Wow. What a week this has been. In amongst all the endless chaos that inevitably arises from preparing for rAge 2015, we decided to host our very first game jam. We did that during a time when we barely have a moment to brush our teeth. Somehow, we thought that was a good idea. What were we thinking?
I joke, of course. It was a great idea, and we’ve had a blast playing and judging the various entries that were submitted on Sunday night.
Firstly, we’d like to extend our deepest appreciation to everyone who submitted games for the jam. We honestly expected a max of two, three, maybe five entries, but ended up getting 20+ games from passionate people. That’s a great turnout when we fully anticipated that people would much rather laze by the pool all weekend or stew in front of the TV for 72 hours straight.
Naturally, we got some truly, wonderfully bizarre entries, but we also got some real gems. Some people obviously had to rush to fit within the time limit so their games are missing a final layer of polish, and the entries make it fairly easy to differentiate the novice game developers from the seasoned veterans, which serves to show that making games is the best way to get better at making games. Weird that. They’ve all got something in common though: they once again prove that there’s mountains of tenacity, creativity and potential within the local game dev scene. Making a game in 72 hours, no matter how polished or pretty or, uh, functional it is, is a significant achievement. You should all be proud of yourselves.
We’ve narrowed the games down to a selection of nine finalists whose games will be on display at the Intel stand at rAge this weekend. Now, here’s something to keep in mind: we’ve tried to diversify the games on display at the stand as much as possible. The games we’ve chosen showcase a range of different aesthetics (i.e. we’ve chosen a mix of 2D and 3D games with various art styles) and control mechanisms. We’ve also chosen a few based on how impressively ambitious they are, even though that same ambition may have made the game underneath a little… rough.
The thinking behind that is to give visitors to the show a chance to gauge the sort of stuff that’s possible when developing a game within a super-strict time limit. Truth be told we also had to cut a few controller-based games because far more submissions need a controller to play than we expected and we’ve only got access to a limited number of them, so we had to make some tough choices there. We also received a few games that don’t have a clear instructions screen and others whose menus are a bit difficult to read, which would make them tough to showcase as playable to rAge visitors.
What I’m getting at is that, if your game isn’t amongst the nine on display at rAge, please don’t become despondent and vow to never again enter another game jam. As curious as we are to see someone stalk the night in a cape and a cowl calling themselves the Anti-Jammer and foiling game jams all across the world, we’d much rather you put that energy to better use in our next jam. We’ll definitely be doing this again, and we’d love for you to join us.
Anyway, these are the nine games we’ll be showcasing at rAge, in no particular order:
A Hands-On Experience
Don’t Touch That Treasure
Royal Smash Royale
Don’t Touch That (we got a few of these, but if your game doesn’t have button-slapping cats in it, we’re talking about the other Don’t Touch That)
Congratulations! Hidden amongst those nine games are the final prize winners, who will be announced tomorrow afternoon at 5:20pm on the main stage at rAge.
Once rAge is over, we’ll look at making all the submissions available for download.
We’d also like to take this opportunity to say a massive THANK YOU to our parner Intel, without whom none of this would’ve been possible. Their support throughout this jam has been truly invaluable, and it’s inspiring to see them eager to promote and nurture game development in Africa.
Finally, thanks again to everyone who participated in the inaugural game jam, even if you didn’t manage to submit anything within the time limit. You’re all superheroes, and we salute you!