My first game jam was MolyJam 2012 in London. I got to meet Peter Molyneux! But the more important thing was that I got to see something I had always wanted to see, but wasn’t sure existed. People seriously engaged in the art and craft of interactivity. Ever since MolyJam, I’ve had the bug, and I try to participate in as many local game jams as possible.
Here’s a video about MolyJam and me being a very pretentious undergrad art/film student.
Unfortunately I don’t have any of the game to show you because it was lost with the crashing of the MolyJam website. Dang.
But here’s some other stuff I’ve made!
Pistol Shrimp Versus Ninja Shrimp
This was the first game jam I did when I got to Austin in 2014, and the host Fantastic Arcade , continues to host my favorite local game jam in Austin. The great thing about these annual jams is that they give you enough time to make a decent game while still working a full time job, but the constraints on the game are so strict that it keeps you from getting too outside your scope. The premise every year is to make a different 30 second, 2-player competitive game which can be loaded into a custom arcade cabinet. Then two people at Fantastic Fest will play the games live, each one 30 seconds of crazy off the wall creativity. All within a very narrow control and time setting.
Pistol Shrimp VS Ninja Shrimp was made in Construct 2 with the help of Paul Gasca, with audio done by Jacob Getz. It’s asymmetric game design demonstrates my sensibilities when it comes to competitive games. Pistol Shrimp can shoot and has one life, while Ninja Shrimp has infinite lives but he can only do a short range dash attack. So Pistol Shrimp’s purpose is to survive the 30 seconds, while Ninja Shrimps purpose is to get Pistol shrimp before time runs out.
I love game jam games despite their roughness because their limited constraints force creative solutions that are interesting and experimental.
XTREME SUPER Maggio Flying Power Disc Sports TURBO
This game was made for Duplicade , the Fantastic Arcade game jam for 2015, was a stroke of genius as far as game jam themes go. The idea was to make a game that felt like some sort of weird poorly programmed barely legal rip-off of a larger IP that you might find in the back of a dusty used video game store in San Francisco in the 90s.
It’s a great theme because it allowed me to experiment with a whole bunch of styles and not worry too much about the specific copyrights. It’s like a remix playing fast and loose with it’s source material. I worked with M. James Short, a really rad and talented local game dev who has created some pretty crazy art games (one of which was considered a biohazard and was banned from a local bar haha!)
In the case of “XTREME SUPER Maggio Flying Power Disc Sports TURBO”, you have a game very much like the classic arcade game Windjammers except if it was made by a demented weirdo who really liked the Super Mario Brothers but didn’t actually understand what the Mario Brothers were. My favorite part about this project is that the main character sprites are made using stop motion animation of off brand luchadore action figures I bought at the local Hong Kong supermarket in Austin.
Firstman Shoot 3D
First Man Shoot 3D is another Duplicade game I made with Paul Gasca. It’s hypothetical programmer wanted to make a 3D game but didn’t actually know how, so he just made a 2D overhead game where the perspectives are all messed up, and bad guys get bigger as they get closer to you.
This one was a lot of fun to make, mostly for the music I selected, by a guy named Deiphix who makes vaporwave music sampled from 80s South Asian pop songs. All the art, except for explosions was created by collaging other art together.
Scalepalooza was my first VR game jam, and it was at the first VR Game Jam in Austin Texas, right around the time the DK1 came out. Well, I can’t claim too much credit. I really just made the logo, played the game, and drank a bunch of diet Dr. Pepper at Mr. Tramps, but hey I met a lot of my future friends there!
The log itself was derived from samples of physical hand lettering that I did using a brush pen. I did this because I wanted to invite a certain amount of imperfection to bring out the human element in the logo. I also heavily based the logo off some of my favorite logos of the golden age of arcades, like Galaga, Grobda, and Boscosian which were all hand-painted.
The idea for the game was pretty simple. You walked around a traditional Norwegian cottage and you clicked on objects. When you clicked on an object it would bring up a card that showed the word in Norwegian, and sounded it out for you. Once you had completed the first round by clicking on all the objects in the cottage then the game would build off your new knowledge to create more complex challenges. It would start simple, saying a word, and asking you to go find that object. Then it might ask you solve a problem in which you had to find some objects and type out their name to combine them. The basic idea here was to teach the language by having the player play with the words, slowly building up the complexity of their interaction, and growing their familiarity with the words in a holistic fashion.
After finishing this game jam game I found out that it already kind of exists! The game Influent is this idea brought to life more fully.