For most of August, I led an extended game jam, a slow jam, at Reed College, for students and alums. It was modeled after a maker space where participants could drop in when they could, to accommodate those who had to work day jobs.
It was great! And… enlightening!
One thing I learned is that 3 weeks of unstructured slow jamming is about the same as a 48-hour traditional, little-sleep game jam. The amount of work and the completeness of a project are about the same. One big difference is that you get a lot more playtesting iterations in, though, so what you have can be more balanced, if not necessarily more complete…
I think next year we should provide a little more structure, set definite goals, etc.
This year, we ended up with 7 projects in various states:
- a tight economic boardgame designed by Joe Wasserman about managing a barbershop. Yes, a barbershop. I would buy this in a heartbeat. It is very, very good.
- a deck building, sort of area control, combat card game, inspired by Eminent Domain *and* Cosmic Encounter. Wow.
- a space 4x (minus 1 x) co-op card game. This one is mine, and I’m still working on it. Hoping to launch a Kickstarter sometime soonish.
- a push-your-luck dice game inspired by Kerbal Space Program, about the early rush to space during the Cold War.
- a strategy roguelike-like, inspired by Small World, etc.
- a platformer based on The Faerie Queene
- a vector and momentum game about mobsters fighting on ice. Awesome concept.
There’s probably going to be two or three Kickstarter projects emerging from last month, eventually, so I’ll be sure to provide status updates when I can.
Join Mark Chen ’95, game designer & researcher—and friends—for a month-long game jam on the Reed College campus this August 1—23
Part workshop, part lab, part on-going brainstorm and creation space. During the Reed Game Jam you will:
- Gain an understanding of the game development process:
- Idea generation;
- Writing a game design document;
- Testing mechanics for both digital and tabletop games.
- Learn about current state of games in academia &
- Participate in hands-on research activities.
The goal? Produce at least one Kickstarter-ready game.
The Jam (in Psy108) will be open from Tuesday—Saturday extended hours; closed on Sunday, and open 9—5 p.m. on Monday.
INTERESTED? Email Brooke Hunter (email@example.com) for the application link.
Deadline to apply Tuesday, June 25, 2013
So, here’re my August plans! Huge thanks to Brooke Hunter at Reed for making this happen.
This is primarily for Reedies, but others are welcome to apply. It’s basically a Maker space kind of set up. A bunch of smart people dropping in when they can to collaborate on game-related projects. I’m taking donations for food, transportation, etc. 🙂
So, a couple of weeks ago, I hung out with 5 Reed College students, hosting a week-long “externship,” a new program Reed is trying this year. The basic idea was to let them job shadow me for a week before Paideia.
When I was originally approached about this back in October, I had just finished my postdoc position at UW, so I told Brooke, the career services person, that they’d basically just be hanging out with me at an internet cafe designing, reading about, and playing games. She still thought that sounded interesting, so I wrote something up and posted it:
Continue reading Somehow I’ve become a good alum