COMO Game Jam puts speed into game development

Local video and tabletop game developers made new games in just 48 hours.

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Columbia College held the sixth annual COMO Game Jam on Friday. Starting at 7 p.m., developers had 48 hours to brainstorm, code and test new video and tabletop games. Each game was to interpret this year’s theme, “Morality.” The event was hosted by COMO Game Dev, a local nonprofit focused on nurturing the local indie game community.

Awards were given out for the tabletop and video games with the best use of theme, best art and the best overall game. Prizes consisted of development resources and a month in a downtown development space.

Clover Ross, owner of Dream’s Universe Games LLC and a staffer at the Game Jam, said that Game Dev started as a way for developers to build a community in a unique area.

“It’s an association that started a couple years ago … since there are a lot of developers in the Midwest but not a whole lot of resources for us, we grouped together,” Ross said. “That’s the nice thing about the indie dev community: we’re super willing to help each other.”

Ross thinks the Game Jam is especially helpful for new game designers.

“We knew that we wanted to get mid-Missouri more interested in indie dev … give them space to feel it out and teach them stuff,” Ross said. “You come in, regardless of the amount of experience you have. You can learn.”

Ed Czebrinski, developer of the tabletop game Big Pharma Inc., thinks the game jam was a good way to connect with other developers.

“If you pitch an idea, other people are welcome to come join you,” Czebrinski said. “One of my team members knew about the pharmaceutical community and wanted to join in.”

The 48 hour time limit forced developers to make quick important decisions, as local game designer Miles Fogle found out.

“Originally, we were planning on making a strategy [and] resource management type game,” Fogle said. “About 11 hours before the deadline, I realized the game design of that wasn’t gonna be that interesting, so I made the tough decision to scrap the game, take the code we had and morph it into a puzzle game.”

Fogle’s game, Collateral, still won Best Video Game.

All of the games made at the Game Jam can be downloaded at https://itch.io/jam/como-game-jam-vi/entries.

Edited by Janae McKenzie | jmckenzie@themaneater.com

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