This weekend was Global Game Jam 2020, and although I had planned to tackle my fifth consecutive attempt at the event over in Brighton (back where I first started), I ended up going for a third year at the University of Southampton. The weekend was bookended by work on Friday and a competition deadline on Monday so all in all it was easier to avoid any long journeys. I took a fairly relaxed approach to the challenge (not sleeping under a computer desk like last year) and, with the help of Paul Robins, put together a project I’m really quite happy with. The theme this year was “repair.”
Mash Mash Restoration is the first Game Jam project I’ve taken the lead in that wasn’t made in Twine. I put it together in GDevelop 5 (much like Flappy Bard, Cookie Cracker and Bananarchy). As the title mich suggest, it’s (almost) a rhythm game in which you use three different sorts of repair tools spread across three conveyor belts in order to fix an endless stream of broken(?) robots.
The browser version can be played using a standard keyboard numpad, with each of the 1-9 keys controlling one of the repair tools. However, at the jam showcase I had the game set up to be controlled with a sort of improvised desktop dance mat made of kitchen foil. That’s not a sentence I ever expected to type, but here it is anyway:
This was all wired into a Makey Makey, which is the same device I use to control Bananarchy with real bananas, but the wiring this time was a little more complicated.
I initially underestimated the number of crocodile clips I’d need to pull this off, but fortunately one of the other jammers sitting nearby happened to be studying electronics and had a whole bag of wires and tools she was willing to share. It’s funny how these things work out!
As always, if you’re into games but haven’t yet tried the Global Game Jam, I highly recommend it. You don’t need to go with a team (60% of the time, I turn up on my own) and you don’t even know how to make a game for yourself (the first time I did this, I didn’t either). All you need is some kind of skill to contribute – writing, drawing, a knack for identifying what would be fun – and/or a willingness to learn. If you’re curious to see what other games were made at this event, you can find the full list here.