A decade of late nights and long weekends: Visiting Global Game Jam Perth 2018

Strap yourself in, you've got 48 hours to make a game from start to finish at the Global Game Jam which celebrates it's 10th anniversary this year.
Jan 31, 2018

On a sunny long weekend in late January, eighty Western Australia developers, designers and game makers carried their computers and game design equipment to Northbridge to take part in an annual tradition that is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the Global Game Jam.

Mitch "Beardy" Hancock at GGJ 2018, who created tabletop game Spermarathon

Perth has played host to a jam site since 2009, was one of eleven different locations in Australia in 2018 and those 80 jammers were just part of the 42,800 participants at 803 locations around the world taking part.

Game makers of all skill levels challenge themselves and their teammates to make a game from start to finish in just 48 hours and each year has a unique theme.

Developers are free to interpret the theme, this year being Transmission, and are able to make any type of game as long as it fits within that theme.

The Global Game Jam has been the genesis of popular Australian titles Screencheat by Samurai Punk, Blockpocalypse by Dime Studios and Symphony of the Machine by Stirfire Studios.

Vibe With Friends developed by Colton Onderwater, Ellie Balson, Bob Hayden, Kit Matthews and Nick Haslam and is an asynchronous two-player game that uses the vibration feature of a controller to transmit messages in the real world which can then be acted upon in the game.

“Working off of that we figured what are ways that players can communicate with each other, say relaying instructions for instance… and from there we thought what if the only way the other player could experience instructions was through the communications with controllers” said Onderwater.

“We sort of centred it around a spy theme, so you had to try find the person in the crowd to give your message to, and not give it to just some rando” said Balson.

‍Colton Onderwater and Ellie Balson working on Vibe with Friends.

Brothers Ben and James Paddock who are are both currently working their game The Adventures of Square are taking part in their first Global Game Jam this year and took advantage of the change of scene to create nu//void (pronounced nullvoid).

‍Ben and James Paddock designing nu//void in the Doom engine.

“This feels like a good environment to be in, it’s a little bit unfamiliar as we traditionally work from home… this is kind of a new and interesting experience for us.” said Ben Paddock.

“I wanted to peek my head into the world of game dev scene... I wanted to work closely in an environment of game devs.”

Teams from Perth created thirty three titles by the end of the weekend and you can view and play the full selection of games completed at the Perth  jam here or take part in the follow up event on Saturday 10 February 2018 at the Nostalgia Box

Sam Steer and his team created Tesla Transmission Towers of Terror Too: Eclectic Boogaloo