The concept is thus: take two game makers, one artist and one programmer, and challenge them to make a game in 48 hours. Film the process and release the result as a bundle including the documentary and the resulting game. It’s called Super Game Jam, the first episode was released two months ago, and episodes two and three just launched simultaneously late last week. That’s the news, but there are trailers and witterings below.
Adam wrote about the series when it was first announced, but it’s worth watching the trailer if you’re still searching for a sense of the thing:
It borrows a lot of style and imagery from Indie Game: The Movie, but the flavour is different simply because it’s so compact. The two people chosen for each episode don’t necessarily know each other, are the only people you’ll see in each episode, and they work, eat and sleep in the same space.
The first episode featured Vlambeer’s Jan Willem Nijman as programmer and Ibb & Obb’s Richard Boeser as artist. Together they produced a racing game about friendship in which you score points not only for finishing ahead of your opponents but also for gathering hearts by keeping your co-pilot within your car. Like F-Zero meets OutRun, but with romance, and in which your partner doesn’t wear a seatbelt. It was pretty fun to play, but the documentary of them making it was better – in spite of them both being so freakishly quick that there’s little tension over whether they’ll finish in time.
There was a brief moment when snobbery demanded I consider reality TV a modern scourge, but that feeling lasted only until I realised how compelling it could be to watch smart, creative people make smart, creative things. It doesn’t matter whether that’s people who can play instruments in BBC’s Fame Academy, people who can make amazing food in Top Chef, or, well… I watched thirteen seasons of America’s Next Top Model but maybe for different reasons.
(You can debate whether this really counts as reality television, but let’s not because that’s boring).
Videogames are ripe for similar treatment and the first ep of Super Game Jam was good. I haven’t watched episodes two or three yet – two was delayed due to production problems, hence the simultaneous release – but they star Christoffer Hedborg/Dominik Johann and Sos Sosowski/Adam “doseone” Drucker respectively. There are trailers for each episode through at those links and access to the whole series will cost you £15 (or £12, at the time of writing, due to a -20% sale).