In FLIPSIDE the player takes on the identity of a mental patient with extreme mood changes who is planning his escape from the insane asylum in which he is being held. The imaginary escape through the landscape surrounding the insane asylum will bring him to safety on the ship from the people who want to take him back to the asylum. The escape takes place in a world put together from cardboard pieces and jumping jacks decorated with magazine cuttings, stickers and other. Those objects come alive in his mind as he fantasizes about the obstacles he will face and how to defeat them. As the main character is a hospitalized mental patient nothing in the game is “normal” – every experience is an extreme and caricatured perspective on what a “real” experience could have been like.

After only a few brainstorm sessions the core concept specified a platform game in a universe consisting of flat 2D objects placed in 3D space. Using a flat universe blended nicely together with the idea of working on a main character that had two sides to his personality. On one side he would be super happy, almost deliriously so, whereas on the other he would be angry and boundary frantic. Allowing the player to flip between those two states of the game world has remained the backbone of the concept throughout the development process.

During the concept development it became clear the game would target an audience of children aged 6-12. Testing a late prototype of the game with this target audience turned out to be very interesting, as the subjects thought the caricature was new and interesting compared to the orcs, racing cars and spaceships they are used to.