A Hearty Dollop Of Global Game Jam Goodness

Last week saw this year’s Global Game Jam – the world’s largest hackathon, in which teams come together to spend 48 hours creating something weird and wonderful. With 2106 games just for Windows, it’s tough to know exactly where to start. So start here, with a weird and wonderful few that caught the attention of the newly installed Eye of Sauron atop RPS Towers.

This year’s theme? “A beating heart”. I’m almost positive there will be no puns.

Heart To Get

“Why, aorta play this,” I thought, slightly glad that I waited until after lunch before checking out the trailer. It’s a spin on that classic game – squeezing handfuls of meat to the tune of a heart-beat to help squishy little monsters find love. With a pun-baiting premise like that, it was going to top any RPS list even if that was cholesterol there was to it and the actual game was a bit of a liver and let down. Certainly, not much is likely to muscle in and start chewing the fat, and if you like the heart-felt concept, the trailer should be the baconning of an amused smile.

For all the other puns, check the comment thread below. (Probably)

Download source

Follow The Beat

Wouldn’t it be nice if romance was really this easy? You just wander into a pretty park, prick your ears back, and wander until you find the person your heart beats for. And then they automatically reciprocate. That said, it does seem a little odd to do all of that work, then go “Hurrah! Level 2!” and find a different soulmale. Truly, we live in cynical times. Bonus points though for not only allowing boy and girl players, but choosing which you want to chase after.

Download link

Nighty Nighty Honey

A rare example of a game using a text parser, rather like the old interactive fiction games of old, or Facade more recently. You’re a little child suffering from nightmares in this short little fable that parents especially will immediately feel a deep emotional connection to.

Download link

Heart Of The Dead

Oh, thank goodness. Finally, someone has the vision to give those poor, over-looked zombies their own game. Still, this one is quite fun. You’ve got to defend the world’s largest house from the focused hordes by grabbing randomly generated items. Think of it as Hotline Migodthedeadarerisingfromtheirgraveswearealldoomeditellyoudoomed!

Download link

The Unseen Evil

From one classic monster to another. This house of ladies is filled with potential vampiresses, hiding out in their best – ahem – Carmilla-flage. Only you, as the lady in red, can track down the mistresses of the night and stake them. It’s a puzzle game at heart about driving the different residents into isolated places so that you can check their heartbeat and do the dead. Simple as you’d expect, but easy to see becoming more complex with a few School Daze type world simmulation elements on top of the item mechanic. Not necessarily in a school.

Download link

Bear Game 2013: The Unbearable Curse That Bearly Makes Sense But Just Bear With It Fur Surely You’ll Get To The Bear Bones Of The Situation

I have nothing to add to that. You’re a guy who’s turned into a bear, and has to persuade his friend that you have turned into a bear, because you’re a bear now. Doesn’t exactly have the production values of Pixar’s Brave, but does include some bouncy music.

Download link

Do Not Resuscitate

The best thing about this one is that it’s 100% medically accurate – if you get run over, your internal organs do grow to Godzilla size and start wrecking the town. The result is essentially Rampage, only with a giant heart (the rest of the organ gang are unavailable to play as, unfortunately). Slows down quite a bit, and fighting the doctors rather than trashing the buildings could do with a bit more generous collision detection. Cool idea though.

Play online


More than a little reminiscent of Ghost Trick over on those little handheld toy things, Spooky has you as a naughty ghost trying to literally scare a security guard to death by abusing the environment with your magical power. Mean? Yes. Perhaps even “Really, Really Mean With A Cherry On Top”. But all will be explained at the end, it promises here…

Download link

Social Anxiety

I’m not sure if this game quite manages to get its point across. The idea is that as an introverted college type, you’re trying to go about your day without making eye contact. Look up from the floor though, and the terrifying T-Posed pod people and their bulging eyes tell a different story. You’re clearly in more of an I Am Legend type situation where the rest of the world has been mysteriously afflicted overnight, hoping not to be noticed. They don’t even speak in human voices any more, just Charlie Brown trumpets. But college is expensive, and it would be a waste to just run away, start a resistance and become the saviour of humanity.

Besides, that would definitely involve eye-contact, and that’s not your thing. Better… better to just go along with it. Now, where’s that locker? Oh. It’s… in the hall. Oh dear.

Download link

Surgeon Simulator 2013

Yes, yes, we’ve looked at this one already, I know . Of the Gamejam releases though, this is easily the most amusing toy we’ve come across – as annoyed as I am with anyone who got in first with the “QWOPeration” joke – so here it is once again. I like to think of it as being where Team Fortress 2’s Medic learned his craft – a simple but gory little toy that takes “First Do No Harm”, smacks it in the skull with a claw-hammer, takes out its brain, and invites its mates for a game of football. YouTube has spoken – Surgeon Simulator 2013 is hilarious.

Download link

And that’s just ten of the games released this year. Have you discovered any diamonds in the rough, clever gimmicks, funny jokes, or even full entire games that squeezed into the deadline? If not, take a deeper look. With so many games, you never know what you’ll find…


  1. Hoaxfish says:

    Bear Game 2013: The Unbearable Curse That Bearly Makes Sense But Just Bear With It Fur Surely You’ll Get To The Bear Bones Of The Situation (thank you cut&paste) appears to have the guy from Double fine’s Kickstarter.

    Also for some reason I assumed Nighty Nighty Honey, with that name and screenshot, was about trying to fap while being interrupted by your parents wishing you a goodnight. No, I don’t know why I thought that.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Official game of RPS though. I would bear on it fur sure, if I had the money.

  2. emanuelmaues says:

    Well, here’s the game I made during the event. It’s more fun if you play with someone you like/love: link to globalgamejam.org

    Go here to play online: link to dl.dropbox.com

    I really hope you guys like it.

    ps: Sorry about my english.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      A new take on bullet hells, I enjoyed it.

  3. Splynter says:

    Here’s a game some friends and i made for the jam. link to globalgamejam.org You defend your heart against invaders. As an RPS reader, the only acceptable name was a pun. Let me know what you think.

  4. Saul says:

    I definitely didn’t have a hand in making this tribute to Japanese game shows that involves eating, sleeping, excreting and gibbering under extreme time pressure!

    link to globalgamejam.org

  5. Jackablade says:

    We had a surprisingly large number of really good games at our jam. The game I worked on wasn’t one of them, but live and learn I guess.

    This was my personal favourite from the Melbourne Jam
    link to globalgamejam.org
    The perfect combination of gameplay, execution and grotesquely silly concept. Plus it looks like a 90s Apogee game.

    Your main character has lost his hand. Propel yourself around the level and blast baddies with jets of blood from your stump. Also: Land sharks.

  6. xrabohrok says:

    I wish I can claim I made this one, but I had the honor of having the actual developers demo this for me in person. It’s called I KNOW CPR and it’s a two player coop game where one guy platforms with a fat guy and the other player is a skinny guy punching the fat guy’s chest to prevent him from dying.

  7. yfrdtyid says:

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  8. Skabooga says:

    Oh my, this article has just turned the amount of games I want to play from a ventricle to a flood!

  9. claudiom says:

    Very interesting collection of GGJ games. I know the guys who made Nighty Nighty Honey, this game is amazing (once you understand how to play :D ). I also played Surgery Simulator and I totally failed :D It’s better to do programming than surgery…

    By the way, here it is my entry steel daddy . It’s a is flash based Pluztformer (puzzle+platformer) and it’s the tale of the son of a mad scientist, Dr. Dok, who was just about to take over the world that discriminated his deadly warmachines for years. Our takes on the theme of the jam is by giving the objective of repairing the robots hearts, we also pushed it with visual and music assets. This game was also awarded as the “Most Polished Game” into the GGJ Rome Chapter.

  10. liannethy says:

    My team’s entry was link to globalgamejam.org it’s a short game, but if you love cyberpunk battle raps against a robot you’ll love this. Make sure to carefully follow the install instructions, cos it can be a bit iffy on some machines :)

  11. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    The Heart to get experience isn’t complete without the smell of organs…Seriously, it did not smell good XD

    It was a nice jam though!
    We created a game where you create Paths of Veins between tombstones to get to safety, by squeezing your heart at the height of the heartbeat.
    link to globalgamejam.org
    I can’t remember if it made sense when we designed it.

  12. Tunips says:

    ‘The Unseen Evil’ is remarkably similar to a game I gave up on making. My idea was that you had to watch for clues amongst party guests; try to maneuver them in front of mirrors, keep track which ones never drink… wine.

  13. The Random One says:

    I never thought I’d say this, but… too many puns. TOO MANY PUNS

  14. Eclipse says:

    my one here! It’s a 2-to-5 players co-op game with procedural levels! link to globalgamejam.org
    It’s about a drunken goblin king and his minions (the players)

  15. Hulk Handsome says:

    We had some cool games at Jamalaide (the Adelaide jam group).

    Murder 101, described as Assassin’s Creed meets Where’s Wally. A bit of Spy Party thrown in there, too. It requires 2 to 4 players, each person has a certain type of person to kill and then must take their targets out in a crowd while other assassin’s take out theirs. You win by either killing all your targets, or if you spot the other assassins and kill them all (you can also be killed by the other players, so you have to try to look as inconspicuous as possible). Good fun!

    CO-WOP is QWOP for four players and is incredibly difficult but hilarious to watch. One person controls arms, another legs, another the heart, and the fourth controls the circulatory system. The aim is to get to the phone and call for help because you’re having a heart attack.

    ECHO HEART is my own game. It’s a stealth arcade rhythm game. You’re an invisible monster hunting humans, who can hear your irregular heartbeat. In order to approach them and gobble them up, you have to hide your heartbeat under theirs while within their hearing range by tapping to the rhythm or they’ll hear you and kill you. They get increasingly anxious as they lose friends, making the heartbeat get faster.

    Anxiety is a game about avoiding awkward situations that features wonderful Gravity Bone style art, but is sadly very unfinished.

    Pulchra is an abstract game about dating

    Check them all out HERE: link to globalgamejam.org

    Unfortunately, the author of one of my favourite games made at the jam hasn’t uploaded it anywhere yet. Here’s a video, though. It’s asteroids if it were made by Cactus: link to youtube.com

  16. RisingPixel says:

    We also made a small game about finding someone… without watching the screen! :P You just have to feel his heartbeat with your x-box controller’s vibration.
    link to globalgamejam.org

  17. Pikace says:

    We also made a game where you have to find the heartbeats of your date to find her (or him, who cares ?) Plus : you’re in a crowded place full of people making noises.

    It’s called “Where is Love” and, yeah, we have some Haddaway in it ;)
    link to globalgamejam.org

    (ps : it’s 3D sound, so, make sure you use headphones !)

  18. The Infamous Woodchuck says:

    The Hivemind asked for a pun thread and i shall de-liver. These subjects lack of obedience is Disheartening.

  19. nosferathoo says:

    Check our GGJ13 entry: link to youtube.com , there are links for executables for PC, Mac, Linux, Web and Android in description. It would be sweet if someone review it and gave some feedback/ideas :)

  20. Jackablade says:

    There are a lot of game developers here. Not terribly surprising I guess. Perhaps we could tkae advantage of this fact somehow.

  21. CarolWink says:

    Hey, on behalf of my team we want to thank you for finding our game good enough to have a Cherry On Top.
    Spooky was very fun to make and we’re still working on it to make even meaner (if it can even be made).
    If you want to know more about us, send me an e-mail :))