A gamejam about populism
When it comes to game jams, creativity is king. Not knowing the topic or theme of the jam usually is a fundamental part of the experience. Half of the fun is to brainstorm associations with other people on that topic, then roll with it. That's what I thought not long ago anyway.
Last weekend I took part in the bpb gamejam about populism. bpb stands for "Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung" which is the Federal Agency for Civic Education here in germany.
Knowing the topic beforehand was no problem, because we started the jam with two rounds of thinking about different aspects of populism. We collected topics like "perceived truth", "populism in media", "aesthetics of populism", ... then split up in groups to discuss those aspects. This may sound boring at first (where are the games at?!), but it was a great way to go deeper and provided a perfect breeding ground for creative game ideas.
A few weeks ago I participated in the ocean game jam, which was about issues connected to the ocean like pollution, overfishing and resource exploitation. There we had only a short presentation about the topic. In hindsight this can be done better by involving the participants in the research and discussion.
The bpb gamejam was also the most luxurious game jam I ever participated in. Location was the conference center "Akademie der kulturellen Bildung" in Remscheid. The main hall was huge with smaller conference rooms all around it. I had my own room with a bed and shower, full board service with breakfast, lunch, cake, dinner and ... midnight snacks! Incredible!
Since I could not decide which project to join, I started my own. I love keeping it abstract and leave a lot of freedom to interpretation. So with the help of Heiko, I created "Color me interested", a top-down local-multiplayer battle for dominance. If you don't know that this is about populism, you probably would never have guessed it.
Since I'm currently learning the Unreal Engine, this was my preferred choice. Again a game jam proofed to be a great way of learning.
We released the game on itch.io and you can download and play it right now! Well, if you have a controller and a friend nearby...
10/10 would jam again. Thank you bpb and all participants for the great time!