We were proud to host a DC site for the Global Game Jam (GGJ) 2021, joining teams in 100+ counties worldwide. This is the largest coordinated weekend of game design worldwide each year. Due to COVID, ours was online this year and ran January 29-31.
In this post, we celebrate two amazing game designs that came out of our Global Game Jam site: Homeward Bound and Lost for Words. Each team had 5-6 members, including graphic designers, coders, and of course game designers.
Our keynote featured Hazel Arroyo, an alumni of the MA in Game Design at American University, who challenged teams to go deeper with their online tactics for creativity and brainstorming.
In response, teams not only used Zoom and Discord but also experimented with spatial audio platforms like Gather.town to form teams and provide water cooler brainstorming.
Featured game #1: Homeward Bound
The first of the two games is a narrative exploration game designed in Construct 3 by the name of Homeward Bound. The design team for Homeward Bound consisted of five graduate students currently enrolled in our Game Lab programs.
In order to push the emotional impact of the story, the team had a heavy focus on thematic consistency, making sure that the art, sounds, story, and mechanics not only matched well with each other, but also with the time period they were aiming to represent. Shoot fireworks into the sky and follow the stars to find you way home in Homeward Bound!
Try out Homeward Bound
- Game Engine: Construct 3
- Organization: Github, Google Drive, Microsoft Word
- Art Programs: Photoshop
- Diversifiers: Starlight, Vocalize, Destination (happy place)
- Team Members: Meagan Couture, Mig Mrizek, Illia Kowalzik, Sam Smyth, and Sharmarke Alisalad
Featured game #2: Lost for Words
The second of the two games is a story building game built in Unity by the name of Lost for Words. The design team for Lost for Words consisted of six Alumni members who graduated from our Game Lab Programs.
For their game, the team sought to combine traditional, pixel platformer game mechanics with Mad-Lib story telling, using torches to guide their players. Platform your way through each level to find the words to complete your story in Lost for Words!
Play it! Try Lost for Words on Itch.IO
- Unity Game Engine
- Unity Collab (version control)
- Aseprite (pixel art software)
- Google Suite (planning, project management)
- Team Members: Hazel Arroyo, Molly Eisenbeck, Mitchell Loewen, Rafael Murphy, Westley Thompson, and Andrew Yim
Our organizers included student lead Meagan Couture, alumni lead Hazel Arroyo, and faculty lead Prof. Benjamin Stokes. Thank you to Meredith Fender from AU staff, and Andy Phelps, our fearless director of the AU Game Center. Thank you to Meagan for drafting this post.