Game Jams are important to the growth, innovation and learning factor of the industry and discipline as a whole. I encourage anyone interested in the field, or embedded in it already, to participate in jam events near you. To this end here are a few things you should know about:
Global Game Jam
Even without the structure and guidelines of such events, we should all be building games like this in our spare time. Regardless of your focus it will help you learn new skills, adapt to changing trends and discover new possibilities within your skillset.
I think most of us get this, though. If you want to make a great game you have to make games. Doing will lead to expertise, understanding and forethought. Failure is a necessity to succeed. During a conversation with my colleague, Bryce Evans, he mentioned the state of the industry 5-10 years from now revolving around shorter, cheap games. Games about specifics. Games about something meaningful or enjoyable and built so you can play them, move on, and jump into the next title. The more I think about these "burst" games as he called them the more I think they fit into this binge-watching culture we have now with media consumption. I'm not here to say anything is right or wrong about it, but it is worth bringing up how many of us dive into these experiences in short bursts, reveling in the one-off moments and weekends where we can get our fill.
There are so many things to watch, after all. And there are so many things to play, after all. So here the connection becomes obvious. Mobile game and/or free to play business and design models do what they can to keep people coming back. And it works, of course, because people enjoy these games and accept the psychological traps they fall into to purchase digital proxy currency, virtual cosmetic goods and such. Then we have our flavor of the week, flavor of the month or 5 minutes of fame games to play. We finish them, we barely complete half the game, we dive in and get busy with our lives or other games, media or social responsibilities. Yet we buy these. Often. Of course we want those titles, despite the fact that we may never play them to completion, or complete them more than once, or unlock all of the achievements, buy the goodies or finish those unfinished quests. We buy them and they sit there but it doesn't matter. They collect dust in this literal or digital bookshelf but they are cherished like priceless artifacts whenever you recall them.
We found solace somewhere throughout this process of purchase and play and pretend we will return one day to slay the proverbial dragon.
Wordy and melodramatic, I know. I just want to stress how connected we are to these one-off experiences and how I wholeheartedly agree with Bryce's assumption. When I'm not working on Axis I build short and sweet games.
Burst Games. Short And Sweet (SAS pronounced like "sass") Games. We aren't sure what to call these yet.