Indie devs are continuing to fight for local multiplayer.
The big game companies seem to have largely lost interest in local multiplayer as more and more players compete against each other online, but there’s a good argument to be made for players in the same room talking trash, yelling and playing a game together at once. That’s why the Brooklyn Gamery pulled together the Multijam Ultra 2015: Arcade Edition this past weekend at NYU’s MAGNET Center.
The event was a game jam. The local game company’s latest, following their previous Super Love Game Jam, once again shoved teams in a room for 48 hours while they pounded away on code and art to try to finish one project to show off at the end. Some teams were one person only but most had four or five people.
We recently profiled another local developer who organized other devs to release a package of local multiplayer games, called Sportsfriends.
The jam was organized by Brooklyn Gamery cofounders Catt Small and Chris Algoo. We spoke to Algoo after the demos on Sunday and he said he felt like it was one of the biggest, most successful jams they’ve ever done (here are Small’s tips for making jams more inclusive). Algoo explained that they do these events more as a contribution to the community than for any particular business reason. The team’s game, Prism Shell, is largely finished, however, and will be submitted to IndieCade, Algoo said.
— Arthur@Carrots of Happiness (@EdibleToaster) April 27, 2015
All of the games were quite charming.
Here are a few that grabbed us:
High Noon Photo Shootout
This one was a little hard to photograph, but the gameplay appeal seemed high. By Jonah Wallerstein, this is an iPhone game that uses the peer-to-peer networking built into iPhones. It allows users to take their cameras and play a shootout game, like gunfighters in the Old West, but without bullets.
Wallerstein said he planned to polish it up and release it in the App Store. We’ve reached out so we can let our readers know when he does.
Wallerstein already has one game out for mobiles, Too Many Snakes.
Jet Landis opened her presentation saying, “I’m a game artist professionally, so I wanted to switch it up and make something tangible.” She brought out a very 3D board game.
It’s a sort of climbing game where players can move or manipulate the structure they are both climbing up together.
She made it using a die-cut machine. Landis made the pieces in Illustrator and then her machine cut and scored the paper for her. Then it was a lot of folding and gluing.
She said it was inspired by a game from the 1980s called Labyrinth that she and her sister used to play and revise the rules for.
Obsessive Compulsive Deforestation
Team OCD made this game, with most of the presentation conducted by Arthur Ward. It was a game where two players raced to mow their lawns, with their fists. The first one to completely mow their lawn won, but players could also throw objects over the fence that would cause the other person’s lawn to grow. The lawns also randomly grew back as each player worked.
It was interesting to watch because it illustrated how tricky balancing a game can be. “This is purgatory,” someone in the crowd said. The team laughed as they tried desperately for someone to achieve the win condition, but grass kept growing back just as either one got close to winning.
The team had other powers that they wanted to build for the game, but they didn’t have time.
Eye for an Eye
A four-player game where each player is controlling half the body of a cyclops. “As you all know, cyclops bodies are made mostly out of jello,” Kevin, one of the creators said.
The cyclops bodies were huge. Each team had their own screen and as each tried to control the body of their cyclops, they twisted and turned in all sorts of funny ways for a slow, awkward fight.
V Space War
From Charlie Deck, a team of one. He said, “I have fond memories of the original DOS Space War.” A four-player game in an empty, bounded universe, the idea was to make a spectator-friendly spaceship fighting game. You could see all four player’s perspectives but you could also see the relative position of each ship in a 3D map in the center of the screen.
He said he built it in Unity with iTween.
Deck recently relocated here from San Francisco.
— Charlie Deck (@bigblueboo) April 27, 2015