A lot of folks have some strong ideas about what a game Is and Is Not.
This Is The Not A Game Jam Game Jam. Make "games" which are literally impossible to play. Make games with no interaction. Make games without mechanics. Make games that are meant to be read, where play is a secondary concern. Make a list of everything that makes a Game a Game and then make a game that has none of those things. Make a game that Isn’t.
Analog and Digital "games" are welcome in this jam as well as any other types of "games".
Take some pressure off, lean into the strengths of the medium, we want these submissions to be unlike "games" we've seen in really cool ways, and we think we'd get some REALLY cool games out of it.
Mobile games, walking sims, visual novels, and other genres that challenge our expectations of Game are breaking ground both in creating innovative avenues for the art form but also in innovating new ways to disappoint tired gamers with set expectations. Video games have been dealing with this for a while but tabletop is not free from these comments either.
Years ago I attended a panel on Elegant Game Design where the panelist explained that all games must have a way of rewarding a set of behavior while punishing another set of behavior. He went on to say that conflict was a necessary element of design, and that all games required a conflict resolution mechanic that had some set of randomization, and condemned games without these elements as “just storytelling prompts”.
Maybe this game jam is created out of spite to people who try to tell you that you’re not making a “Real” “Game”. Maybe it’s a way to explore the medium in new ways and push your design comfort zone. Maybe it’s both, I don’t know. For me it’s about saying “I disagree” to a panel I sat in years ago because I didn’t feel comfortable standing up then.
There’s so much importance placed on how a game plays, to where we playtest ourselves into burnout. Make a game that’s finished when you hit the last “.” Make something that you finish & walk away, never looking back.
So much of the small experimental game experience of these jams is about reading these little conceptual games which will probably never get played anyway.
So we thought “what if we gave people the chance to really lean into that and make some really weird and out there things specifically designed to be regarded as reading and thought experiences before play experiences?”
While this game has an “official” run time, please know that we will literally always take “late” submissions. This is also Not A Game Jam, so like, who cares about the deadline, don’t stress about it.
We encourage you to charge for your Not-Games. We have the opportunity to set a standard and if you’d like to follow it, you can set the minimum price for your entry as $5 and the suggested price as $10. With that said, we also encourage you to include consideration for those in financial hardship by either including a plaintext copy of your game available for free, or including the following text in your Not-Game’s description: “If the price of this game is a hardship to you, please email me at [YOUR EMAIL] or DM me on Twitter [YOUR TWITTER] and I'll get you a download key, no questions asked.”
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