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Game Philosophy

Cloaca


TOJam is about creating good games. Period.
It's not about creating games that are good because they took 3 days.

The deadline is meant to provide motivation - it's not an excuse to turn out crap. The people that download and play your turd won't care how long it took to make. If your game design can't be implemented properly in 3 days, change your game design.

Game development is easier than ever, and it's possible to create a small, unpolished gem at TOJam. The previous two jams have proven this. If you start with a well thought out game design, that's small in scope, you can produce something amazing.

Make something funny, unique, memorable, stylish, disturbing, original, emotional, bizarre, touching, outlandish, soothing, exciting! Unless you have an interesting twist, don't clone an existing game. The world has enough Match-3s, Breakouts, Tetris', Geometry Wars, Diner Dashes, Marios, etc. Plus, we're the "Toronto Independent Game Jam" - we're supposed to create games that "the man" won't touch.

The indie games that get a lot of attention seem to have one thing in common: music that matched the gameplay. See The Bounce, Passage, and Bubble Thing. People tend to overlook this when they're perfecting their game at TOJam. Add some music, and your jerky animation is transformed into choreography . Add some music, and your simple gameplay becomes endowed with previously unseen substance. Madonna said it best: "Music... makes the people... come together."

The independent gaming scene has changed dramatically since TOJam started. January 14, 2008 "Wired" article "Explosion of Indie Games Kills 'Best of' Column": "Two years ago, the number of people making genuinely polished indie games was pretty small, numbering in the dozens or scores. A single columnist could reasonably hope to sample the year's offerings and make some picks. But in the last two years, things have blown up spectacularly. There are now hundreds and hundreds of superb indie games coming out every year" Based on the recent IGF, 2008 is already a watershed year for independent games. With so many flying around, you'll need to make yours extra special.

Even the Game Maker Community is producing some incredible stuff. Games are becoming less about the technology, and more about everything else (ideas, design, style, emotion, pacing, ambiance). TOJam is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of these changing tides.

Inspiration By Game

Looking for inspiration? Try any of the following:

XIQ
The Bounce
Line Rider
The Marriage
Two By Two
Light Cut
Stair Dismount
Slither Link
Knytt Stories
Zen Bondage
Splash Back
TKKN
Bubble Thing
Passage
Grow
Super Hamster Air Combat
flOw
Hoshi Saga
Flywrench
Heavy Weather

Inspiration By Genre

So many Indie games are being produced, that genres (some ancient, some new) are emerging. All are worth investigating:

Artsy (click Arcade)
Serious
Retro
Crap
Tower Defense
B-Game
Funny
Casual
Text
Silly
Audio Only
Physics
Satire
Current Events
Shmups (Shoot 'Em Ups)
Escape the Room
Subversive

What's more amazing is that almost every game within these genres, no matter how specialized, is FREE.