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July's Bitsy Jam brings new tiny treasures

Every month, Adam Le Doux, creator of Bitsy, hosts a jam for developers to create work using the game engine. The results are always sublime – fitting, considering that that was the theme chosen for July’s jam! I haven’t had a chance to poke through all of the entries yet, but those that I have played are excellent.

My personal favourite so far is Seven Simple Wonders, a soul-soothing balm that celebrates the little things: the glow of a firefly, a palm tree waving in the breeze, or an apple waiting for its time to fall. Like so many Bitsies, it coveys so much in tiny, monocolour sprites and even features original music to accompany you on your journey. Also, I think you’re playing as some kind of alien squid creature? Whatever it is, human avatars can sometimes look a bit jarring with this level of detail (or lack thereof) so I’m all for this abstraction.

The jam also overlapped with the Gothic Novel Jam, so plenty of people decided to participate in both and create a creepier interpretation of the theme. Endless Wandering sets you off exploring a haunted mansion. (Don’t worry, the ghosts are really quite friendly.) The use of perspective here is extremely clever, giving the house a sense of scale far beyond its tile limits, and the writing is sharp and witty. Okay, at one point the player character devolves into communicating only in keysmashing screams, but I probably would too if I were trapped in that house, despite how pretty it all is.

Finally, I can see Stranger Point sticking with me for a long time. It’s not often that developers can draw on their personal experience of visiting somewhere so far flung and desolate as the Antarctic, but this game captures what I imagine to be the vast melancholy of all that ice. It’s quiet, and mostly still, and deeply reflective.

You can check out all of the jam creations on itch.io; all are playable in browser for pay what you want.

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Who am I?

Jay Castello

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Jay writes about video games, falls down endless internet rabbit holes, and takes a lot of pictures of flowers.

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