The Global Game Jam has been growing with every year, ever since the inaugural event in 2013. This year has been no exception, with an estimated 30-40,000 jammers involved in 93 countries across the world. At the start of the event, it was estimated that a whopping 5000 games would be created over the course of a weekend.
For anyone unfamiliar with game jamming, the idea is for a number of different teams to create a functioning game within a short space of time. On top of this, teams must work within the confines of a set theme. In the case of the Global Game Jam the theme was ‘ritual’, and teams worldwide were given 48 hours in which to make their games.
In 2015 York hosted 12 teams, with the overall winner being Kevin’s Adventure in Space and Time, a pixel art adventure game which saw the player travelling through time to solve puzzles and fix a rift in time and space. Other noteworthy games created last year include Eliftvator Simulator 2k15 and Purgatory.
Things got under way with a pep-talk from Fee Stewart of Former Droid, in which contestants were warned about the dangers of sleep deprivation, before the competition’s theme was revealed at 6PM local time. Contestants were told not to share the theme on social media until 4AM on Saturday morning, lest they spoil the surprise for jammers in Hawaii – the last site to go live.
This year saw an increase on last year’s turnout, with 17 games being created on-site at the Ron Cooke Hub. Despite a common theme in each of the games, there was a great deal of variety on show, with all sorts of genres represented – from platformers to rhythm games to point-and-click games.
After a long wait the results were announced by Jo Maltby, the event organiser. The overall winner this year was Doomsday Shaman (Or Geoff’s Adventures in Ritual Practices), by the same team behind the winning entry last year.
The winning team’s lead programmer Robert Brown described the event as “really fun. I came to the jam last year as well and we enjoyed it then as well, it was really good to get back”
For Brown and his teammates, the victory was rather unexpected: “[We’re] quite amazed, because we also won last year so [we’re] kind of blown away.”
Overall – Doomsday Shaman
Best Art – Caveman Jam
Audio – The Cursed King
Design – Doomsday Shaman
Programming – Ghost Pigeon
Writing – The Ouse
All of the games created this year are available here.