aau copenhagen

Nordic Game Jam 2014

Nordic Game Jam 2014 PosterIt’s time for the yearly visit to the Nordic Game Jam! I first attended back in 2012 (and wrote a blog post about that), and then attended again in 2013 (here’s the blog post). I enjoyed those so much that I decided I had to go back in 2014 for my third edition of the Nordic Game Jam.

Like the Nordic Game Jam before it, it was held at AAU Copenhagen. As usual, I was planning on making a board game with the others from Kvasir Games. This time round however, half the team would be missing for at least half the game jam, since they had to promote Wanted: Igor! at the Danish hobby store Faraos Cigarer. This made design slightly harder since the team was hardly ever together in the same space.

The theme of this year’s Nordic Game Jam was privacy! There were many different takes on the theme: some made spy games, others made bathroom games or games involving toilets.

Sci-Fi SamuraiWe cycled through at least 3 different concepts for the game we wanted to make and started working on a game which we pitched to people as simply “You start the game naked in a bush”. After the first day however, we ended up scrapping that idea and going with something completely different, which ended up turning into Sci-Fi Samurai. A picture can be seen on the left.

Sci-Fi Samurai is a fast paced game where players play as samurai that must avenge their honour by killing the other samurais from the other clans. However, you and the other samurais happen to be immortal, and are cursed to fight each other for eternity. As the end of the world approaches, and the dragon appears to swallow the sun, you are only concerned with killing the rest of the samurai for honour. Players take turns attacking and hopefully killing other samurais for honour points, while the dragon slowly consumes the world and deals an ever-increasing amount of damage to all players.

Our take on the theme privacy was the fact that players could see how much damage the dragon could deal, as well as the health of other players. In other words, we played around with the amount of information that was or wasn’t private.

Although we didn’t win any awards this year, we had great fun making the game and learnt a lot about our design process and how we approached things (especially since Sci-Fi Samurai started out as a co-operative game and turned out into a competitive one!).

Better luck next time!
Better luck next time!

Nordic Game Jam 2014 was also memorable because of the fact that Google Play Games attended the game jam and gave all the participants a free Google Nexus 7 tablet for the participants to make games on. This of course resulted in a lot of people taking advantage of this offer, which I’m sure was the intended outcome!

According to the IGDA.dk’s official statistics, Nordic Game Jam 2014 had around 500 participants and over 110 games submitted, making it the largest game jam to date! It’s impossible to go through all the games that were made during the game jam, but here are the games that made it to the finals:

And rightly so, these games were really well made! Filth and No Privacy in a Bobsled were particular favourites of mine 🙂

Filth
Filth

Filth, made by Bram Michielsen, Stefan Schwarz, Steffen Dalbro Eriksen, Thomas Ryder and Eske Nørholm, is a game about the the destructive influence a paparazzo can have on the lives of celebrities. It’s a very touching game and the ending is particularly horrifying.

No Privacy in a Bobsled
No Privacy in a Bobsled

No Privacy in a Bobsled, made by Joey Hannes, Edgaras Benediktavicius, Daniel Johnsen and Mathias Soehol, is a game about 4 people in a bobsled. The game is controlled with 2 dance mats that players sit on, and players must lean left or right at the same time in order to avoid obstacles that are approaching them as they hurtle down a tube in their bobsled. I enjoyed the innovative use of the dance pads, and the game is really fun to watch!

After all the participants were settled down, the winners of the Nordic Game Jam 2014 were announced!

Honourable mentions included:

The jury awarded the games the following awards:

And Google Play Games also chose the game Parandroid as their favourite game!

It was a great Nordic Game Jam this year, and even if we didn’t win as Kvasir Games, I’m still happy to have attended, to have met new people and to have met up with my friends once again 🙂

Kvasir Games at NGJ14