Global Game Jam Cologne 2012 Round Up #3

Time for the final Global Game Jam Cologne 2012 Round Up (part 1 here and part 2 here)! Let start up with Giant Robot Snake.

GGJ2012 Giant Robot Snake

Giant Robot Snake – Don’t eat that frog, snake. Don’t do it.

It’s a very interesting game because it can be played by four people simultaneously on two controllers. Each player operates one analogue stick. The goal is to poke your giant robot snake with a stick to make it eat the green frogs that jump around. There are also red frogs you need to avoid. I had a blast playing it with 3 other people on stage during the presentation. Another reason why I’m impressed is that it was made by two guys, who met each other at Global Game Jam. They even spoke different languages. Cooperations like this blow my mind. And hey, you can check it out yourself. The team uploaded the multiple versions of the game on the GGJ website. It is very polished and fully playable!

One game that is also playable albeit not quite as polished is Alchemica

GGJ2012 Alchemica

Alchemica – Got very far bit didn’t quite finish. :(

The team behind Alchemica consisted of some Global Game Jam veterans. They went for a risky, custom Java platform. They got the game done but lost too much time so they couldn’t polish it anymore. It’s a puzzle platformer with a mechanic where you need to use different “elements” to solve puzzles. Even though it’s not as polished as it could be, you can still play it here. The team didn’t look very happy about the outcome during the final presentation. But I think they got incredibly far with the concept and I’m sure the experience they gained will turn out to be very valuable.

Funny enough, another team tried a very similar approach and also got into trouble. Their game was called Claychemy.

GGJ2012 Claylchemy

Claychemy – Prevailed against all odds. A true GGJ success story.

Initially, the team had a main programmer and 3 designers/artists. But for some reason, the programmer left at some point and never returned. So the team was forced to learn Flash and Flixel to continue working on the game. Luckily, they totally succeeded! Again, it’s a platformer where you character can change the element he is made of. Certain elements are needed to overcome obstacles. Fire burns wood, stone breaks glass, air lowers gravity etc. Actually, you can just play the game here in your browser. A charming little game with an epic GGJ success story behind it.

One game that got some great laughs during the final presentation is The Tale of Archy.

GGJ2012 The Tale of Archy

The Tale of Archy – You had me at “Jetpack”.

It’s a game where you control a treasure-hunting alchemist on a jetpack. It’s a side-scrolling shooter with a Minecraftian aesthetic and with an interesting death mechanic. As far as I understand, when you die you become a ghost and you need to re-claim your soul. The game runs backwards when in ghost mode. In any case, the goal of the first level is to find the Frisbee of Anubis. The team, including some KISD students and Game Jam veterans, was apparetly inspired by some of the spontaneous frisbee sessions we held during the 48 hours to keep us fit. I won’t spoil you the ending, but it’s hilarious! The team uploaded the game files on the GGJ page, so try it out!

And finally, the game with the longest title: D.B.S. Don’t be square aka “The revenge of the psychedelic boring boxes” aka “vice versa”.

It was made by Peter Bickhofe and Markus Hettlich. Both Global Game Jam veterans, technical tutors as Cologne Game Lab and good friends. They weren’t happy with the way their two previous Game Jam project were too bloated. So this time, they went for something funny as well. It’s a game where you control a growing box. One it becomes so large it fills the screen, you start the game over with a new box growing within the old box. They were very creative with the visuals and the music. So the game turns very bizarre at some point. Just try it out yourself, you can play it here.

There was one last, super interesting game that looked like Limbo but used typography for level geometry. Sadly, the team hasn’t set up the project at Global Game Jam. If you read this, please upload the game! I thought it was really great!

And yeah there was one team that tried to use the TV crew at Global Game Jam for some ill-conceived anti-games rant. As you may have imagined, it was completely misplaced at an event like the Global Game Jam and fell completely flat. The analogy would be to have a bulimia awareness protest next to a girl scout cookie stand.

So that’s it for this year. It was the biggest Global Game Jam we ever had. We almost reached 60 participants. We can’t actually go much bigger than this. So of course we had a lot of games. But even more surprising was the actual quality. A lot of the games could be easily made into actual polished products. It’s very difficult to pick definitive favorites because almost every game had something unique and exciting to it. Either way, I’m really happy with our results. I would like to thank all the participants for sharing with us their relentlessness and creativity. And I would be honored having you with us next year!

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 #3”

  1. dac-xp

    I have to agree. The group that was against games was really strange. Can’t believe they wasted their whole weekend just to fake a discussion (yes the questions of other participants were fake). They didn’t just waste their time and the time of the kid (that was bored most of the time for sure), they also wasted the time of all other participants, that couldn’t wait to see the amazing results of “real” teams.
    Nevertheless I was surprised (positively), that you let them present for such a long time.

    Anyway. I’m looking forward to next year. Will try to enhance my modeling skills. :D


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


follow Krystian on Twitter
follow Yu-Chung on Twitter
follow Daniel on Twitter