Molyjam Deux: The Results

July 25th, 2013

Originally published in Las Vegas Citylife on July 10, 2013

Game jams are exhausting. Forty-eight hours of concentration, problem solving, design, and compromise, followed by an hour or two of tension and high anxiety as the developers attempt to bundle everything into a single working cohesive piece to demo. If a team is lucky, development aligns enough with the initial game plan that the full-day work sessions are punctuated by sleep. Some of the teams aren’t so lucky, powering through on willpower, caffeine, and the demands of a deadline. Game jams are amazing.

This week: Molyjam wrap up!

Okay, first a brief recap. Molyjam is an annual game jam where current and aspiring game developers gather and create video games over the course of a single weekend, all themed in a loving mix of homage and parody of renowned designer Peter Molyneux. This year, the stated rule was that all game concepts were to be based on actual Molyneux quotes, pulled freely and without context from over two decades of interviews and presentations.

(For the less brief recap, read my previous column.)

On the evening of July 5th, a dozen game developers in Las Vegas gathered together at SHFL Entertainment’s interactive office, formed teams, came up with concepts, and hunkered down to work alongside hundreds more from around the world, all simultaneously creating games for Molyjam.

Two days later, over 250 titles by nearly 800 developers had been submitted to the Molyjam website. While the majority of the games are playable by anyone on a standard Mac or Windows computer, some teams chose more niche platforms (the Oculus Rift VR headset was especially popular this year), and one programmer even designed and wrote a game for the Atari 2600.

For some participants, just the act of completing something mostly playable in two days is enough. Others will continue to hone and polish their projects over the coming weeks, so if you come across a submission you especially enjoy, be sure to let developers know, and keep an eye on them for future announcements.

Full story, after the jump »

Molyjam Deux: You Thought You Molyneux

July 24th, 2013

Originally published in Las Vegas Citylife on June 27, 2013

lasvegas_molyjam

In April of 2012, well over a thousand game developers, both new and accomplished, gathered in groups around the world and began to hammer away at their keyboards.

Over the course of a single 48 hour weekend, several hundred video games were created, demoed, and submitted online for anyone to play.

Next weekend, beginning on the evening of July 5th, we’re doing it again.

This week: the game jam column!

By the time the Internet at large had caught on to what he was doing, Adam Capone had been tweeting under the guise of @PeterMolydeux for well over a year. Via the Twitter account, a parody of the sometimes brilliant and often bombastic game designer Peter Molyneux (creator of Populus, Black & White, Fable, and more), Capone would post surreal and fanciful game concepts, ideas that, like their target of inspiration but cranked up to 11, often straddled the line between potential and absurdity.

@PeterMolydeux: You are a Pigeon who must go around the city trying to persuade business men not to jump off buildings by retrieving items from their home.

@PeterMolydeux: 3D adventure game where you have amnesia and wake up in a gigantic museum where every room is devoted to a year of your life

@PeterMolydeux: What if you could plant seeds that grow into cover systems?

Molydeux’s tweets were mostly an amusement to a growing cadre of readers – sometimes light jabs at Molyneux and the game industry, sometimes enjoyable thought experiments. And then on March 13, 2012, Anna Kipnis, a programmer at game studio Double Fine, posted the following:

@doubleanna: has there already been an indie game jam where each team picks an idea from @petermolydeux and goes for it? it needs to happen.

Almost immediately, wheels began to turn. Anna was joined by industry vets Chris Remo, Patrick Klepek, and Brandon Sheffield, and the four of them conspired to make the concept a reality. Soon, others from around the world (myself included) jumped onboard to organize local events. Venues were secured, a website was built, and word began to spread. The game jam was going to happen.

Oh, right. Game jam.
Full story, after the jump »