Moving Images: Super Game Jam Documentary

By Adam Smith on March 18th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Not content with remodelling Wang for the sophisticated modern gamer, Devolver Digital have been snapping up promising indie titles to unleash on the masses. Not content with his machinations in the interactive sphere, the devilish and devious Fork Parker has now set his eyes on the medium of documentary film. Super Game Jam is a five-episode series, with each instalment following two developers over a 48 hour period as they attempt to make a game together. Episode one, featuring Richard ‘Ibb and Obb’ Boeser and Vlambeer’s Jan Willem Nijman, is due in April. Trailer, details and thoughts below.

The second episode, due in May, pairs illustrator Dominik Johann with Christoffer Hedborg. Episode three is more familiar territory, for me at least, dropping McPixel’s Sosowski in an apartment with musical maestro Doseone. The most intriguing couple may be in episode four – the man behind Hotline Miami and the man behind Rymdkapsel. Meditative strategic ultraviolence? Finally, the François Truffaut of gaming, Tom Francis, teams with illustrator Liselore Goedhart in Old London Town.

The filmmakers are Bram Ruiter and Daniel Oliveira Carneiro, and here’s what the press release has to say:

Filmed in five cities over a six month time period, Super Game Jam pairs two indie developers together for 48 hours and challenges them to create a game based on a theme suggested by their peers. The series examines the creative process, technical skill, and friendships that form through a game jam event on a more personal and intimate level.

I find this a more interesting proposition than Indie Game: The Movie, which I didn’t particularly get along with. The conceit is a strong one and hopefully we’ll learn something about the process as well as the characters involved. Even as I was typing the paragraph above, I could feel an elephant peering over my shoulder. Let’s have a word with him.

There are a lot of fascinating and talented people involved in this project, no doubt about that, but the indie world I observe from afar is a much more diverse place. There’s the potential here for one episode to bleed into another a little, which I can’t imagine would be as much of an issue if, for example, Anna Anthropy and thecatamites had cropped up. I’d love to have seen a broader geographical spread as well – and of course logistics will have played a part but the South African scene is fascinating right now and many of us know so little about it. Devolver’s Broforce buddies are even down there!

The indie world, at the micro-level of Jams in particular, is one of the most diverse creative fields in any medium. The barrier for entry is relatively low and, as Porpentine reminds us in brilliant weekly columns, there are people pushing against preconceptions about both games and the lives we live. All of that will is being documented in its own spaces but, personally speaking, I’d be far more excited by Super Game Jam if the episode list suggested a wider and wilder wandering through the world of games than is immediately apparent.

That said, I’ll be watching.

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4 Comments »

  1. The Random One says:

    Thanks for taking the words from my head and putting them into the article before I could write a comment, you jerk. The great diversity in small game makers creating noncommercial, superweird projects deserves all the exposure it gan get, and I see a clear distinction between them and indies, whose games are small and emotional but commercial and closer to the mainstream. Indie Game: The Movie was nice because it was breaking ground, but 2 Players Productions’ tendency to turn their subjects into tragic heroes didn’t do much favours for the people they portrayed (it seems to work a lot better on the Double Fine documentary, though). Of course, it seems unfair to expect that from Devolver, who’s a publisher first and foremost and understanbly focuses on the guys (and one girl) on their payroll – I only wish someone would do that.

    • JP says:

      IG:tM wasn’t made by 2 Player Productions, it was made by two folks from Winnipeg. 2PP made the Minecraft documentary and all of Double Fine’s recent stuff, among other things.

      • The Random One says:

        Really? I thought I saw a similar authorial voice there – clearly I’d better stick to video games.

  2. alms says:

    I liked Indie Game The Movie FWIW, but I’ll be watching anyways.