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6

The Global Game Jam Mega-Stream

We Don't See Things As They Are

Featured post here is a duck with a cell phone in outer space

I am trapped in a hotel room in San Diego, waiting for one of them ding dang dern vidya game events to start. This would be probably the darkest moment ever faced by any member of the human race if not for the fact that Global Game Jam happened this weekend, giving me thousands – yes, thousands – of crazy unique (or just plain crazy) indie game experiments to try out. The theme for this bout of technomagical mad science? “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Developers were free to interpret that quote as they saw fit, which resulted in everything from surprisingly poignant duck sims to Godzilla QWOP to arsonic fever dreams of SETTING EVERYTHING ON FIRE. I plan on playing until I run out of games or get bored or something.

I’ll kick off at 3:00 PM PT/11:00 PM GMT. Also, please excuse the likely bouts of lag and other such unpleasantry. I’m playing on a fairly abysmal Internet connection, so it’ll probably be a bit inconsistent. Oh, and occasional game switches might take the stream offline for a moment or two, so be aware of that as well. Watch below.

Update: Aaaaaand done! Due to connection troubles and other miscellaneous issues, I had to scrap a fair bit of video. But I did write up all the games we played and add video where possible. That’s below, for your reading/viewing pleasure.

OK, so many elements of the stream went poorly – largely because of a poor Internet connection and an especially heinous brain fart on my part in the sound department. Given that some portions ended up downright unwatchable, I’ve decided to recap the games we streamed and include footage where possible. (As ever, apologies for the gaffes. Streaming is new territory for RPS, but it’s like my grandmother always said: “Do something horribly over and over and over until you’re passable at it, except you, Nathan, who will never amount to anything.” Those words always stuck with me.)

Oh, and that other guy in the video is my very good friend Hayden Dingman of PC World. He is incisive yet kindhearted and a friend to the animals. Also, he was around so I forced him to be on camera, like good friends do.

And now, the games!

Bread Crumbs – The game from this article’s header image. You play as a duck who can do duck things like quack (there is a QUACK BUTTON), feed ducklings, and slowly unravel genderless silhouettes’ romantic crises. Also, fly to space. A bit insubstantial overall, but easily novel enough to warrant a look.

Clumsy Wrex – Dinosaur QWOP. With dubstep and lovelorn hopelessness. GOTY. (Note: the video here isn’t the greatest, but you need to see this game in motion.)

How Do You Do It? – A game in which a young girl attempts to comprehend sex (which has clearly not been explained by her parents) by reenacting that scene from Titanic with naked Barbie dolls. Extremely charming and deceptively meaningful. It’ll leave you with a fair amount to think about if you let it.

Catiitude – Be a cat. Do cat things. Another entry in the burgeoning cat sim genre, except with revolutionary new options like poo, hairball, and sleep-on-stuff-that-shouldn’t-be-slept-on. Short, perhaps too-simple hilarity.

Not Everything Is Flammable – Play as fire! Burn down books and lamps and furniture and TVs and ghost paintings in a kind of dominoes-meets-Burnout’s-Crash-Mode catastrophe chain. It’s all about doing as much damage as possible before your flame inevitably goes poof. Not the deepest or most long-lasting experience, but admirably silly destruction while it lasts.

Resonance – The maddest platformer. A screaming spew of psychedelic triumph. Resonance is tough-as-nails in a look-before-you-leap-but-you’re-still-going-to-die-38-times sort of way. The screen throbs and pulsates constantly, revealing crucial platforms for split seconds at a time. You have to chart (and execute) a course while an aural barrage of strangeness makes your sense go haywire. I’m not sure whether to call this one beautiful or aesthetic unpleasantness embodied, but it’s a wild ride either way.

After Thought – One of the absolute coolest entries from the San Francisco jam I attended and participated (!) in. The basics? You stare at a painfully colored pattern until it burns into your retinas, and then the screen goes blank. Your eyes, however, can still see the pattern, and you absolutely must avoid it. Also, there is a sarcastic narrator, because that’s just how these things go.

That’s that for now. Expect tons more Global Game Jam coverage from RPS in the coming days and weeks. We haven’t even scratched the surface of this colossal game developer congregation. We live in tremendously exciting times. Welp, back to playing.

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Nathan Grayson

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