The beauty of game jams

During the final week of January I participated in the Global Game Jam 2015 as a part of Ramensoft at Abertay University. This 48 hour game jam was preluded by an incredible presentation focussed on adding diversity to the video games we were all about to create. Diversity in our narratives, in our gameplay and in our characters. GO-GO! Bankrupt! is a surreal multiplayer micro-game race between two players holding one more device, inspired by Wario Ware and Make it Rain.

The Global Game Jam’s actual theme was “What do we do now?”. On the first night of the game jam our team came up with many complex and otherworldly experiences that I would love to explore again at some point but by the end of that night we settled on the fast-paced money throwing concept of GO-GO! Bankrupt!

The gist of the story behind the small action-oriented micro-games is that each player is a very rich person (or money soaked green blob), in fact they are the richest two blobs in the world. So they ask themselves the question: “What do we do now?”. The obvious answer is for them to GO-GO! Bankrupt! by flushing money down the toilet, exploding limousines and painting their poodles with golden paint.

The players throw things and tap things in order to reduce their balance of $1,000,000 (an astronomical figure by the standards of green blobs) to a most definitely Bankrupt state of -$1,000,000 (Clearly they have incredible overdrafts) at which point the winning player is presented with the vibrant green words: “You are bankrupt!” and the losing: “You are too rich”. Games usually last only a few minutes and are very rapid. We were fortunate enough to have the help of Raphael Moonin with the soundtrack which fits perfectly.

As a team we strived to create a very accessible experience that can be accessed by any age of person speaking any language and the general theme of the game is recognisably ridiculous and over-the-top to any person. I’m sure if you wanted to you could pick apart the little story that is there and create some anti-capitalistic message or maybe just that painting poodles is morally ambiguous.

The level of polish we have achieved on the game is something we are all hugely proud of and we received an award for being the most professional team at the jam. I think the global game jam is a great example of how humans are able to create experiences that connect people with each other and give them a reason to smile. I guess that is the beauty of jams, they are filled with happiness and positivity. Every person I met at GGJ had created something new and original and something worth smiling over. I know I am looking forward to Global Game Jam 2016 already, maybe even more than christmas.

GO-GO! Bankrupt! is now available on the Google Play Store here.