Thursday, 5 November 2015

Asylum Jam

There are lots of different kinds of 'game jams' out there nowadays, each aiming to motivate game developers (and their talented art-y, musical or actor brethren) to create a game in a short space of time. Starting tomorrow is Asylum Jam, now in its third consecutive year, and it is definitely my kind of jam. 

Game developers will be tasked with creating a horror game in 48 hours. However, despite being called the 'asylum' jam, they have to do so without leaning on the tired (and sometimes misleading) tropes and stereotypes of negative mental health issues and environments. 

Fran Bow - Point-and-click horror adventure where a little girl loses her parents and is sent to a psychiatric institute.

There is only one rule:
"1.) You should not use asylums, psychiatric institutes, medical professionals or violent/antipathic/’insane’ patients as settings or triggers."
Doesn't seem too restrictive at all, but you just know that without this rule that at least 25% of the games would be set in an abandoned asylum with a bunch of naked schizophrenics running around with knives. Don't worry, Outlast, you're the exception. I love you. 

Outlast - Night-vision nightmare set in an asylum.

If you're interested in joining Asylum Jam, it is set to run from November 6th to 9th, and you will be able to choose 48 hours within this time to create your game. That even leaves time for sleep, which I feel is quite generous. I always thought jams involved insane amounts of energy drinks, sugary snacks, and the occasional eye twitch. There's even a 'Looking for Group' sheet, which allows people to organise team collaboration, whether you're looking to join a team, or need someone with specific skills to join your team.

Neverending Nightmare - Gory side-scrolling through a scratchy world where you can't trust anything you see.

To join the Asylum Jam, you must be a GameJolt member and submit your 48 hour creation with the jam's tag. To vote on the games once the jam is finished, you must also be a GameJolt member, so it is worth signing up no matter which side you plan to enjoy Asylum Jam from. Any questions may be answered by the FAQ section on the official website, and if not, you can email the organisation even ask via Twitter.

If you're looking for a little inspiration, or even just a few quick scares, why not check out the submissions from 2013 and 2014. I've had a quick look, and it is certifiably insane what some people can do in 48 hours. I guess that's why it's called Asylum Jam... right?

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