How Many People In This Crowd Have Seen Molyjam?

By Alec Meer on April 2nd, 2012 at 9:00 pm.

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This weekend saw the inaugrual ‘What would Peter Molydeux?’ 48 hour gamejam, inspired by the e’er-brilliant fabricated, Twitter-based game design ramblings of the world’s premier fake Peter Molyneux. I (with some guest contribution from Mr Adam Smith) having been combing through some of the entries and lo, I have seen divine madness at work. Some are outright genius, some are the seeds of great game concepts, some are misfires but all deserve our praise and love for being real, working realisations of ideas that were never intended to be made flesh.

(Please note, this isn’t a ‘best of Molyjam’ post – it’s just the stuff we’ve looked at so far. And we’ll probably look at more soon, because there is gold in them thar lunatic hills).

You Are A Spy & The World Is Transparent

“Imagine being a spy in a game world where the entire environment is transparent and so you can’t hide.”

The Australian Molyjam conjured up Hitman meets Chuckie Egg with a colour-coding surveillance machine I couldn’t entirely work out. ‘I tried to get the gameplay to communicate the situation/spy’s mind’, programmer Matthew Elvey’ Toeofdoom’ Price tells us. I’m going to lazily call it ‘psychedelic gunpoint’ and thus annoy everyone involved with both games.

The Spandex Parable

“You know, what if the aim of the game was to resist actually completing it? That kept me up all night yesterday.”

Another Aussie effort,this one’s an absolute gem, and had me hooting like a ticklish hyena thanks to a wonderful narration (which doesn’t kick in until after a few screens, in case your initial impulse is to spurn its rote platformer look). One of those where the more I say, the more I ruin. Don’t believe everything you’re told, basically.

The Shadowland Prophesy

“We’ve had emotional game endings but have we ever had an emotional title screen?”

Now we do. And also a trolling title screen. This is brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you! And, like all the best entries, very much in the amiably Machiavellian spirit of the Molydeux account. Oh: you’ll need Notepad for this one.

“Bowl or die”

One of the more literal entries, but that can’t stop a game about beating down evil zombie skittles with your magic radioactive bowling ball isn’t a true original. Plus it’s a full 3D affair in Unity, created as a solo effort by San Franciscan J Rubio of Yanki.JP. This probably could stand to be expanded to a full game, I imagine.

Pause Pirate

“What if the pause button was a weapon? Until developers think outside the box we’re going downhill.”

This took me quite a while to work out, and I was on the verge of grumpily abandoning it until a sudden flash of rare inspiration clued me into how it might work. You should try and figure it out yourself, but if not… [spoiler title]Pressing pause turns off inertia/momentum.[/spoiler]

Another idea that really could be expanded into something larger – this feels like it just scratches the surface. More importantly, the pirate looks like Errol Flynn.

Let’s Protest!

“Imagine a game in which you have to join protests to make changes to the rules within the game’s world.” By IcarusTyler.

As it says, basically, but in a truly joyful way. For instance, “we want a waterfall.” You can make that happen. Sadly, this is the most fantastical game I’ve ever played – it’s set in a world where the authorities actually listen to the requests of protesters. Is there some way we can make Dave and George play this?

GhostDad 2 Colon Cats Vs. Merlins

“I cheated: I didn’t get inspired by Peter Molydeux. I used to work with that dude, and I’m pretty sure he’s just tweeting my diary. So I went to the source. Me. ” Aubrey Hesselgren, formerly of Splash Damage, you are a CHEAT.

I’m a total sucker for anything with cats in, but this one got the better of me. I worked out from the readme that beckoning to/shouting at the cats would help keep me safe from the ghosts, but either I’m missing something or my mic’s not recognised by the game, so…. You have a go and let me know what’s supposed to happen.

Six

“You know in cut scenes when it says ’3 months later…’? What if the game ACTUALLY locked your save file for 3 months?” and “What if games rewarded you for believing rather than winning?”

Waiting for Godot with swans, I call it. Six, from Littleloud’s Kerry Turner, is six chapters that play over six real-time days. Being as I am a very bad man, I cheated and kept setting my system clock forward, but I suspect that means I missed quite a lot of it. Six is different from most of the other entries here in that it’s a sombre, arty take on Molydeuxisms. Then again, it does feature a swan wearing a crown, so it’s not entirely without tongue-cheek interfacing.

Oops, must remember to set my system clock back or I’m going to have all manner of complications.

Parkamour

“Romantic parkour game in which you and the love of your life must hold hands and jump around a city evading death and injury.

The most visually striking Molyjam effort I’ve seen so far comes from –ooh, bias alert! – friend of RPS Aanand Prasad and comrades. It’s a co-op challenge to climb a giant, Tetris-like tower, complicated by the fact that if you stop holding hands with your companion your movement is severely limited. It’s a metaphor, probably. For what? I dunno, love or something like that. It’s also rather deliciously fiendish. Can be played solo if you like – in fact, it’s probably easier that way.

These Automatic Arms

“Game where your arms are controlled by a psychopath who keeps firing guns at innocent people. You must turn away from them and run.”

Adam says: Like Robotron but with kindly, good-hearted strangers instead of Robotrons. Run through the levels attempting not to murder anybody or be faced with the most accusatory and horrifying game over screens ever created. Designed and produced by Kevin Messman, Todd Polenberg and Sarah Porter at the NYC jam, These Automatic Arms has the best of all names and is a thoroughly entertaining take on the tweet, even adding extra plot in the form of an incentive beyond not-killing.

Revenge Of The Road

“Have you ever played a racing game and wanted to play as the road rather than the cars? I know I have…”

Adam says: Built in Unity at the London event, The Revenge of the Road is a two player game (I just tried it on my own; confusing, disastrous) that’s strikingly similar to Roadeo, which just goes to show, people are independently creating Molydeux ideas. I reckon if I could find someone to play it with, it’d be a lot more haphazard and raucous than Roadeo, as the track shakes and deviates in an attempt to throw the other player into space.

Far more Molyjam entries can be found here.

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39 Comments »

  1. Shivoa says:

    I took part in the MolyJam remotely and this was the first game jam where I ended up crafting anything that was working by the end of it (thanks to Unity, which also means web player as well as download links; previously I’ve tried building from scratch).

    Wot I made.

    I didn’t build as much as I’d wished (so little time, so much realising my brief time with Unity to get to grips with it weren’t enough to dive deep and get stuff done asap) but it was great fun and the streams for the events was amazing for those not travelling into the wild to participate.

  2. Finstern says:

    I took part from Ireland, hanging out in the chat was great, some really awesome and genuinely nice people there. I’ve never made a game before so the fact that I got this far is something I’m very proud of!
    Here is what I made: http://www.whatwouldmolydeux.com/display.php?GameID=51

    Here is how I did it: http://shaneobrien.ie/?p=307

    Unity is great, I someday hope to own a pro version, perhaps when I’m out of college!

  3. Mikhail Popov says:

    Unbearable by Chris Remo et al. (at Molyjam SF) was one of my favorites. Based on the oxygen bear tweet (very popular across the world), it had 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person views at the same time. When the game ended, you were presented with biographies of everyone you’ve killed through hugging.

  4. KikiSnell says:

    I remotely took part as well— It was a very good use of my weekend! I think my hand is cramping from all of the drawing!

    Me and my buddy Tim made a 2D game in Unity. Were also planning on getting it out on android tonight :D

    http://www.whatwouldmolydeux.com/display.php?GameID=128

    • nobody says:

      SonShine is cute! But a quick sort-of-bug to squash if you still have time: instructions say to use the Control key to rock the baby, but in fact only the *right* control key will work. My laptop only has a left control key, so if I didn’t have an external keyboard plugged in I would have just thought it was broken.

      I made the These Automatic Arms game mentioned in the article above, and I’ve been looking into doing 2-d stuff in Unity. Are there special 2-d plugins you use or do you just lock the Z axis to 0 on every object?

  5. Laketown says:

    I watched the SF stream for the most part, though I did watch the LA stream wrap up, when it gets up there there was this great game where you played as rambo and you died, but before you could go to Valhalla you had to either hug or not hug (MORAL CHOICES) all of the people you killed. amazing hugging interface. Can’t remember the name though

    Unbearable (SF) was also amazing, as was the competative breakout/tetris game.

  6. HilariousCow says:

    Regarding GhostDad 2: yeah, there were definite microphone calibration troubles: it worked perfect at home, terrible on my laptop, and passingly with a really cheap mic that I brought to the showing at the London jam. I had other technical issues with latency, or feedback loops in the audio. Also I had about 6 hours sleep since thursday. Excuses excuses…

    When calibrated, the idea was that you could call the cats into range (their expressions change to one of expectation). That signifies that the cats are ready to be shouted at, at which point, they become momentarily startled, and dart directly away from you. If they hit any of the Merlins, the Merlins come to terms with their past regrets and move on to ultra heaven (since you are already in heaven since you are a ghost father).

    But it was fun to see what you can (or can’t) do with a mic. Not a lot, as it turns out. Enough to scare cats, though.

    I’ll get a video up tomorrow so you can see how it’s sort of intended. Meantime: bit.ly/H5PD6l My presentation about Ghost Dad 2 is at about the 8hr 16m mark.

  7. Drake Sigar says:

    I want a game which starts from the end and plays backwards like that movie Memento, so you have no idea what’s going on during each scene and have to make decisions in ignorance.

    Also, you’d be playing as a pair of trousers named Bob.

  8. Ninja Dodo says:

    Thanks for the mention (Pause Pirate)! There’s a hint in the description and a bit more than a hint in the newly uploaded gameplay video, but yeah I guess we may have been a bit stingy with the instructions. :P

    • Toberoth says:

      Nooo, half the fun of it is figuring out how it works. The clue is in the title already, I don’t think it needs much more than that.

      • Ninja Dodo says:

        Fair enough. :)

        It’s a tricky balance. Even in the gameplay video we’ve tried not to reveal too much, though I suppose those who want to go entirely unspoiled won’t watch it anyway. We will definitely NOT be adding an explicit tutorial.

        • matt w says:

          I thought the hint in the description was exactly enough. That is, it helped me figure it out. And I agree, figuring it out was fun.

          BTW, is it just me, or is there no link to the online play from the game jam page? I would up following a link from the video page.

          And… nice game! I was impressed that you sustained the idea through several different puzzles. Fun exercise: Write the opening text for the new Braid world based on the mechanic, “Time and Contemplation.”

          • Ninja Dodo says:

            Thanks! :)

            I added the link to our entry but it replaced the downloadable version so “Download Game” points to the same page now.

            “Sometimes, pausing to reflect, a solution will present itself. But often the energy of the moment is lost and you must start again.”

  9. Keith Nemitz says:

    Our game, ‘Cardboard Baby’ should be up later tonight. The builds had to be made on a home machine. So it took an extra day to get them posted. It runs on Mac and Windows. Looks like we may miss out on the wave of eyeballs, and it’s a fun game! Sigh.

    Here is a link that will download both:

    http://mbf.me/iIcW3

    • Phantoon says:

      That idea seemed odd even by Molyneux standards (this is a joke Molyneux does not have standards of sanity).

      I am excited for your nonsense, sir.

  10. Disco_box says:

    *Waves* I’m the narrator from “The Spandex Parable”. Thanks for the comments! IF anyone wishes to use me for projects, drop me a line on the twitter @disco_box

  11. Bob says:

    Pause Pirate eh? “What if the pause button was a weapon? Until developers think outside the box we’re going downhill.”

    When I first played Portal 2 I was having trouble with glitches. Long story short, the Escape button actually became the “Use” button. True Story.

  12. genteijanken says:

    I was the sole “programmer” on this “game”. http://www.whatwouldmolydeux.com/display.php?GameID=9

    If nothing else, we got an incredible array of accents out of the voice cast.

  13. Keith Nemitz says:

    There’s a bug in the #MolyJam site that prevents games larger than 25MB from being added. How many games are missing out? We’re still waiting for officials to add ours. At some point, nobody will play our game. So long, all the fun we had making it.

    • nobody says:

      Ours is ~30MB, so we had the same problem. We uploaded to glorioustrainwrecks.com (though dropbox or some other similar service would work, too) and then chose “link” instead of “upload” on the WWMD submission form.
      whatwouldmolydeux.com/display.php?GameID=196

  14. Ninja Dodo says:

    Maybe you could host it externally and use the File Type link option to just link to your page (as browser games do)? We originally submitted a downloadable file, but I added an html5 version after and changed it to a link where you can get both.

  15. Optimaximal says:

    RobotDucks interpretation of “Have you ever played a racing game and wanted to play as the road rather than the cars? I know I have…” is better:

  16. Duckee says:

    Here is Peter Molyneux’s peptalk at the event where he participated.

    He is a remarkable man. http://www.twitch.tv/metzopaino/b/313373923

  17. matt w says:

    This may be a losing battle, but if you put up auto-download links to windows programs, can you please flag them? I’d like to find out more of these games and even play some of them if I can, but I don’t want to download anything that won’t even run on my computer, so I don’t know what if anything I can click on.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      That is confusing. Even links to browser games have the same “Download Game” button. Maybe it’s too late to implement this now, but it would great if there were separate buttons for Download (Win/Mac/Linux) and for Browser and you could submit separate files or links for each…

  18. AveryCloseCall says:

    This was one of the most fun challenges anyone could participate in. Here in Seattle, we made a lot of friends and cranked out some great stuff! My team created a game called UNBEARABLE based on the tweet ‘You are a bear but for some reason your oxygen comes from hugging people. Problem is that hugging people breaks their bones.”

    The hidden endings revolve around convincing people to love you, so you reach an equilibrium with your environment instead of hurting those you love. Oh, and there’s an achievement for hitting people with your tricycle.

    Check out the trailer or download it free. We’d love your feedback!
    http://www.whatwouldmolydeux.com/display.php?GameID=193

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