Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Heartstrung from GGJ 2013 at NYU

This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the worldwide Global Game Jam at NYU's Game Center. This is the largest host for the GGJ in North America, consisting of over 150 participants and at least another hundred more who visited to experience the amazing results.

I visit the city frequently, so what a better way to spend my time making a game within 48 hours in the presence of like-minded individuals, all while chowing down on some of the best food around. My comfortable hotel was located by the Manhattan bridge, so each morning I got to walk through Chinatown for heavenly delicious brunch on the go: Peking duck, pork chive dumplings, Hong Kong style noodles, etc.

The theme for this year was "heartbeat", or specifically the sound of a heartbeat. I met two others, Adam and Rob, and got to work on a game eventually titled Heartstrung.

Heartstrung is a two player competitive game with a retro arcade feel. Two hearts are both metaphorically and physically tied together, while words and sentences fall to hint the struggles of their relationship. The heartbeat is represented by the world itself: a dynamic cardiogram heart monitor machine. The letters are physics objects, either collected for points, or collided to strategically nudge the other player's letters away. The experience is open to interpretation, especially the ending.

I am very satisfied with the end result. The game was nominated and won the award for "best use of theme", so getting the opportunity to play and present to an overcrowded hall on a large projected screen is an unforgettable highlight of the trip. We celebrated at a nearby pub afterwards, so I got to taste local Brooklyn beers paired with the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Whether or not this was favorite game jam, it is going to be very hard to beat...

Here is to hoping... Toronto Game Jam 2013.

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