Global Game Jam Cologne 2012 Round Up #1

As you noticed, over the last few days my blogging ground to a halt due the preparations for Global Game Jam 2012. Now that the dust has settled, let me tell you of it. It was epic! It was the biggest Global Game Jam we organized so far. We had almost 60 participants. We can’t go much bigger then this.

Initially I wasn’t sure about participating. We had a pretty tight organisational schedule. So I was worried about the duties interfering with my project. Also, a schedule usually successfully sucks out any motivation out of an endeavour for me. However, I was seated at a table where a bunch of friends were working on a game for the Sifteo cubes. They infected me with their enthusiasm. With the help of my friend Max, we squeezed in a little something with almost zero effort: Sifteo Nyan Cat.

The REAL Sifteo game on the table was Coloboros (which I always read as “Color Bros.”). So if you are into Sifteo Cubes, you really should check them out. In general, I warmed up towards the Sifteo cubes. I will write a more detailed article about them soon.

Speaking of new hardware, our good friends from One Life Remains heroically came all the way from Paris to participate at our site. Brice even got sick. But that didn’t stop them from blowing our minds with Mindloop – a mind-controlled game. They brought with them a NeuroSky Mindset – a Bluetooth headset that can read brain waves and that you can actually buy in a regular store. There is even a Unity3D plugin for it! They made a super-simple version of Mirror’s Edge but with mind control. Definitely a “the future is here” moment for me.

GGJ2012 Mindloop

Mindloop is the first game I’ve tried to control with my mind. Well, the first one where it actually worked. :)

One of the most ambitious projects was probably Obelisque created by a dream team of Global Game Jam veterans. Among them Carsten Ruhr and Dominik Lazarek which I maintain contact with on Twitter since last year. The team used Unity 3D to create a wonderful, atmospheric first-person exploration game. The game has voice-overs and a unique visual style based on bare, untextured geometry. They even have a really neat mechanic where you need to constantly commit suicide so your respawned self can proceed. It’s really amazing to see an artistic project of this scope being completed in just 48 hours. Certainly a work that deserves a lot of attention.

GGJ2012 Obelisque

Obelisque is a beautiful, atmospheric experience.

Speaking of Game Jam veterans and ambitious projects. Perhaps the biggest team we had this year was working on an old-school 2D point and click game. It’s called Loopy Island and it has everything: voice-overs, puzzles and meme references (”FUS DO RAH!”). One of the team members was Marcus Horn, another Game Jam veteran. Coincidentally, we realized that he started developing games back in the days with Manga Mania, a JRPG editor I actually wrote. Small world! Loopy Island isn’t quite finished yet. But it’s evident that the entire team had a lot of fun working on this.

GGJ2012 Loopy Island

Loopy Island is an old-school point and click adventure with puzzles, humor and FUS DO RAH!

But this is merely the tip of the ice berg of games created during our Global Game Jam. Tune in tomorrow for the second part!

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

One response to “Global Game Jam Cologne 2012 Round Up #1”

  1. Marcus

    Very interesting post to read! Every year it seems like you walk around and motivate everyone to finish their projects just by pointing out the aspects that you think are very interesting. That surely is a great way to motivate people. I have to say this year was by far the best if you look at the games that came out in the end. So many great, awesome and interesting games like never before. I can’t wait for next year to bring a new jam. The knowledge about Manga Mania being your project felt a little bit like coming full circle and looking back at the past. I am so looking forward to next year’s GGJ!


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