UCSC Global Game Jam 2013 Wrap-Up

Place your hand on your chest and listen for the sound in the stillness. You can feel it as well. The sound of the heartbeat is the theme for this year’s Global Game Jam, an event taking place at over 300 sites around the world, including here at UC Santa Cruz. Over a 48 hour period, participants hear the theme, brainstorm ideas, and develop their ideas into games, both digital and physical. This year’s UCSC GGJ took place January 25-27 and 24 games were developed by more than 70 participants. Some arrived with teams and toolboxes, others pitched ideas and formed teams with new friends, and some worked alone. However your team was organized, everyone worked together in the spirit of community and collaboration. We kicked the event off with an inspiring talk from Stone Librande, creative director at EA, who showed us the 18 games he has made over the last 18 years as annual gifts to his kids. Hearing about the design challenges he undertook in creating games first from household items then laser cut pieces for his later games was a motivational start for the game jam. From the very vital theme here are our games, in the order that they were presented: Blind Samurai - This android game is played by listening to hear enemies approaching. Turn your body in their direction and slash by swiping the screen. The more you slash, the louder your heartbeat becomes, drowning out your foes’ footsteps. [Voted Best Innovation] http://globalgamejam.org/2013/blind-samurai Lifetime - Chart a path through life by blocking events from reaching the heart. Incoming events are based on the current age and past unblocked events. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/lifetime Thump Volume 2 - 3 players (prey) battle a 4th player (hunter) in a Where’s Waldo kind of world of strange generated folk. There are dozens of characters on screen, all moving, so it is hard to even figure out who you are. The hunter kills groups, revealing their position. A long cooldown on the prey’s weapon means they need to make each shot count. Uses 4 controllers. [Voted #1 overall] http://globalgamejam.org/2013/thump-volume-2 Thump Volume 1 - Frantically jump across a minefield on tiles of thin ice. The ice tiles may have mines, which you can detect by hearing your heart beat louder as you approach. Decide where to go before the ice breaks beneath you! http://globalgamejam.org/2013/thump-volume-1 Drift - Move up and down in pulses, avoiding generated molecules. Movement is fluid and there are nice visual effects like a rippling background under the cursor. [Voted Best Visual] http://globalgamejam.org/2013/drift Play in browser: http://www.nicolerusk.com/drift/ Cortez Sez - Dance your way through increasingly difficult ritual dances until the sun goes down. Use the two thumb sticks on a 360 controller to direct your arms and the two triggers to direct your legs. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/cortez-sez HardBeat - This game was built in just a few hours but it has a simple, fun mechanic. Control a square which moves like joystick calibration. Catch the red squares flying by for a heartbeat, avoid the yellow squares (cholesterol) which dim the screen, eventually blacking the screen out. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/hardbeat-0 Primitives - Players have a red heart block and several blocks around it. Crash into other players to destroy their heart block, or push and pull the free blocks into other players. The quicker the trigger is pushed/released, the faster the push/pull. Played with 2-4 360 controllers. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/primitives Have A Heart - In the future we will do heart transplants with Pachinko machines. Practice now by guiding the heart down through the machine to the patient waiting below. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/have-heart-0 Heart Pump: CS170 edition - Senior design studio game characters battle to inflate a heart using multiple unique attacks (including Nicolas Cage). Played with four 360 controllers or one very crowded keyboard. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/heart-pump-cs170-edition Play in browser: http://people.ucsc.edu/~zmariano/ggj/heartPump/ Run Grandpa Run - Grandpa is annoyed with all the little children running about, so off we go! This is a challenging action game, so grandpa will need to add some pep to his step to get past the kids. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/run-grandpa-run Super Seizure Bros. - The spiritual successor to Run Grandpa Run. Now you’re an old person working at a supermarket, but unfortunately, you’re plagued with random seizures from your heart condition. Good luck keeping the store cleaned up. [Voted Best Sound] http://globalgamejam.org/2013/super-seizure-bros Bear Game 2013: The Unbearable Curse That Bearly Makes Sense but Just Bear With It Fur Surely You'll Get to the Bear Bones of the Situation - Presumptively the longest title at GGJ, this game tells the tail of a man turned into a bear, who must be the bearer of the news to his friend. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/bear-game-2013-unbearable-curse-bearly-makes-sense-just-bear-it-fur-surely-youll-get-bear-bones Dark Beat - An experimental game using just a few colors and the guiding sound of a heart to navigate through a dark labyrinth. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/dark-beat-0 The Polygraph - This noir-themed detective story has the player trying to maintain calm through a polygraph test by hitting space at just the right moment in a rhythm game. [Voted Best Use of Theme & #3 Overall] http://globalgamejam.org/2013/polygraph Stop & Listen - Navigate your circle on the left half of a split-screen with the triangle that is chasing you on the right. Danger lurks around every corner as you make your way out of this atmospheric maze. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/stop-listen Keep Going - Use a 360 controller to maintain your heartbeat, tapping the X button to the pace of the heart as you go from the fetus stage through life. Lovingly crafted art and music. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/keep-going Waves - This four player co-op party game has each player assigned a color, and must push back similarly colored blocks marching to the center. Send out pulses that ripple and grow when the ripples combine. Uses 360 controllers. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/wave Heartbeat of a Fickle God - This is a non-digital card game with polished cards and rules available as PDF’s on the site. Each player is a deity who can influence one of four mortals in one of four ways each turn. Deities negotiate for the mortals to be influenced toward their goals. Action cards add further surprises. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/heartbeat-fickle-god HArtgame - Explore a dream-like world for pieces of a story which garnered some interesting interpretations. All original 3D art. [Voted #2 Overall] http://globalgamejam.org/2013/hart-game Play in browser: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/14935416/HartGame/hartgame.html Excavation Escalation - This non-digital board game has four players exploring an expanding mine. Along the way they’ll find equipment, ghouls, traps, and treasures. Diverse equipment and room types leads to emergent dynamics. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/excavation-escalation Heartillery - Take control of a heart which has been hurled at great distance towards its transplant recipient. Free yourself from animals and shrubbery, rapidly clicking your way to your destination. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/heartillery-0 Play in browser: http://adamwardell.nfshost.com/host/Heartillery/HeartilleryFinalBuild.html In a Heartbeat - Walk around a 3D environment among other people (represented by blocks) until you find the right spot to unleash the joy from your heart. A chain reaction is formed from the blocks, and the level is complete if all blocks feel the love. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/heartbeat-6 Moise Bees - This game was developed off-site by alumni. A robot learns about emotion with the help of bees. http://globalgamejam.org/2013/moist-bees Play in browser: http://thed20programmer.com/Games/GameJam2013/ So there you have it! One heartfelt theme and 24 new games in one amazing weekend. These games could be the starting point for further development, each with their own innovative mechanics and interesting stories. Potential points of contact for future collaborations, new games for the resume, a level up in game development, and good times doing what we enjoy. All in all, the event was a success! The Global Game Jam at UCSC is sponsored by the Center for Games and Playable Media, the Computer Science Department, and the Graduate Student Association. We also received donated games from Electronic Arts and gaming headsets from Plantronics, which were given as prizes and raffled. Thanks Kevin Otoshi and the UCSC Game Developer Club for helping organize the event. Thanks to Alyssa for baking many yummy vegan treats. Thanks also to Teale at Nothing Sacred Games, who has organized this event in the past, sponsored the event this year, and he’s written up a nice love letter to game jams here: http://nothingsacredgames.com/?p=736 Congrats to Bear Game 2013 and The Polygraph who got some press coverage for their games: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/01/29/a-hearty-dollop-of-global-game-jam-goodness/ http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/01/29/five-terrific-games-from-the-global-game-jam-2013/ Thanks for playing! <3