Prehistoric creatures come alive at Phoenix Makes Games Jam
Developers and creatives alike gathered for 48 hours at the ASU Digital Culture studio this past weekend to bring prototypes of original video games to life with their dinosaur-themed games at the first annual Phoenix Makes Games Jam, hosted by Game CoLab.
“Ultimately I wanted to do something that kind of had to with Arizona. We do have some archaeological digs here with bones and dinosaurs and wanted [those type of ] games-and it makes some kind of sense,” said Ben Reichert, founder of Game CoLab. “Plus, dinosaurs are cool.”
A panel of judges, including one from the Center for Science and Innovation, decided the winners based on five different categories: adherence to the theme, programming skill, visuals, and gameplay.
The winning team developed a game called Dinosaur Story, a life simulator in which a dinosaur explores a Minecraft-like terrain and searches for nourishment along the way. For their pitch, the team produced a simplified version in which the dinosaur existed in a changing world where trees grew and other dinosaurs were ready to attack.
The team said that the finished product of the game would allow players to play as an omnivore and eat plants initially before moving onto bigger prey. They also mentioned the option of choosing different dinosaurs. For now, though, the game remains a cool prototype with the occasional awkward, glitchy flying dinosaur in the sky.
In the end, the team took home the first place prize-a perpetual Unity Pro License. This team also won the Center for Science and Innovation award and a $50 Steam gift card for their implementation of an adapting character and environment, including vegetation growth and modification of the dinosaur over time.
Other games developed at the Game Jam include:
Dino Panic: This team developed a colorful side-scrolling game involving a little T-Rex running from the fiery inferno wall of the infamous asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs. The player must dodge obstacles in their path. Players can also pick up coins that allow them to play a bonus level at an archaeological dig and unlock new characters.
The team won second place and Viewer’s Choice award and took home two one-year Unity Pro licenses and a copy of Indie Game: The Movie.
Dino Digger: In this game, one plays as a tiny archaeologist in search of making a profit off of digs. The character can be moved left, right, and downward toward blocks of the player’s choice, which are marked with the probability of each block’s trap and fossil content.
This game took home third place, with a one-year Unity Pro license.
Rappy the Oviraptor: This game is similar to the Dino Panic game, leading a small dinosaur to jump over others of its kind in a side-scroller format while also attempting to collect eggs.
Dino Flight: This simplistic game was submitted in an unfinished form, simply a black dinosaur that could only move right and left, with no real objective. It was submitted by a solo developer working from home.
For pre-coverage of the event, click here.
For more on Game CoLab, click here.