This time of year involves a bunch of travel, shifts in schedules, and time with family and friends. And then the beginning of the year is all about recovery, starting off on the right foot, and new year's resolutions. Plus it's cold out and you might even have to shovel snow, yikes! Why even try to make games when there's so little time?
That's how I often feel. But a game doesn't have to be a huge deal! Your goal in this jam is to do what I do when I feel like there's no time: make something small and/or make something in a small time frame. There are loads of options: make a business card or postcard game, or make one in a zine. Or make something in an hour, or three hours! Digital and analog games are allowed, and if you're not sure if something counts as a game: it probably does. If you really want to make sure, though, feel free to reach out to me (my contact info is in the FAQ in the Community tab.
And at the end, there'll be a bundle too! But this is a smol bundle: no matter how many games are a part of it, it's going to be 25 cents per game in the bundle or $10, whichever is smaller. In the unlikely event that we receive fewer than 4 games, the bundle will still be $1 (the minimum Itch allows). This amount will be evenly split between all participants, and don't worry: if you don't want to be part of the bundle, you don't have to be. :D
All games entered MUST be made during the jam period. "Made" means at least 25% completed starting with December 1st, 2023.
FAQ and Discord/social info are in the Community tab.
Oh, and one final note: this should go without saying, but transphobic, queerphobic, racist, ableist, xenophobic, sexist and most other -ist/-phobic content will be removed. However, games that deal with these topics in a negative light (like someone experiencing transphobia) are allowed and encouraged.
These challenges are 100% optional and are meant to be inspirational. Challenges do not need to be completed during the week they're announced, feel free to go back to a previous challenge any time!
Week 1: Make it Smol
Have you made a game before? Or maybe you really love a specific game? Make that game... smaller! Maybe it's a slice of the game that works on its own, or you've converted a big ol tabletop game into a small lil card game (like Project Shrinko that a friend of mine, Sean, has mentioned before). In either case, see if you can capture what makes one thing fun but in a smaller version.
That can mean a game that takes less time to play, a game with fewer components, or whatever you take it to mean
Week 2: Finish It!
This week's challenge is TO FINISH SOMETHING! Whether you just need to edit it and get it on Itch or you've just thrown together the beginning of a game, your goal is to get something done.
This is the final week of 2023, wouldn't it be nice to start 2024 with one fewer game in progress?
Week 3: Hyper 1 HOUR Game Jam
I'm a HUGE fan of the Hyper 1 HOUR Game Jams, and I'd love for you to join me! Each Friday, Lyz runs one. Starting at 6 pm Eastern, she kicks off a livestream on YouTube, explains the jam, comes up with a theme, and then makes (or at least works on) a game. After that, she plays all of the things everyone has submitted!
It's a delightful time and Lyz is supporive and encouraging as heck.
I'll do everything in my power to be there Friday, and I'd love to see you there too! Even if you don't finish something in an hour, it's a great start 🥳
Week 4: Make a Zine!
So all of the other stuff here is doable in any format: video game, tabletop game, TTRPG, story, zine, whatever! But this one is super specific in format: the challenge is to make a zine.
Zines are typically 8 pages, folded from a single sheet of paper. The zine scene is incredibly laid back, and loads of people even make them by hand and then scan them in or print copies of them! This video is an awesome tutorial on how to make one by hand.
As far as contents, zines can be images, writing, games, or whatever. You can make a music playlist, write a poem, list reasons why pizza is amazing, make a game, or do whatever you can think of. We have a LOT of zines, and almost all of them are free in digital format, check em out!
The list of prompts in the image comes from this Instagram post by MoZiPro. Feel free to do January's, one of the other month's, or something else entirely. And for the ultimate challenge, join us in completing the prompt each month!
Week 5: IT'S SO SMOL!
This week, make something PHYSICALLY very small. For anyone making a physical game, piece of art, or even a recipe, make it fit on a business card or playing card. If you're making something digital, make it work in a very confined space.
Week 6: Random Prompt Challenge
I LOVE random prompts, especially when I can just generate more until something piques my interest. And that's the challenge this week: use my spreadsheet* or any other generator to randomly get a prompt, and then make something for it. Or even create an idea doc or sketch of what the game will be, then upload that to Itch and enter it here. It's all good!
*If you use my spreadsheet, you'll need to click "File > Make a Copy" to use it (so no one can leave bad messages or anything on it or break it). Once you've made a copy, click on any of the empty white cells and hit delete or backspace to make it generate a new set of prompts! Feel free to delete columns from any of the sheets, add prompts, or whatever you want, it's yours.
Week 7: Unconventional Time Limits
We were chatting in the Lucky Newt Jams server (I'm a moderator there but it's not my server, it's awesome though especially for TTRPG creators!) when the idea of using an unconventional time limit came up. I jokingly threw a few out and then realized it would make a great challenge! Can YOU make a game before your toaster pops up, or your microwave beeps?
Here are some possible challenges, choose one or make something else up!
If you're not making a tabletop game, make a piece of art, finish coding part of your game, or lay out a level in that time. The possibilities are endless!
Just remember that if you don't finish in time, you're not a failure! These are very difficult, restrictive challenges and not meant to be easily overcome. Trying is winning regardless of the outcome!
Week 8: Let's Get It Started in Here
We had a challenge to finish something, but do you know what's even more fun? STARTING something!
You don't have to finish it —although it would be awesome if you do— just start it! Different ways to start something might include:
Your creation is valid as long as there's enough to put on Itch (which, unless I'm wrong, is literally anything uploadable). If you can get it on Itch, you can enter it into this jam! Maybe having the beginning of the game here in the jam and on Itch will encourage you to continue working on it. :D
Week 9: Cook Up Somethin' Good!
This one is a little self-serving lol, but Angel and I each created generator "games" last Friday:
This challenge can be taken in one of two ways:
Week 10: Minimalism Edition
Your goal this week is to make something as MINIMAL as possible. Anything that's considered polish or unnecessary shouldn't exist in your creation.
Remember: if you make something and discover it would do better with that polish, you can always add it later! Heck, just release your game as "in development" or whatever and make a note about how this awful lady is forcing you to make your game super plain. 🤣
The goal is to make something FAST and then figure out if it's worth pursuing further. If you need to redo much of the game, a lot of your polish will be for nothing. And if you find that the game isn't fun, then ALL of the polish was wasted time. Well, aside from the experience of applying the polish, of course. :D
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