I love a good game jam. Well, I love the results that come from them, anyway, not so much the sleepless weekends of coding, which I thankfully know nothing about. But there’s no better way to celebrate the innovation and ideas video games still have to offer than by getting a few devs together and encouraging them to let their creativity flow.
From these quick-fire sessions, ideas for exciting new games are born, and the 2017 Global Game Jam has been no different.
Taking place over the past weekend, this globe-spanning challenge saw thousands of teams come together to make curious, wonderful little experiments. These aren’t the most polished or fully-featured games around, if you can even call them games at all, but that’s kind of the point. They’re just to see if mechanics and wacky ideas translate into something entertaining at all and VR wasn’t missing out on this year’s proceedings.
There were over 700 VR games entered into this year’s jam, many of them being simple wave shooters or co-op games. We’ve rifled through the list to identify the five that stood out to us most.
God games feel great in VR, but Sky Shepherd isn’t just any old god game. Here you play as a giant shepherd that, instead of using a trusty dog to round up his flock, instead slams his fists into the ground, sending waves that propel them into their pens. Just make sure not to send them hurtling off the side into oblivion. Who said agriculture had no use for VR?
VR could one day be used to help us understand other languages from all over the planet but, for now, we’ll settle with learning fictional alien dialect instead. In this zany game you question different creatures about murders onboard a space ship. Your translator isn’t working right, so you have to pick up blocks containing chunks of what they’re saying and organize their statements accordingly.
If you’re worried VR might consume your children, you can at least take some solace in the fact they’ll be taught good manners at the same time. Be Polite, Right! is a curious little Vive game in which you have to match the greetings of your robotic neighbors as you walk down your neighborhood, or face their wrath. Perhaps there’s some social commentary going on here. We’ll let you decide.
It’s not everyday that you see a Google Cardboard app that, frankly, looks worth your time at all., Luckily, Last Ascent certainly meets that promise. We’ve chosen this one more for its striking art style than anything else; you shoot a grappling hook to travel from tower to tower in a hazy orange world. It looks like Windlands with a little more atmosphere, but much less content.
Papers, Please was a revolutionary little indie game that challenged a player’s moral fibre more than most AAA games could ever hope to do. We’d love to see if VR could help bring even more humanity to the game, and that feels somewhat along the lines of what Relay is trying to achieve. You play as a government employee that listens in to other people’s conversations and reports on unlawful activities. Creepy.
What are some of the quirkiest and most creative VR projects you’ve seen come out from game jams? Let us know in the comments below!