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Thinking Green at Global Game Jam 2017

 

This 20th-22nd of January, TAG was proud to be one of the many sites for the 2017 iteration of Global Game Jam, the world’s largest game-making event. The theme this year was ‘Waves’, but on top of that our on-site jam organizers, Gina Hara and Lianne Decary-Chen, with the amazing collaboration of Concordia’s Sustainability Action Fund (SAF) added in an extra twist for our jammers – a local diversifier that challenged the game makers to relate their final products to sustainability.

Never shy to run with a theme, we decked out the jam space on the 11th floor of Concordia’s EV Building with plants, plants, and more plants, but our indoor campsite complete with log pillows, artificial campfire, and a cozy tent stole the show earning TAG some major kudos from the Twitterverse and on our Twitch stream.

During the weekend-long event, 35 Jammers in 8 teams came together for the weekend and made 9 fun and original games that toyed with waves and sustainability in a wide variety of ways. A jury composed of TAG faculty members Pippin Barr and Rilla Khaled, Outreach Coordinator from the SAF, Justine Provost, and local game designer Nicolas Barrière used their combined expertise to evaluate the games and dole out some fun and appropriate accolades.

While every title was a joy to play, here are just a couple of the games that germinated from the weekend:

Winner of the Most Mindful Hands-on Experience award, for instance was rustle your leaves to me softly: an ASMR Plant Dating Simulator by TAG’s own Jessica Marcotte and Squinky – a game that made clever use of some on-site greenery along with a redboard and conductive materials to allow players to cultivate a relationship one of four eligible plants. To quote the makers themselves, “By interacting with the plant in different ways (stroking with varying pressures, speaking, blowing air across the plant’s surface, etc), the player provokes a response from their plant. The plant plays ASMR back to the player as a form of communication. However, the plant is basing its ASMR on what plants like, which may differ from what humans enjoy.”

Also on display was Make Some Waves by Alexey Glukhov, Leeza Girolami and Wesley Lord. The game was this year’s winner of the Gandhi Award for Being the Change You Want to See in the World, which made use of a fancy Leap Motion controller to put the power of saving nature literally at your fingertips.

In the end, in addition to our judges accolades, our esteemed participants each went home with a twinkle in their eye and a plant in their hands to call their very own as a way of commemorating the weekend and a reminder that Animalia is not the only kingdom on Earth. A big thank you once again to everyone who came and made the event what it was and a particular shout-outro to Gina and Liane once again for making the jam possible and ensuring that it was such a success.

TAG’s Global Game Jam 2017 page (complete with playable versions of most of the games) can be found HERE.

Until next year, dear jammers, may your stems be strong and your leaves ever turned towards the sun. 🌿

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