Game or app-making marathons have existed for quite some time already and I confess I’ve always been a bit prejudiced towards them. After all, what brings someone to spend time and effort on an event that often enough culminates in a sort of recreational competition assessing participants’ mental and physical endurance? I found out for myself and I’ll leave here my thoughts on it:
1. Improvisation shock: The word “Jam”, an English word, has its slang meaning as the musical improvisation technique of creating music with people you have never met before. Making an app with people you just met is extremely difficult and requires a lot of flexibility and team spirit. Here we were lucky to meet two good programmers.
2. Pressure: Having just 48 continuous hours (as we did in this Game Jam) to solve a problem, is a test of your anxiety, irritability, and even physical health.
3. Focus: Of course, knowing how to set-up a consistent and feasible plan, even a simple one, is something that only comes with experience…
4. Escaping the routine: It’s somewhat paradoxical. That which settles us down (after all, routine is synonymous with predictability) is also what tethers us. This drastic change makes us rethink how we approach everyday tasks.
5. Determination and knowing yourself: It’s not easy staying awake for hours on end… it wears the body to its limit. But there’s something to it that’s so important: getting to know yourself. After all, it’s easy to be calm and polite when you’re rested. The challenge is maintaining your cool and balance when you approach your limit.
Finally… We won. The Game, made by Irineu Antunes, Lucas Martins, myself and Samira was chosen together with two others to be presented at A.Maze (in Germany) and also at Comkids Inovação (in Brazil). The Game is called Berlin Bear, it’s a multiplayer game and uses Leap Motion – a sort of Kinect – that is, it recognizes hand movements without the need for a joystick. In Berlin Bear, the goal for each player is to get the spelling of as many words as possible right. The loser is devoured by a bear. I can’t thank the staff of the Goethe Institut and the Coletivo Jogo Limpo enough.
PS: As always, Samira insisted on taking me to something new. And I, as always, thanked her saying how it was all worth it.