Early around January this year, the Global Game Jam took place yet again around the world. In Finland alone, #FGJX (a.k.a Finnish Game Jam) had more than 20 locations, with sites focusing on specific game genres like larp, VR and board games.
A brief introduction of Global Game Jam – it is a weekend of collaboration where game enthusiasts gather to cook up a game in the span of 48 hours based on their interpretation of a secret theme.
And if you haven’t guessed it already, the theme of this year is – transmission. Going through the list of games on the Global Game Jam website, the theme seems to be interpreted rather humorously by the jammers along the lines of transmission of communication, diseases, and… delivery of pizzas. I personally thought it would be pretty fun to check out what the dev folks have came up with during this short period of time.
Here are the (incomplete) list of games from #FGJX that caught my eye.
‘The Sequel’ is a noir themed interactive short story where you follow a detective’s mission to find out what happened in the previous game (which when you get the the end of it, you’ll get an AH HA moment about the interpretation of the #FGJX theme). It’s an interactive version of a choose your own adventure with….as the team mentioned themselves, surprise twists. What drew me to exploring The Sequel was its’ mainly its art style, and its interesting premise for a detective story. While limited to the genre of choose your own stories, and lacking in the interactivity department, ‘The Sequel’ makes up for that with a decent storyline complemented with cool graphics and music that puts you in the mood to put your detective hat on.
God of Wifi
Bad (Wifi) transmission is bad. But no fear, God of Wifi is here! God of Wifi is a super fun game to play if you are a fan of puzzle games. The premise is that you are a IT guy with a knack of fixing wifi connections, and on your journey to wifi divinity. Gameplay surrounds you trying to get the best Wifi signal an area by placing objects in front of your router and bounce them signals to your computer which doesn’t sound that hard, but once you dive into it, the game makes you question as to what haven’t you used to improve the connection (AND WHY AM I NOT A WIFI GOD YET SHEESH). This seems to be one of the more polished games that came out of #FGJX, and it does seem like there’s plans to make it a full fledge published game, so that is definitely something worth looking forward too.
Catspiracy is a game that I can’t get enough of. In the game, you’re playing as a NSA agent who mind controls a cat (or a cat agent) and tries to gather secret information. Taking the FPS approach, the game allows you to roam around a room scouting for frog messages while avoiding being captured by guards who are on the lookout. While there isn’t too much to go on, the feel and atmospheric feel of the game makes it easy to see the potential it has.
Don’t Talk, oh dear god, please Don’t Talk.
(Avoiding) Small talk in public seems to be something most of us can relate to, so of course there’s a game about it! This game could be interpreted as a transmission management game as you’re put in the spot with a friendly grandma trying to make conversation with you on a bus, while you’re just managing to get by in the conversation. Players press down on the alphabet button that pops up on the screen, and that presumably means that you managed to do fine with something that grandma mentioned. As you frantically try to figure out which button to press down and let go (grr dat left-right hand and fingers coordination), be careful that grandma might smother you with her enthusiasm. There are meters that gauge oxygen flow in-game, but at this moment it doesn’t go into play. That said, it would be interesting to see how this game plays out released as a full fledge game (with increased difficulty over time, and controlling your breathing coming into play), because I personally would take this as a measure of my social skills.
Then again, the unfortunate reality is – whatever you do, Grandma always wins.
Lättyyn is reminiscent of the old school Wii motion-control games that you play against your friends. The basic notion of the game is that you make your frying pan to make pancakes, and throw them at the other player (or into their mouth?). No explanations needed. Just all the (thank goodness) not-real mess in the kitchen and good fun times.
Also. Some fun facts from a fellow reviewer who is also a Finn. ”Lättyyn” derives from ”pancake”. ”Lättyyn” literally means ”to the pancake”. The word can also roughly translated to ”to the face” in this particular context. So, when it’s used in the (very) informal phrase of ”vetää jotakuta lättyyn”, it means ”to punch somebody in the face”.
But hey – that’s some few picks amongst the lists of games that have been submitted. To be fair, I focused on only digital games playable on a desktop computer. Therefore while there were few board and mobile games that looked pretty interesting, they’re not listed down here, but there’s a good list of them that looked really promising so do check them out.