So, Game Jam 192 came to a close on Sunday past, the 26th of April to be exact.
After eight glorious (and exhausting) days of idea pitching, art creation, helping each other, working our actual jobs, sleeping very little and doing a bit of game dev, the eight teams that submitted their entries managed to pull together eight pretty decent games.
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention let’s do a quick recap.
Game Jam 192 is the first big-ish event that we have put on since founding Indie Game Squad in January. Although the jam was hosted on the itch.io website we kept it unlisted and promoted it ourselves through the Indie Game Squad social media channels and via the website, hoping to attract local enthusiasts first before opening it up to those further afield.
As the start of the jam approached I reached out to see if we could have some help to promote the event, Brian Baglow of Scottish Games Network did a nice write up promoting the jam and shared it across his channels. Jacqui Taylor of the Moray College UHI marketing department helped us out as well with a nice blurb about the jam and promoted the event over their social media accounts.
We needed a theme for the jam and decided it would be unfair if one of the entrants knew what it was before anyone else, so it was decided we should have an ‘outsider’ choose a theme for us. I got in touch with Phil Harris, a narrative designer in the games industry, to ask if he would like to create the theme for us. Phil was more than happy to help and delivered the theme, by video, on the day of the event.
The Jam kicked off on Friday the 17th of April 2020 at 12 noon, the theme was announced and eight glorious days and nights of delicious games development began. That theme was…
Our Game Jam saw 24 sign ups for the competition, many of those were interacting regularly on the discord server, a multi channel messenger service that we already used for the Indie Game Squad back in January, with special voice and text channels added specifically for the jam to keep the conversation flowing throughout the eight days. And Discord did its job well! There were regular development progress updates and screenshots from many of the teams, lots of discussion around ideas, problem solving amongst different teams, and just the usual chatter you’d expect when you put a gaggle of gamer enthusiasts in reach of a keyboard and a screen with a problem to solve.
So who were the teams, what did they make and where can ya see them and where are they now the jam is done and dusted? Well let’s take a run through and see…
Random Games Guy created a track building game that uses physics allowing you to push your car off the starting block, free falling down the track and hitting the twists ‘n’ turns trying to get to the end before the car grinds to a halt or flips off and falls to its doom. The physics behaves like a real car would, even if your track was the same every-time the car will behave just a little differently, meaning you want to try it ‘just one more time’ to see if you can get the car to hit that jump or make that twist.
This game is under active development and has already had a few tweaks since Sunday, so make sure you keep an eye out for new features. we’ll cover updates on the site as well.
Player Stu Games took on his first jam with about a month’s worth of unity under his belt and produced a classic platformer game called Streetlight Scramble. You collect coins on your way home, taking the somewhat creepy route down Willow Avenue which is full of creepy retro baddies to avoid and cavernous gaps to jump! The lighting in the game works well and a nice little idle animation adds to the nostalgia of the game style.
Innes White produced an arcade racer with a twist. You are a toddler on a trip to the supermarket and you need to collect the beer in the isles and get to the checkout before your time runs out. Trolley Trip is crazy fun with a flopping, flailing toddler gripping onto the trolley as you throw it around corners, smashing into the products. You can follow Innes on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM to see what he’s up to now.
Remember the classic film Hackers? Well Stikkz Media created a game based (very loosely) on that very film! You play a team of hacker babies that are trying to take over a TV station, track down the bad guys, stop the FBI from hacking them and trying to ‘Hack the Gibson’ in the finale. Now this is no Bret Hart, but the idea is there, a mix of platformer levels and puzzles. The game is going to be developed further, although it may end up looking completely different just remember that it was born out of Game Jam 192.
Dinnae Ken Games presented us with Broken Windows. This “Short Experience” takes us on a trip down memory lane presenting the user with a classic windows system, power buttons and all. This was a great original idea, a really fun concept and Phil Harris chose Broken Windows for the ‘Spirit of Game Jam 192’ award!
I don’t want to ruin anything for you if you haven’t played it yet, so go check out this award winning game for yourself! I believe that this game is going to receive some polish and tweaks, follow Dinnae Ken Games on TWITTER and TWITCH for updates and other news.
Two Guys No Game, a team of two guys who had a game, came up with a unique take on the world of vengeance with a tree-mendous idea. You control a tree-antula who’s out for revenge and closure, taking back from those who have wrong it’s people for thousands of years. This linear adventure is fun to play, with nice graphics, a catchy soundtrack and a tree that moves like a spider! You need to use stealth and cunning to avoid getting the chop and eat your way to victory. Sounds weird, but works brilliantly. Go and show this game some love and we’ll keep you updated on future developments.
If you’ve ever wanted to fling a trolley down a supermarket aisle while trying to complete your shopping list then Supermarket Strokes from Run, Grizzly! Is the answer to your dreams. This mini golf game sees the player pulling back the trolley, taking aim…and BOOM, releasing your cart onto a path of destruction, collecting all six of your grocery items before heading for the check out, all in as fewa strokes as possible. The graphics will be sure to stir some nostalgia in those that remember morning TV from the 90’s while the gameplay, procedurally generated shopping lists and the need to be better than your last round will see you playing this game over and over while humming the annoyingly catchy, and very appropriate elevator music. This title is in active development, we’ll be covering updates in a few weeks, but follow Run, Grizzly! Across TWITTER and INSTAGRAM to stay in the loop.
80’s Kid from Frozen Well Studios. This perfect pixelart platformer immediately screams 80’s, and not just because it’s literally in the title, but because the retro styling, the procedurally generated rooms are all themed on classic arcade games and items from the era of big hair and amazing music. The game sees the player controlling 80’s kid who’s stuck in a nightmare, trying to find enough coins to go to the arcade. The game play is true to the games of olde, where you need to have the pixel perfect jumps to dodge the bad guys, collect the coins and hit that win screen. With each new game the levels are never the same, keeping you coming back for just one more shot, and Frozen Wells have included easy and hard options as well as a handy ‘infinite lives’ toggle so that everyone has a chance to beat this award winning game!
We wrapped up Game Jam 192 on Sunday via Discord with the awards announcements. Phil Harris gave everyone some feedback on what he thought of the games and announced Dinnae Ken Gamess submission ‘Broken Windows’ with the “Spirit of Game Jam 192” award an honorable and well deserved mention.
After a bit of feedback and chat between everyone else we then moved onto the big one, the prestigious award sought throughout the games industry… the winner of Game Jam 192!
Frozen Well Studios with 80’s Kid
Check out all the results and different criteria the games were rated on at ITCH.IO
As you now know we had 24 people sign up for Game Jam 192, of those 24 we had eight final submissions, but we know from the conversation and interaction on Discord throughout the jam that there were several other teams working on their entries.
We were seeing progress reports and screen shots of how their games were coming along, and they looked good, but alas some of the teams just ran out of time. Some had other commitments that took priority and other hit some technical difficulties at the last hurdle.
Signing up to take part in a game jam can be a big enough hurdle as it is, especially in the current climate, and getting to the finish line is a massive task, so for those who never managed to submit your games this time, please don’t beat yourself up, you did a great job staying focused and sharing your game dev journey with us, and hopefully you took something positive away from the jam that you can apply to your next one. I really hope that you push on with the project you started and get it uploaded to Itch, or somewhere online, and when you do drop us a message so that we can check it out!
And that was the end of the Jam, we put a bow on it with all of the games being streamed on Twitch by Stikkz Media and Dinnae Ken Games a day later where most of the entrants, plus a few inquisitive drop ins, joined the stream to chat and discuss the games and the jam in general. The stream was a nice finish to the whole event, and with that, it really was done…
So, this was the first jam from Indie Game Squad, from the feedback I’ve had so far it seems to have been a success, I certainly enjoyed the eight days of design and dev work, we had excellent game submissions, and saw some great development and communication from those who missed the deadline (don’t be discouraged there’s always next time!), it just leaves me to throw out some thank yous and then you can get on with your day.
Thanks to Phil Harris for coming up with the theme, chatting to the jammers and for choosing this years ‘Spirit of Game Jam 192”.
Thank you Nicole Abuid for the nice article you wrote about the Jam and Indie Game Squad for SGN.
Cheers to Jamie Morrison who helped get everything set up and kept me right throughout and to the Indie Game Squad members for suggestions and input.
But the biggest thanks goes to everyone who took part in the game jam, without you we would have had a pretty short Twitch stream! You all put in a massive effort and should be proud of the games you produced… let’s see if you can pull it off again at the next one!