What is a solar game?
Is it a story? A mechanic? A hardware object? Take the prompt as broadly as you’d like! Approach the question thematically through your game’s narrative or design around speculative hardware affordances.
The goal of this experimental game jam is not to develop a polished game but rather to design small game prototypes with GB Studio and to explore speculative solar inputs.
We invite you to think outside the box—to imagine handhelds differently. How might the game change if you can only play it on a solar-powered Game Boy? What if the controls were light sensors instead of buttons? What does sustainable solar play look like?
We’re curious to see how game makers of all levels approach the theme of solarity in all its forms. There exist few explicit solar games—let’s create and imagine new ones!
What is GB Studio?
GB Studio is a free, open-source game creation program created by Chris Maltby. It allows participants of all levels to create Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. For the purposes of this jam, we limit the scope to Game Boy games only.
The program hides much of the complexity of creating Game Boy games behind a user-friendly visual interface, meaning that you don’t need to know how to code. The game creation process instead occurs via drag and drop and simple if/then conditional events, making game creation accessible to participants of various experience levels.
Who Are We?
This game jam is hosted by Michael Iantorno and Alex Custodio in collaboration with the Solar Media Collective and the Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) Research Centre at Concordia University in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal).
Toward Solar Digital Communications
The Solar Media Collective is a student-run research-creation group affiliated with the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology. Against the urgent backdrop of the Internet’s carbon footprint, we explore the affordances of solar energy for digital communication systems and create alternative solar-powered infrastructures.
You can learn more about our goals and approaches at solar-media.net.
Why a Game Boy Game Jam?
Designing games for a familiar and nostalgic platform can be an entry point for thinking about solar media more generally. Our hope is that this event will leave participants feeling curious about the affordances of solar energy, especially with respect to technology.
- Using GB Studio, design a Game Boy game that centres around the sun. Feel free to be as speculative as you’d like. Please note that Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games are not allowed for this jam.
- Include a brief summary of your game on your Itch page, including any information about any speculative hardware design that could bring your game to life (ex. solar sensors, alternative button inputs).
- Create the game within the two-week jam period.
- Final entries must be submitted on Thursday, May 25 by 11:59 PM EST.
- Multiple entries are allowed.
- Feel free to work together in teams if you’d like!
- Ensure that you credit all assets appropriately. AI-generated imagery and crypto/blockchain graphics are not permitted.
- If your submission includes sensitive content, ensure that you include a note in your game description.
- Discrimination and bigotry will not be tolerated. Participants who conduct themselves inappropriately will have their submissions removed and may be prevented from engaging in future events hosted by the organizers.
There are no prizes for this event—apart from the joy of game design and the challenge of exploring sustainable solar design, that is!
However, if you host a ROM, we will showcase your work with credit at our Symposium on May 26, 2023!