Jamaica Hacked 2 Games in 48 Hours

And it brought us together

Celebrating the end of our 1st 48 hour jam. I have no idea what we’re pointing at.

The best brainstorming sessions are euphoric… a bit indecent even. Ideas dart from every direction. But the one that feels right lodges in the back of your mind. It wiggles to the front of the room, multiplies into a fleshed out concept and BOOM! An idea is born. The key is not to just leave it hovering there, but to shape the thought into a thing.

That’s pretty much how it went down with the Jamaica Game Dev community at Global Game Jamrock 2018. After years of relative dormancy, 28 self-taught enthusiasts in game design, sound design, writing, game dev, 3D modeling and UI design came together for and created 2 game prototypes based on the secret theme Transmission announced at the start of the 48-hour jam.

Here’s what they made.

Mo Bae: A maze game you navigate in the dark.

A maze where your 3 flares are your only friends.

T.C.P (Navigation keys are W,A,S,D and spacebar to start over.)

Read deep quotes while you try to not out yourself.

Game Jam Adrenaline

No doubt- we need more events like this. Jams are the adrenaline shot the game dev community will thrive on. Meeting monthly and actually getting things done is a powerful boost for those who want to work on something new with cool people.

But it’s not just the frequency and productivity of a game jam that’s important. We should jealously safeguard its collaborative spirit. Global Game Jamrock 2018 was safe, open for sharing, rewarded accountability and treated failures as lessons learned in a trusted space. Messing with the chemistry of how people connect is a surefire way to weaken and potentially destroy fledgling relationships. On the other hand, I think we make beautiful things happen together when we:

  • Start communicating
  • Start communicating ideas
  • Start communicating ideas and making things together
  • Start communicating ideas and making things together that people want
  • Start communicating ideas and making things together that people want and will pay for

We don’t even Talk Anymore

Not sharing enough is a big deal in our country. We’re in a low trust environment and we don’t talk to each other. We keep what we are doing to ourselves, hugging it up instead of embracing people who can help us.

This is especially counterproductive for creativity. Yes, Jamaica is a creative country, but somehow we have a funny way of encouraging it. There is a constant tension of nationally unresolved cognitive dissonance. We love the creativity we’re known for, but we penalize those who pursue it by not actively supporting them.

To be honest, I took a risk when I hosted the Global Game Jam at ListenMi. My accountant gave me the side eye for organizing a weekend-long event at our office for free. I had no idea whether this would work or what returns I’d have to show for it. It was potentially a bad business decision. But I did it because as we say in our company manifesto, we aim to constantly learn from each other and our communities so we can co-create and stimulate change in society.

Jammin’ away Saturday morning… or was it Sunday? It’s all a blur.

We can do a lot with a thriving game development community. And it doesn’t have to be large to think big. We cultivate our own voice when we hear it more often, and thinking together means we can come up with cool ideas that solve problems we care about. I think these ideas uncover themselves the more we talk about them. So I’m excited to see like-minded people from different backgrounds inspired to collaborate. And I’m happy they’ll be doing it again soon in the first monthly meet-up in March.

It means we’ve started to communicate. And it says that though the way forward may not be clear, we are much better off knowing we’re not alone.


Want to see what else we’re thinking about? We’ll be showing more of what we do at @Listenmi on Instagram. And we share our adventures in illustration and creative design at www.ListenMi.com.