One day Organ Trail developer The Men Who Wear Many Hats received a solicitous e-mail about penis pills. The subject heading: Max Gentlemen. Clearly, the two-person team (they wear many hats, after all) just had to make a game based on this preposterous phrase.
"We never read that e-mail; instead we dreamt up the world of Max Gentlemen," the developer explained on its successful Kickstarter from last November. So what does the phrase "Max Gentlemen" mean to The Men Who Wear Many Hats?
It gave the studio the idea to make "an arcade-style extreme manners simulator about stacking hats." Lots of hats. So. Many. Hats.
This takes the form of a variety of mini-games where you're brawling, picnicking, stagecoach riding, and flying out of a cannon all in an effort to procure more hats, while avoiding obstacles that will topple your stack.
Initially developed for an arcade cabinet in a game jam, the experimental joke game got lots of positive feedback, so the Chicago-based indie studio crowdfunded it into a commercial release.
Now Max Gentlemen is out as a free offering on PC, Mac and Linux via Steam, as well as on iOS and Android devices.
If you'd like to support The Men Who Wear Many Hats monetarily, you can always buy more items and stages in a couple of small £1.99 DLC packs. These include new characters like Octodad and Vlambeer's Rami Ismail as a dapper bear.
Eurogamer contributor Rich Stanton was a big fan of The Men Who Wear Many Hats' previous mobile game, Organ Trail. "Organ Trail is a great idea, and its execution moves it far beyond a grisly tribute act," he wrote in his App of the Day appraisal. "It's not that any one of its elements is exceptional so much as the world they create together, a low-fi apocalypse that's freaky precisely because so much of it is left to imagination."