Last weekend I flew back to the UK for a game jam. That seems like a terribly long way for a terribly small thing, but:
– I’d never been to a game jam before – but had always wanted to.
– This was at the V&A museum.
– I’m sorry, did you say it was at the V&A?
I also knew my friend and coding buddy Andy Noelker would be there; we did the “work of play” project together for our MA so we looked forward to mucking around with code together once more. Andy had also found us an artist, the supremely talented Tatiana Alisova.
Which means we had an art pipeline. This weekend contained a lot of firsts for me.
Long story short – we made a game! Have a link! It, and many others, will be featured on the V&A website, which is super exciting. Just finishing the thing was exciting enough, given our collective inexperience.
The event itself was very well-run. Alex and Irini, the V&A people in charge of the whole shebang, did an impressive job. There was food, for instance, and coffee. Both were extremely helpful, and prevented our primitive flesh-machines from coming apart at the seams. More impressive, however, was their getting the word out: there were 13 teams in all, a testament to the appeal of a museum jam.
Mention should also be made of Sophia George, the V&A’s game designer in residence, partly because she is very nice, very skilled and very awesome, but also because oh my God they have a game designer in residence?
The theme was “hidden stories” but there was some pretty flexible interpretation. Our game, for instance, involved taking one of those stories and turning it into a runner game ala Canabalt. Another team completely rewrote the Actaeon myth in terms of pacman. Ceremony was not stood on.
Special mentions go to the team who made a beautiful, draggable storybook game inspired by medieval tapestries, and the team who came up with a card game about selling your cardinal virtues to get into the Papacy.
Bottom line: had a great time, produced a much better game than we ever thought possible, would love to do it again. Sadly, though, flights don’t come cheap: I’m not sure how feasible it’d be to drop everything in a few months’ time and have another bash.
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