After playing Link's Awakening DX, I made Trade Around as an homage to the Legend of Zelda series' trading side-quests, in which players find and trade otherwise useless items to NPCs across the entirety of the game's main story. Though the trading quests of LoZ are largely optional, I was struck by the simple mechanics and fascinated by the way an ongoing sidequest was running like a chain throughout the rest of the game. Trading doesn't involve violence, either, and I wanted to make another non-violent game after completing S. Pet.
I built the game for people seeking a laid-back and (mostly) positive experience. As the player explores a GameBoy Color-era forest they must talk to their neighbors and return with a trinket to satisfy each one's desires. Meanwhile the player can enjoy a delightful soundtrack composed by Mark Mara (arranged by myself to imitate the GameBoy's sound chip).
Following the completion of all 24 trades, the trading dialogue tree is removed and replaced with a simple divination dialogue tree. At this point, when the player talks to one of their neighbors, the game rolls for a random entry in a 64-page book, and the chosen entry is shared with the player. Inspired by the I Ching, this post-game state continues in the vein of some of my past works, including Cloud Message, in which a group of cloud observers drew a deck of cards for divination.