JournoDevSwap: The message of this game jam

JournoDevSwap: The message of this game jam

By Peter Theophilus-Bevis

October 6th 2012 at 10:00PM

Are you a hateful, meaningless mess of a human being? No? Then you can Game Jam

[For their fourth article, our developer-cum-journalists were tasked with writing an opinion piece – You can find all the JournoDevSwap articles here.]

Why should you care about the JournoDevSwap Game Jam?

There is a layer of JournoDevSwap that is about showing developers that journalists are not just cylinders of bile supported on brittle, neoprene legs of bitterness. 

There’s also a layer that is about showing journo’s that being a dev isn’t as simple as human-centipede recycling ideas with the quality thermostat left at six-out-of-ten to reduce the fuel bill.

But the message “neither group of people is as lazy as they look from a distance” is hardly worth such an expensive and exhausting event to arrive at on its own is it?

And can we even be sure that, having peered transgressively behind each other’s veils for a couple of days, we’ll be able to remember this we-sort-of-knew-you’d-look-like-that -all-along lesson next time the other lot do something irritating? Only time will tell.

But as far as YOU are concerned – the message of this event should be: EVEN JOURNALISTS can go to a Game Jam and taste the sweet, preserved strawberries of creative fulfilment. 

They don’t have any specialist knowledge that’s giving them an advantage. They’re doing artwork, audio design, games design; but they know about playing games not making them. And if one group of people who don’t know about making games can come to a Game Jam and make them, then what is stopping all the other groups of players doing it too? 

It shouldn’t be that people who don’t already know how to make games have to wait to be specifically invited to special game jam events. People with no experience but a desire to be involved would be welcome at ANY game jam! 

It shouldn’t be that the only people who go along to game jams are people who already make games as a hobby, as part of their course or (heaven forbid) for a living! It should be that ANYONE who just wants to have a go at making a game gets to come along.

You can make an awesome digital toy. And making them FEELS SO AWESOME! It doesn’t matter that it won’t be Assassin’s Creed. No Game Jam game is! You’ll still quiver with satisfaction when you sit back and say “You remember when we had that cool idea for a game about making a dog put on as many hats as he can in 90 seconds?

“WELLNOWITISANACTUALGAMETHATWEHAVEMADEANDIAMSOMUCHBETTERATITTHANYOU!”

And Game Jams are such a fantastic place to lean to do it! You can spend 48 hours in the company of supportive and passionate people who will help you and be EXCITED about your progress! 

Why not start by just going along as a doodler-for-hire? There’s always groups of programmers who would love to have someone on their team who wants to draw that dog and all those hats, and it doesn’t matter that they’re doodling them in MS Paint – it still saves them the job of doing it themselves.

Doesn’t it sound like something your 13-year-old-self would flip-out at you for passing up? Don’t deny him/her the chance to say: “You know that video game with the Alsatian in it? It was me who decided the breed of that dog, oh and those sombreros are all mine too!”

Don’t deny him/her the feeling of knowing that those sombreros you drew can now drop onto that dog on any computer screen around the world and people will say “Oh hey, Dirk! Come and look at this doghatting simulator! This is a glorious victory of youthescent passion over perceived complexity!”

You’re not supposed to be there because you can already make games at a professional level. You’re supposed to be there because the idea of making a game is EXCITING and you want to sit in a room full of people and have your ideas for a game listened to, implemented and brought to life in your own scribbly hand! 

The message of JournoDevSwap is that Game Jams allow ANYONE to turn up and make an ACTUAL MAGICAL TOY.

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You can keep up to date with all the news stories/interviews/blogs/previews/reviews as they come in on theJournoDevSwap tag.

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