For what is now 10 years, an annual event called Global Game Jam (GGJ) has been happening, and as the name implies, it’s been happening all around the globe. Global Game Jam 2018 took place from the 26th to the 28th of January in 109 different countries; including, of course, Brazil and other countries from Latin America. With more than 42.000 people participating at this year’s “jam”, this was “the biggest Game Jam ever”.
If you don’t know what the GGJ is all about or how it works, it’s an event with sites at different states and cities of various countries, where the “jammers”, who are developers, students, designers, musicians or simply people interested in learning and challenging themselves, gather in groups, to program – or better said: to put a game together, in 48 hours. What they don’t tell you until you get there is the theme of the game; each year has its own theme, and this year’s theme was: “Transmission”, a multifaceted theme that can be interpreted in many ways, and so it was; with more than 8.000 games on many different platforms, spanning desktop PCs, mobile, virtual reality, eye-tracking, cardboard for tabletop games and much more.
In this article, we are going to talk about the amazing games developed at this year’s GGJ by Brazilians, Australians and Latin Americans (more specifically Colombians).
Before we start, it is important to note that it can be said that all games developed at the Global Game Jam are indie, since the games are developed using the same free software (Unity) in small groups (the biggest group had 19 participants). It is also worth remembering that some of which today are super famous indie games were created at a GGJ. A few great examples: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and Surgeon Simulator. So, it is possible to learn more about developing indie games at this event, as well as appreciating this growing market and the hard work put into every project – because being an indie developer is challenging, and not always rewarding. That’s why we are going to talk about some projects that deserve special attention.
As we already know, many awesome games were created at this year’s GGJ, but for today, let’s talk about two games per country.
It is no secret that every Brazilian game displayed at the GGJ official website is not only creative, but also very well presented; you can tell they are made with passion and care. Brazilians are known to be great indie game developers. Since the game market is still growing at this tropical land, small groups of developers are common; that’s why all of Brazilians games have such high quality: only real passionate programmers program!
At this year’s “jam”, 510 games were developed by Brazilians; the greatest number between the three countries we are discussing in this article.
Music Paper was created by programmers at the Brazil Game Jam site called Manaus (Ocean). With the “Transmission” theme being very clear and well put in this game, you play as a passionate musician who, after putting his feelings into writing a sheet song, throws it out the window so it would reach anyone who gets it. The gyroscope and swipe are the main controls of the game, and the main objective is to reach musical rings, making the before grayish and sad scenario again colorful with the power of music. Music Paper is available for Android, iPad and iPhone and was developed by Flameseed Game Studio.
Developed at the Indie Warehouse site in Brasília (DF), their game criticizes people who care too much about their phones and too little about real social interaction, displaying them as zombies with phones in their hands. Love Link is available for MS Windows.
Australian programmers developed 251 games at this year’s Global Game Jam, and prepare to laugh, because Australians have shown that they have a great sense of humor, since most of their games are centered on a funny or unexpected story, for example, these two games bellow:
Made by only three participants from Melbourne, this is a two-player (PvP) platformer with a cute design, a funny story and a simple objective. You have to compete against the other player at collecting alien letters to then send them to the Robotta – a cute robot. The one who sends the most letters will win her heart; and the game! Robo Love Triangle is available for MS Windows.
Developed at the AIE Canberra site, in this game you play as a little girl who wants to prove to her family, her town and the whole world that the Sasquatch really exists. In order to prove that the Sasquatch is real, you have to set up sensor trackers around the forest and also get video footage as proof. This super fun game is available for MS Windows.
Colombia had a small but strong “collection” of games this year, with 52 games spanning various themes and styles.
Developed by a large group of nine people at the Global Game Jam Medellin site, this game draws attention by its beautiful and colorful scenario, creative story and well thought gameplay and controls. You play switching between two characters; Magnus, the sun automaton, and Muuya, the moon automaton. They must cooperate to meet each other while living in parallel worlds. Eclipse is available for MS Windows.
With a lot of humor involved, this game was also developed by a group from the Global Game Jam Medellin, drawing attention not only for being funny, but also for being very well programmed and designed. This game takes place at the real Global Game Jam site at UPB Medellin. Your objective is simple: get every other team sick, so your team will be the only one to submit a game in the end. This game is available for MS Windows.
As you can tell by now, the Global Game Jam is a great event for people who are interested in entering the indie game market. All games made there (from the first event in 2009 to the latest this year) are available at their official website here. Let’s all be inspired by these passionate programmers and enjoy their awesome projects! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next year’s GGJ.