TOJam and Cheese
The third annual Toronto Independent Game Development Jam ran from the 9th to the 11th of May this year with over 125 developers managing to produce 34 different games across the intense three day period, and their pain is now our pleasure as all of the successfully completed games have been released online.
As if trying to produce a full game in three days wasn’t hard enough, developers were asked that their game relate to a theme (in this case, cheese), display a “Goat-on-a-Pole” image, and feature the TTC’s “doors closing” sound. Of course, they weren’t particularly strict about these requirements, and many creative and unique games were produced without them—not least People’s Choice Gold Award winner (voted for by the developers at the end of the jam) A Game About Bouncing, pictured above. Developed by local indie game auteur Shawn McGrath and best played with a game controller, in A Game About Bouncing the player controls a ball that “hooks” into bumpers on the playfield, bashing into them to gain points and using the momentum to avoid missiles. It’s hard to explain, but incredibly playable.
Everyday Shooter developer Jonathan Mak also took part, developing abstract bullet-hell avoid-em-up Flowers of Error with Pekko Koskinen. You won’t understand it without playing it—though much like Everyday Shooter, the synergy of sound and vision is uniquely attractive. (We should mention that Everyday Shooter is now available for PC on Steam, too. It’s worth every penny.)
There are too many games to go into detail with all of them, so people who want to dip in are recommended to check out TOJam’s Game Finder, which allows you to quickly find games that suit—the Flash game selection includes all the games that you can play online without installation, for example. That list includes TTC Crowd Control, which expects you to care about your commuters an unrealistic amount (well, for the TTC, anyway), the frustratingly difficult Der Baron Von UberCheesen Cheese Factory (with art from our Rosemary Mosco), and the adorably blood-thirsty Here Be Dragons.
For those of you lucky enough to have a Rock Band drum controller to hand, check out People’s Choice Puce winner Seas of Cheese, a scrolling beat-em-up that allows you to take out your frustrations by pounding on the drums (and by extension, evil pirates). If you’re willing to put in some real effort and install Microsoft’s XNA Studio, you’ll play even more great games, including People’s Choice Silver award winner Debugger (watch out though, you’ll bash your keyboard senseless trying to destroy the bugs) and The Office Party (pictured right), which features wonderful pixel art (from local illustrator Benjamin Rivers) and a story we can all relate to—trying to eat as much cheese and drink as much wine as possible while avoiding your annoying co-workers.
There are many more games we could mention, but why should we delay you any longer? Head over to the TOJam website and check them out!