. The bar was empty, except for a lone man with a buzz cut, gazing into space – a cold one in his hand – as if longing for the warm hum and buzz of a scannerWe struck up a conversation. Several Sapporos later, I had convinced him to let me look through his attic. After looking through dozens of boxes filled with old magazines and questionable photos of Norman Caruso, I had found what I was looking for.

Here it was, the design document of the fabled Dungeon Kid. Dungeon Kid was slated to be released on Mophun and J2ME powered phones in early 2004 by Spooky Tornado. However, something went wrong and the game was mysteriously never released despite being touted on the website as being so.

The design document states: “You are Daryl the Dungeon Kid. You travel the world seeking the greatest and rarest treasures it has to offer. You’ve been traveling for a while hearing strange rumors of a dungeon that’s very unique. It seems that every time it’s entered, it’s a completely new dungeon. Many traps and monsters live within this mysterious lair as well, but those that have made it back alive have brought back treasures never seen before.

“Finally, outside of the small town of Lefaria, you find the mysterious cave that leads to this dungeon. You step inside with a small bag of belongings and your wits. Can you enter and escape with the great treasures this cave holds? Or will you become just another skeleton lining the dungeon walls? It all depends on your choices.”

It’s a floor-based dungeon crawler, each floor randomly generated. Daryl is able to swap out a weapon, armor, and an accessory; the player has eight inventory slots. The goal is to find the “ultimate treasures” and to escape the dungeon alive. Thy Dungeon Kid can move North, South, East, and DENNIS. From the third floor onwards, up to two chests can actually be “mimics” that attack the player.

Alongside Dungeon Kid, there were some additional documents that had sales data for the company’s lone cell phone release, Number Kid. It sold a record-breaking 57 copies.

Finally, there was one further discovery: A game called Funny Faces. In D.R. Hubbard’s words, “I have another even earlier PC game I forgot I made with the programmer of Dungeon Kid called Funny Faces which is just a basic match three or four puzzle game. I think we made it in my senior year in high school. In those days these types of games were allllll the rage (hic).

After letting me sift through his attic, Mr. Hubbard passed out and I left him while he mumbled about 1200DPI and Fujitsu scanners in his drunken slumber.

In a later email I asked him about what he thought about his time in the games industry. He responded with an aggressive rant, ending with this final statement on the matter.

“Heres an idea, don’t write to me about old games and business I couldn’t give a crap about. Look up from your phone, then smash it, and take your country back from big brother. I made that game nearly 20 friggin’ years ago. It was Ok then, its garbage now. STOP DIGGING INTO THIS AND PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT THE GOVT IS DOING!!!!,”” 

Despite this unfortunate end to the story, I decided to write up my findings and release Dungeon Kid in all its glory. The only fully working build he had was a beta but it’s close to final and playable by a Mophun emulator which you can now enjoy by downloading at a link below.

Hubbard also said I could publicly release all his “other crap” as he put it. You can find Number Drop and Funny Faces below as well as design documents and source code! He lamented being too stupid to figure out how to create a non demo build of Dungeon Kid with the final code but grumbled that maybe someone else could figure it out.

Download Spooky Tornado Games – Source Code – Design Docs
Downlooad Mophun Emulator (Needed for Dungeon Kid and Number Drop)

Scribbled notes found along with the games –

Funny Faces doesn’t seem to run on modern Windows OS’s, not sure why but i got it to run fine on my old Windows XP Machine. You can also make and play with your own graphics! There’s a MOD zip I included of alternate graphics I made years ago and here’s the directions for how to make your own from the install –

How would you like to change all the graphics, music, and sounds in Funny Faces? It’s not too hard! Here’s how:

  1. Create a new directory (the name can not have any spaces) inside the Funny Faces directory.
  2. Copy the Data, Graphics, Music, and Sound folders from the Funny Faces directory into your new directory.
  3. Create a shortcut in the Funny Faces directory pointing to the Funny Faces exe. Change the shortcut parameters so that it adds a – and then
    your folder name to the command line when calling Funny Faces.
  4. Now, feel feel free to change the graphics/music/sounds/data in your new folder at will! However, be mindful of certain restrictions/things to keep in mind. Here’s a brief description:
    data\numframes.txt – contains the number of faces, and the number of animation frames for each face
    data\leveldata.txt – contains the level requirements for each level in the standard game
    data\music.txt – contains all the music files to load. Remember, the first file mentioned is ALWAYS the intro theme.
    data\backgrounds.txt – contains all the backgrounds to choose from.
  5. All of the graphics, except for the various backgrounds (NOT including background.bmp), should retain their file names. The RGB value for the background or transparent color of each image is 255, 0, 255. This color will not show up. All the sound files should retain their old names. ALL the formats must be the same. Music is in the OGG-Vorbis music format. Some of the images are in .bmp and .jpg. All of the SFX are in .WAV format. All backgrounds should be .jpg. This can not be changed. We apologize if our description on how to MOD is lacking. Just experiment and play around and hopefully you’ll be able to figure it out. We include a sample mod, ExampleMOD, to demonstrate MODing. Now, instead of running Funny Faces.exe, run your shortcut instead. Your MOD should start playing.

Dungeon Kid the build not labeled demo is near final as far as I can tell but might still have some bugs. The final versions unfortunately were built in demo mode and end after 5 minutes. I am not sure how to rebuild these without the demo mode from the source code as I am not a programmer. But maybe someone can figure it out, if you do let me know! I’d love to have demoless builds for both final versions.

For both Number Drop and Dungeon Kid you’ll need to go to Options on the Mophun Emulator and set the proper phone profile for the game to play as it would naturally so be aware of that. The filenames are labeled to note which phone model they are for.

Credits for the Games –

Graphics & Design (All Games) –

Dustin R. Hubbard

Programming –

Brian Sowers (Dungeon Kid, Funny Faces)
Austin Russell (Number Drop)

Producer –

Jonathan Denmark (Number Drop)

Music –

Grant Hutchins (Number Drop)
Stephen Malcolm-Howell (Funny Faces)
Jim Paterson (Dungeon Kid)

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