Explore Norse mythology in a captivating snow globe-bound puzzle game

From January 20th to the 22nd, the annual Global Game Jam blanketed the entire world as developers from every corner of every country quickly devised games. In total, 7217 games saw completion—which according to Global Game Jam, accounts to about 60 percent of Steam’s entire library. Some games were about knife-wielding crabs, others were calming vignettes, but every project found itself carefully crafted in accordance to a single theme: waves. In Australia-based developers Jennifer Scheurle, Gerard Delaney, and Emri Can Deniz’s entry, waves took shape in a familiar place: Norse mythology. The Serpent Cycle is a game of vignettes, taking place entirely within…

The Employee

The salaryman’s tragic tale turned into an efficient videogame theater

Videogames about the drudgery of working in a dead-end job, pushing piles of paper off a desk, are as old as, well … almost as old as videogames. One of the first was probably Takeshi no Chōsenjō, the 1986 game directed by Takeshi Kitano (known for the game show Takeshi’s Castle as well as starring in and directing his own films), which began by having you roam a Japanese city working as a salaryman. You stuck to the dull daily routine of a salaryman until you quit the job and worked out what else you could do. But Takeshi no Chōsenjō wasn’t meant as a…

It's a Beautiful Day

Videogames about self-care are exactly what we need right now

In the days following the results of the American election, programmer and game maker Jessica Hayley considered running a “Fuck Trump Game Jam” in order to “channel [her] anger into something that felt productive.” But upon reflection, she realized that the games that would come out of such a move would likely be something she wouldn’t want to contribute to. “I still wanted to do something, but I didn’t want the outcome to be a bunch of hateful games,” Hayley told me. “So I decided to turn the idea on its head and make a jam where the goal is…


Game Boy-style visuals are too good at being creepy

The Game Boy is an icon of ’90s innocence. It’s a kid playing Tetris (1984) while sprawled across their bed. Or a bunch of kids trading Pokémon (1996) in the sun with a Game Link Cable. Nintendo’s original grey handheld is not typically a vessel for horror. But you try telling that to the people who participated in the fifth Game Boy Jam earlier this month. The challenge of the GBJam is to create a game with the small resolution and limited 4-color palette of the original Game Boy. That means there’s a bunch of green-and-black games ready for playing right now. Most are…


A new retro-style platformer lets other players control the monsters

Game jams are filled with sleepless nights. Designers and artists gather for a short period of time, like a weekend, then work non-stop to create something playable in that limited time frame. A game jam is an intense and challenging way to create a game. And yet, it’s how many fantastic videogames are born, like Surgeon Simulator (2013), SUPERHOT, and Nuclear Throne (2015). One of the latest game jam ideas turned retail release is Don’t Crawl, from Nick Belorusov and Vadim Dyachenko “Ideas that spring to mind at 4AM when waking up for a game jam, are rarely truly original,” Belorusov explained when…


Videogame turns job seeking into what it really is: pattern matching

The A Game By Its Cover jam, which finished at the end of July, gave game makers a month to create a game based on of a Famicase game cover. It received 127 entries, some of which were as far off the map as Parachute Pete by grille, Dungeon of Flowers by neilmakesgames, and Secret of Love by nadia—which, by the way, is a “Lesbian based punching simulator.” Among such an eclectic collection of games, Full Time Job, a game about job seeking by Dylan Gallardo, looks decidedly less glamorous. Gallardo takes the mind-numbing task of job seeking and dilutes it…


Parachute Pete, a game about destroying planes in the bloodiest way possible

The game jam A Game By Its Cover 2016 is over, leaving behind many interesting and wonderful games. Inspired by fake Famicom game cover art, some of the games got weird, and that’s certainly the case for Parachute Pete. The game is immature in the best way, bringing together the terrifying majesty of a massive military aircraft and the brutality of chopping up bodies with giant engines. In Parachute Pete you control a tiny, weaponless green plane, with the goal of destroying aircraft (bearing a suspiciously familiar face on the tail) that are roughly 500 times larger than yourself. How do…


Embrace your fetish in a videogame about washing a giant foot

Ashi Wash is a ridiculous game with a ridiculous premise—a terrible, funky foot comes crashing through your ceiling. It’s got a serious fungus problem. (I’d suggest crashing into a doctor’s office next time, foot.) Its toenails are overgrown. Also, it can talk. The giant foot makes it pretty clear—in its greasy Brooklyn accent—that you’re to wash it; if you don’t, it’ll “smash ya house up.” Thems the rules, after all. Troy Grooms, Matt Murphy, Alex Zako, and Julian Francis created Ashi Wash during the summer edition of My First Game Jam, held on The prompt was to create a…


A bunch of games just arrived to provide a wider representation of love

The second installment of the International Love Ultimatum game jam (iluJam) has ended, gracing us with a variety of games about love in many shapes and sizes. This year saw a slightly bigger turn out with six more entries than the inaugural jam last year. Although the number of entries may be small, many of them have a big heart. Amanda Cosmos, the organizer of iluJam, was originally inspired by the Pulse-Pounding, Heart-Stopping Dating Sim Jam (PPHSDSJ). She wanted to participate, but when no follow-up event happened, she got the organizer’s blessing to put on a similar game jam herself. While…