February 9, 2009 2:41 PM | Michael Rose
The Global Game Jam was held a week ago, from the 31st January to 1st February. Over the course of 48 hours in 53 different cities, participants were asked to work in teams to create a game. The full list of games eventually outputted can be found over at the official GGJ site. We've had a trawl through them all and now present you with our hot picks of the weekend.
Propaganda: War of the Words
Tel Aviv, Israel
Multiplayer web-browser game in which players choose a message they want to shout out to the world, then fire cannons at everyone else in an attempt to make their message the largest. With round-based gameplay and crazy cannon-ball physics (plus, of course, lots of lovely nuke-like explosions) it's a remarkable achievement.
Starry, Starry Night
The Gray Matter
Tel Aviv, Israel
Absolutely magical. Blow into your microphone to clear away the clouds and click the stars to join them up into a constellation. It looks beautiful and the idea itself is fantastic.
The Gravema Team
Tel Aviv, Israel
Two-player gameplay, with one player controller a platforming character via the keyboard while a second player controls a blood-sucking bat using the mouse. The bat must suck from the neck of the man to win, while the man must jump around and smash the bat against the various obstacles in order to kill it. Pretty ingenious.
Fantastic little puzzler. Using just the left and right on the keyboard, the object of the game is to help two magnetic balls reach each other - however they must be oppositely charged when they meet. Obstacles get in the way and magnetically-charged objects can change the polarity of our little rolling friends. There's also 'bullet time'... You must give this one a go.
The Dunedin Team
Dunedin, New Zealand
Humans are coming and the planet isn't suitable yet! A timed ordeal, clouds will appear over water during the day time, which must then be gathered over the land in order to grow trees or to make more oceans. Tricky at first, TerrAqua turns out to be pretty good fun and a very nice idea.
With 3 minutes on the clock, you must rush around the screen collecting the packages but avoided the evil red enemies. Of course, it's not as simple as that - you've got a little blue friend spinning around you who must be looked after too and everytime you get hit, he begins to lag, then gets progressively worse. Oh, you also get bigger and bigger with each parcel collected. Seems simple, but it's ace fun.
Another artsy one which also sounds awesome too. Two players work together to try and keep a beat going. The better the timing, the better the beat sounds, the more full the music gets and the faster the sparks fly on screen. While it didn't exactly keep my attention for a great amount of time, it definitely did wonders to my senses.
The Lemming Condemning
A gloriously silly setup - stop the lemmings from falling off the tittering rock by firing cacti at them. It's simple, it's ridiculous and it put a smile on my face.
The Global Game Jam Game Jam Game!
Both the silliest name AND the silliest game I've come across so far. Rush around slapping the Global Jam developers to make sure they don't fall asleep on the job. It's an extremely simple game with terrible graphics, but I couldn't help liking it. They may have possibly appealed to my love for needless violence, who knows.
Touching little collect-em-up with a bit of a sinister side. Collect the sparks which fly from the logfire and put them back to build the fire up and reveal the entire scene. Fail to grab a spark in time and it will burn a hole in the image. Pretty imaginative.
Sunbun in the Sky With Diamonds
I'll admit, I nearly was put off playing this due to the atrocious name, but I'm glad I did - it's brilliant fun. Dodge the enemies' bullets and destroy the baddies to make Sunbun grow bigger and bigger. Gets absolutely crazy with bullets and enemies all over the place.
The sheer oddness of this gardening bonanza drew me to share it with you. The animations are pretty bad and the collision detection definitely needs some work... but come on, the dog poos green! GREEN! That's gotta be worth something.
Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Possibly the most meaningfully-developed idea of the bunch. Based around the view of a 12 year old whose parents have split and now run separate lives, the child is stuck in between both parents' lives and every movement of the child shapes the territories of the parents. Wow.
The Ex-Chipendales Bob & Bob in: Together in the Dark, Raiders of Lua Temple
I'm usually against really long, tedious, pointless names, but this one I can stand, mainly because the game provides lots of 2-player fun. Enter the temple, find treasure and work together to get it out of there in one piece. Good, solid co-op fun.
Move Mouse to Fulfill Destiny
Boston, MA, USA
I really like this one a lot. As the seasons pass, you must plant the crops, let them grow, then bring them in as food for your friends to eat, while all the while building up your infrastructure. It's the little things about this which are also so great - quoted from their GGJ page: "In your youth, time seems to pass more slowly and you may not know exactly what you're doing, but as you age, you'll find your footing and perhaps a partner to share the journey. What will remain when you're gone?". Remarkable.
The Entropy Team
Boston, MA, USA
Brilliant painting excellence. Set land into a rotating planet and float clouds in the sky - then after 1 rotation, the view zooms out so you can admire your handiwork. You'll spend the first minute in awe of the brilliance, then the last 2 minutes etching words, faces and god knows what into the sea.
Choatic 2-player madness. Playing as two balls, your mission is to escort the third red ball to his destination - however you're being pelted with good and bad spheres. Catch the good, dodge the bad, make it to the end. Oh and don't touch each other either - it's baaad, mmkay?
The Kranzky Bros.
Another extremely odd one. Playing as the 'King of Winds', the objective is to fly around, suck in the brown clouds, spit them out as one big cloud... and repeat. Graphically it's got some very nice effects going on - it's just the brains of the Kranzky Bros then you have to wonder about...
And that ends the Indie Games 'Best Of' list for Global Game Jam 2009! It's a fantastically mixed bag, with some ingenious, some beautiful, some sinister and some downright ridiculous.
See you again next year, eh?