“Think small, aim high, fail fast”: 4 games from Global Game Jam 2014

NYC's Global Game Jam 2014 is one of the biggest in the world, and it went down in Downtown Brooklyn.

A previous version of this story confused the members of the team behind the holographic game Voxiepong. 1/31/14 6:14PM.

The Global Game Jam 2014 site at the NYU Game Center was the fifth largest jam in the world, according to the organizers of the far-flung event series that challenges attendees to conceive of and launch a game in a weekend (digital or otherwise).

This was the first Global Game Jam that the Game Center hosted in Brooklyn, as it just moved to at 2 Metrotech Plaza this past semester, and its organizers told Technically Brooklyn that the move was just in time. There was no way they could have hosted such a big crowd at their previous space.

See lots of the games to come out of the local event here. They weren’t all video games, either. Some didn’t even use any electronics.

The team behind Voxiebox brought its system out to show to game makers and give some of them a chance to make games for it. Anyone who wanted could get the software development kit emailed to them.

The Voxiebox creates a hologram by relying on the persistence of human vision. It has a platform that shows a rapidly changing 2D image in basic colors and moves up and down at incredible speed, so that, to your eye, it appears to be a holographic image. The system has only been shown publicly less than ten times.

Voxiebox at Global Game Jam

Game makers gather around to check out Voxiebox’s hologramming system at the Game Center this past weekend.

At least one team tried developing for the new platform, making Voxiepong. See a hint of it in this tweet:

The event started Friday night with some words of encouragement from a few local luminaries of the indie game making scene, and then they showed a video keynote with tips about how to move the world of gaming forward by making a game in a weekend.

Frank Lantz, NYU Game Center Director, gave his tips at the start, polished over the course of kicking off several such events in recent years: 

  • “Think small, aim high, fail fast.”
  • He called this the golden age of small games, saying that world changing games come from jams like this.
  • Get out of talking as soon as possible and start making a prototype.
  • He suggested that the jammers use the 4:44 rule. Four hours to their first prototype. 44 hours polishing it.

At the end of all the keynotes, the theme for Global Game Jam was revealed: “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” Talk about a head trip.

One team decided to do a game about trying to understand sex. Here’s how it started:


You can see where it ended up here. It was nominated for Best Audio and Best Overall Game.

Nevernaut Games Global Game Jam 2014

Nevernaut Games, at work, day two, on what would become “One Of Us.” Alex Gresh and Vivian Allum shown, with Adnan Agha hidden.

Technically Brooklyn spoke to the team at Nevernaut Games, which came out to the Global Game Jam to make something new. Their two-against-two, ninja-themed capture-the-flag game Slash Dash won the Audience Choice Award at IndieCade 2013. This weekend, they made One Of Usa game about making global domination personal.

When we spoke to the team, the game involved firing a gun that shot clones of the main character, who would then fire every time the main character fired, making more clones.

“We were on a serious track and doing something really meaningful,” Vivian Allum told us, describing how her team approached the theme, “And then we decided to take it really literal and silly.”

While talking to the Nevernaut team, we learned that there is an ongoing discussion in the group about moving their operations to Brooklyn. We support the Brooklyn side of the conversation.

Catt Small and Asia Hoe, working on a GGJ 2014 game

Catt Small, of the Brooklyn Gamery and Code Liberation Foundation, and Asia Hoe, working on their five stages of grief action game.

When we spoke with this team, made up in part by members of the Brooklyn Gamery, they were working on an action game based on the five stages of grief, post breakup.

Catt Small described the overall game: “It’s sort of like platforming. Every stage is one of the stages of grief. You are dealing with the aftermath of a breakup.”

Each level does something to illustrate that stage.

Asia Hoe, who worked on art for the game, explained the trick of the “Denial” level (spoiler alert): “The Health Bar lies to you,” she said.

Play Five Stages here.

Here are some more photos of activity around the Global Game Jam in Downtown Brooklyn this weekend:

[slideshow_deploy id=’14764′]

Companies: NYU Game Center
Series: Brooklyn

Knowledge is power!

Subscribe for free today and stay up to date with news and tips you need to grow your career and connect with our vibrant tech community.

Technically Media