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Global Games Jam Bristol – The Aftermath

February 3, 2012

So the Global Games Jam has come and gone 😦  At the beginning of a jam, the theme for the games made over the weekend is sprung on the participants.  For Global Games Jam the theme was Ouroboros. (I notice with interest that there is a rash of edits to the Wikipedia page about this around the 27th January when the theme was revealed.)  In Bristol we had a packed studio and produced a wide range of games that came at the theme from different angles.  The standard was high and the atmosphere fun, as you can see from this video about the event (by Elizabeth Sardari-Kermani):

I was in Team Swimwear and we did a reverse-take on the traditional platform game.  In our version ‘Death Wish Zero‘  the game character is sick of the cycle of death and re-birth it is in, and wants out!

The game is about a character who wants to die. Trapped in life, and trapped in an existence it does not wish for it endless tries to die, only to be reborn in a new level. It’s hope is that if it can die fast and often enough, it will die for ever… Can you break the cycle of death and rebirth? The game is a reverse of the traditional platformer, where normally you aim to stay alive and collect health power-ups. Here you try to die and avoid them. The game is a side scrolling platform game where the player controls a character with movement and other functions. They have a health bar that they must get to zero before the time ends.

Here is the opening intro/instructions screen from the game:

The event was a huge success and we had a great mix of people and skills involved.  As well as the theme, there was a second challenge – the Accessibility Challenge – to make games for a wider audience. The Guardian wrote a bit about this part of the jam:

This year, however, entrants are being invitied to consider meeting another requirement: accessibility to gamers with disabilities. “It was all kicked off by Tara Voelker, the chair of the IGDA’s accessibility group, as part of our ongoing efforts to raise developer awareness,” says Ian Hamilton, a veteran designer and accessibility consultant, overseeing the implementation of the Global Game Jam’s accessibility strand in the UK. “The reason for doing it via GGJ is that a competition is a good way to reward people for taking an active role, while letting everyone else there learn something about accessibility.”

In Bristol the winner of this challenge was the amazing Super Space Snake (in Space) and they deserve a special mention for hitting loads of the Accessibility criteria and making an amazing game.  I urge you all to play it! 

Some other links I’d also strongly recommend:

Some photos from the day…

Games Jammers in Bristol get to work. (photo by Jon Cooper)

Showing our effort, "Death Wish Zero" (photo by Jon Cooper)

The jammers doing a show-n-tell at the end (photo by Jon Cooper)

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