Check out some Aussie games from the Global Game Jam
Check out some Aussie games from the Global Game Jam
The Global Game Jam took place this weekend and it is now over! The theme for this year's Jam was 'sound of a heartbeat', prompting a lot of interesting and unique games from participants. As you know, Game Jams give developers a short period of time to come up with, design, develop and test a game. Game Jams come in all forms and cover a wide variety of themes - there are the popular all-encompassing type jams like Ludum Dare and the Global Game Jam, and more specific events like the 7 Day FPS Challenge and the 7 Day Roguelike Challenge. The idea is to get people actually making games, gaining confidence about their abilities and seeing it through to the end.
Last Charge, made during the GGJ at AIE Canberra
So, onto the games then! We're only going to cover Aussie games here, although there are bound to be plenty of outstanding titles from around the world. There are just too many to cover all countries, although I could happily spend all day trawling the site for games. If you know of any other excellent titles from this year's GGJ let us know in the comments below.
We'll kick things off with Sydney - I would have gone with Brisbane, but we didn't have a unified game jam up here this year (though I'm sure some people did participate.) That's probably just as well really - making video games on a tight deadline doesn't really go hand in hand with floods and rolling blackouts.
In New South Wales there were two events - one at the University of Wollongong and the other at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Sydney itself. Both put out some excellent games - some of the highlights are below.
Gentle Fist, Exploding Heart takes a simple beat-em-up and adds challenge to it by making your monk's heart explode in a geyser of blood if he doesn't keep calm.
The Dark Hearth has you hunting a murderer Cluedo style in a macabre Lovecraftian mansion, monitoring heartbeats to determine your killer.
Bloodbots pits you and an opponent (on the same keyboard) against each other attempting to clean up infected blood cells which are attacking a heart.
In Lord of Night you search for blood by listening for the heartbeats of your victims - and it's escalation of the challenge is very impressive.
Melbourne saw the biggest turnout in Australia at the IGDAMJAM - no doubt partially due to it being hosted by the IGDA's Melbourne chapter. One of the neat things to happen to gaming in these past couple of years has to be the massive amount of tools available to aid in game development - with Unity being one of the most used and allowing for easy porting to platforms other than Windows - as such, Linux and Mac gamers won't feel left out this year.
Traffic Crisis 2040 is a game about controlling traffic - by putting red lights at intersections you can help the police catch criminals. It uses a stylish aesthetic and is pretty challenging - although I'm not sure how it fits this year's theme.
Heart Punch is an infinite platformer where the environment reacts to the character's pulse. If you exert yourself a lot things move much quicker - moving platforms, doors, springboards all speed up or slow down according to your exertion level. As the challenge increases your character needs to remain calm - but not too calm, as a wall of fire is right behind you.
Heart on your sleeve is a neat little physics puzzler about a guy who has to carry his heart to the hospital and use it to overcome various challenges. It's short, but fun and if the developers made the heart-manipulating mechanic a little less finicky I would play an entire series of these levels.
At first I somehow missed Adelaide's page of projects, which would have been awful since it contains one of my favourite games from this year's jam. The event took place at the University of Adelaide and also had the best name for a Jam - the Jamalaide.
Anxiety is, as I mentioned before, my favourite game of this year's Jam. The objective is to try not to be a massive awkward dork while interacting with other people. If video games are an attempt to live somebody else's life and play their part, then Anxiety is meta as heck for me, because I would be playing myself.
Echo Heart is a mix of platformer and top down... eater? People wander about on screen and you - an invisible monster - have to get close enough to eat them. Unfortunately, you have a weird heartbeat and if you don't tap in time to a regular heartbeat the humans will know where you are. I don't know how that works, but it's a lot of fun to play - particularly as the humans get more and more anxious (and their heart rate increases) the more you kill.
Murder 101 requires two synced Xbox 360 controllers to play, which will no doubt make it a no go for some people right off the bat. Which sucks for them, but is necessary - as the 360 controller's vibration is integral to the game. Two players attempt to kill targets without being spotted and your heart rate increases when you kill. On top of that, your opponent's controller vibrates in time to your heartbeat when you get close - making for a pretty tense game.
Finally we come to Perth's event, which took place at the Edith Cowan University. Like all of the other locations, Perth had way too many great games for me to include all of them, but here are three of my favourites.
Debug My Heart has you running through a buggy game, doing what you can to clean up. It's short and really cool, with excellent audio. Built using Construct 2, it can be played directly from your browser - and I would love to see it expanded into something bigger.
inflection\beat is like Pong, but with some neat twists. You don't control the paddles, you control the ball - moving it left or right to ensure you hit the paddles. Moving costs you energy however, which is only regained upon hitting the wall or a paddle. It gets pretty tough, as you can imagine.
Adventricule is another addition to the infinite platformer genre, which has become immensely popular these days. Instead of standard platforming however, you are a nanobot floating through the blood stream - so instead of running you are propelling yourself. Definitely one of the more challenging games I've played, it's also a lot of fun especially when you figure it all out.
If you want to check out other Global Game Jam games you can do so via the official website. Probably leave a note with someone though, because you'll be there forever if nobody rescues you. And as I mentioned before, if you've spotted any other games you think are cool, let us know in the comments!
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