Herring Head


Version 1.0 for Windows




Herring Head is a computer game for Windows1 that I and the eminent Nicklas Nyström—known to some as the taintless master—created for a project course during our studies at the Strömbacka gymasium2 of our home-town, Piteå, during 2005–2008. The very artistically talented Nicklas drew all the graphics for the game (apart for the death and game clear screens, which was made be his also very artistic older brother, Jimmy), while I, Joakim, was in charge of programming and I was making the sounds.

Due to our lack of knowledge of “real” programming languages, Herring Head was created with Game Maker—a neat tool which offers a newbie-friendly framework for game creation which wasn't all too limiting by our standards back then. Unsurprisingly, we received the highest grade for the project course. In fact, we thought the game turned out so well that it deserved its own CD and case (also made by Jimmy) and we even managed to sell a few copies—five or so—at a fair for young entrepreneurs.


Herring Head is a platformer which also includes some RPG elements as you get to upgrade the different body parts of the main character—a herring-headed creature—the further you progress. Additionally, you can also find various gear to help you advance on your quest. The versatile Herring Head can jump, fly, slash, bite, dig, spit fire, swim and much more. The game includes nine quite brilliant stages with three evil bosses in total; the tree-hating Chopper, the cold-hearted Kaptein and the vile Vileagulator, who all need to be defeated in order for our herring-headed hero to save the world or something.


All the fantastic music in the game was composed by our dear friend, Fredrik Tholerud, while the three not-so-fantastic songs were composed by me, Joakim. If you can manage to figure out which songs are made by whom, send me an email with the correct answer and win a dinner with me!


Praised by its creators as maybe the best game in the world, Herring Head has received very good reception. That is, most of our friends liked it and we received some very nice comments at YoYo Games'3 website where we had uploaded it. Unfortunately, those comments are no longer available, as YoYo Games only showcases games made with newer versions of Game Maker these days.

Future Plans

Due to a deadline for the project course, Herring Head's initial release was a bit rushed and a lot of content was cut for version 1.0. Shortly after the course, we graduated the gymnasium with the intent of eventually finishing the game, including all of the cut content. In total, we planned around one hundred additional stages, as well as additional gear and themes4. However, we both enrolled in university studies and soon discovered better tools for making games: real programming languages. The idea was then to reboot the Herring Head project with our newly acquired programming skills. Unfortunately, this has not happened yet, but the idea is still alive. We are currently debating which platform would be best suitable. To conclude, I can say that development starts the day when I finally convince Nicklas that the Super Nintendo Entertainment System would be the ultimate platform for this type of game. After all, wouldn't the objectively best video game console of all time fit the objectively best video game of all time like a glove in a glove shop?

In-Game Screenshots

1We are very sorry; Our teenage selves didn't know better. :'(

2A gymnasium in Swedish is something similar to senior high-school.

3The current owner of Game Maker

4Some of these cut-out things things should still be present in the Windows executable. (Feel free to interpret this footnote as a hacking challenge.)