In late January, SAE hosted the 2017 Perth Global Game Jam. If you’re not familiar with what that is, then visualise a bunch of dedicated individuals cramming themselves into SAE’s state of the art facilities – and then creating an entire game in 48 hours. Many will tell you that every human has a book in them, but that’s rubbish. Everyone has a game in them, and there are certain talented humans who created theirs in less than three days.
However, I’m sure most if not all participants actually have more than one game in them – everyone was robustly talented after all. I know this not because I went to the GGJ myself (read Nicks article posted on the 27th if you want to know more about that) but because I instead went to the special edition of Playup Perth hosted at Nostalgia Box last Saturday. Here, all the devs showcased the fruits of their labour from what I assume was a fun but intense few days, and there was much creativity and innovation on display.
Every GGJ is themed, and this year it was all about waves. This could mean any number of things: sound waves, the physical act of waving, Bayswater Waves… everything from that point onwards was up to the devs.
And just as a quick one, Nostalgia Box (if you’re not aware) is a fantastic video game museum situated in Northbridge. As well as having an extensive and interesting gaming collection on display, they also host plenty of gaming-related events like this one. There was even bar with cheap booze! Retro games, local indie games, beer… this place had everything that night. I headed on down with a camera and voice recorder in tow (i.e. a free Android app) and checked out what the good word was.
Mad Huey!! (Aaran Gicquel)
The only smartphone game that I saw on display that fine Saturday night, Mad Huey!! has you taking on the role of a gnarly surfer dude as he dodges obstacles and waves created by the irate God of Surf, Huey. Swiping along the screen creating waves of your own, the goal is to become Most Excellent while radical surf punk music aids you in your quest. It’s Tubulaaaaaaar.
Curse you Merciful Poseidon (Ashley Fraser)
A multiplayer-only game, Curse you Merciful Poseidon actually involves controlling two elements per player (a big ole’ finger from the heavens above and a boat) with the goal being to push each other’s boat off the map by creating waves with your big finger. I particularly liked the visuals for this one, and the fact that you control two entities on-screen simultaneously really made the matches intense but also a lot of fun.
Call of Coolthulu: Makin’ Waves (Colton Onderwater)
Coolthulu is the coolest sea monster of the ocean, summoned to bring good times. Created by GameCloud’s own Colton Onderwater, the aim is to walk with the beat of the music creating sick waves – generating a good time and a mad party. Mess up the steps, however, and everyone leaves because you’ll simply no longer be cool. People will probably start complaining about the fishy smell as well. Regardless of the immense pressure to stay cool (which I can imagine would be hard for a gigantic beast – fitting in would be hard) Call of Coolthulu: Makin’ Waves is an awesomely stylish game. The music is still stuck in my head, and the graphics are simply, well, cool! Party down!
Byzantine Prize (RAEZ)
Playup isn’t entirely about video games, with Byzantine Prize reping the tabletop sector of Perth’s gaming scene. Impressively created in only 13 of the 48 hours available during the GGJ, Byzantine Prize is currently a three player game however it might be expanded to six in the future. It’s set in the Bermuda Triangle where powerful and deadly sentient waves are sinking everything in their path. The goal is collect as much treasure as you can by travelling from one side of the board to the other, with the ultimate aim to make it out the other side alive while avoiding the waves.
Irradiate My Heart (Liam Kinsella)
Irradiate My Heart is an asymmetrical multiplayer 2D platformer created in GameMaker – which was nice since everything else bar Byzantine Prize was seemingly created in Unity. One player takes on the role of a sentient tumour, while the other is an advanced nano-bot whose role is to eliminate cancer using radiation waves. A fun concept considering each role is so different (classic evil vs. good) meaning that several rounds of play are a given since you’ll definitely want to try both players. As a nice added bonus too, a lot of the audio included are SoundFonts from SEGA Genesis games and the original Doom. Fitting really, considering it was showcased in a retro gaming museum after all.
RockVomit (Jason Hutchens)
A short but sweet game created with Web Technologies, RockVomit is a dance-off game involving ragdoll physics. Using an Xbox Controller, different buttons control different limbs ensuring you have a large amount of freedom with movement. Sure, you could just dance like you’re supposed too or you could instead climb on top of your opponent and start punching them in the face repeatedly until the round finishes. The choice is yours.
BattleBouncers (Jacob Kreck)
Were you ever the type of snotty child to double bounce your friends off the side of a trampoline? If that is indeed the case, then BattleBouncers is likely the game for you. Played in an arena type setting that is more or less a large trampoline, the aim of the game is to bounce around creating waves to knock off the opponents. What brings BattleBouncers to the next level, however, is that up to six players can bounce it out simultaneously which leads to a super fun chaotic environment where waves are being flung all over the place. Also included is an interesting cast of relevant characters to the theme – one of which has a microwave as a head while another a waving hand.
Pitch Imperfect (Bytesprite Games)
Very much like Flappy Bird of which I’m sure needs no explanation, but with one distinct twist: instead of tapping on a screen or clicking a mouse to gain height, you use your voice! Using a microphone, higher vocals make you go up while getting low and funky sends the character down, all the while dodging obstacles. An interesting alternative way to play the genre for sure and everyone’s lovely vocals dominated the events ambient noise.
And, That’s a Wrap
And with that, another Playup Perth wraps up. It was unfortunate that I was unable to try every game and interview every dev, but this was only because of how crowded the museum was. Every game was constantly occupied, and the devs could be tricky to find since they were, of course, playing all the other games as well! This all points to the event being a huge success, however, and the devs and organisers should definitely pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Until next time!