Game Jam Spirit

My last post was about the game I submitted for PTBO Game Jam 01. This time I would like to talk a bit about my experience during that event.

A game jam is a pressure cooker by design. Participants are given little to no information about the theme prior to the event. And the actual development of the game takes place during a highly compressed time window (30 hours in this case).

You would think the added pressure would make the game jam a very unpleasant experience. I found it produced the opposite result.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all roses. There were parts of the event that were not entirely comfortable: the short sleep, the looming deadline, feelings of confusion and knowing that parts of the game were just NOT going to get finished.

However, at 5pm on Sunday, after 30 hours of near-continuous effort, the satisfaction of demoing a working game (made by my own hands) … that satisfaction was glorious and well worth the sacrifice. And that wasn’t even the best part.

During the slog, whenever I needed a little motivation I just looked around at the other participants doing their best. There was a real energy in the room that I think pushed us all to keep trying. That sense of shared purpose was invigorating and I will remember it for a long time to come.

Another oddly positive aspect of the game jam was the ruthlessness of it. When you know a hard deadline is approaching it becomes very urgent to just throw away any unnecessary parts of the game. The result is a game boiled down to its core essentials.

Going forward I’m going to harness these rich emotions of vigour and ruthlessness. To that end I’ve embarked on a “Game Jam Spirit” series of game prototypes.

The games will be remakes and prototypes in various styles and genres. All of them will be uploaded to lazymammal.itch.io