For the short-tempered: you can play our game on itch.io!
After having been to two Gamejams organized by the German federal agency for political education (BPB) before, we were lucky enough to be invited to participate again this January. Like last time, the Jam was held in quiet Remscheid, and even though (or moreso because) the cold temperatues didn’t allow us to work outside, the event was very, very productive. There were several Indie Game developer teams invited, overall about 40 developers. The theme of the Jam was radicalization.
On the first day, in a format called “bar camp”, everyone was encouraged to throw any discussion topics related to radicalization into the room, which were then used as headlines to be talked about in small groups. Isabel wanted to talk about “radicalization with positive effects on society” in the first round. Later we split up for “game mechanics that encourage cooperation and love” and “is it moral to make sexist/violent/… games”.
In the evening, the teams started brainstorming on game concepts. We had a hard time to settle on an idea because we felt that most of them did not do justice to the complex topic of radicalization. Did we want to make something abstract, something narrative driven, something that is based on a specific gameplay mechanic? On the next day, after breakfast, we were both happy with our concept:
In “BEAT the Whites with the Red Wedge” two players play on the same controller at the same time, as the White and Red Army respectively (the big triangles). They try to radicalize volunteers in the Russian civil war to grow their numbers (the small triangles). They can use these volunteers as ammunition to decimate the enemy force. If the dead body count goes too high though, Death will win. Whoever wins a level continues their story line and the players learn something about the horrors of the civil war.
What choices do civilians have when almost everyone is radiliazed? Do players go with the BEAT or do they take another approach?
The title of the game and the design of the levels directly follows the propagandistic poster art of contemporary Red Army sympathizer El Lissitzky, whos work inspired shape driven design and architecture movements such as the Bauhaus.
Amongst the other Indie dev teams were Ratking, Supyrb, Hypnotic Owl, Gentle Troll. Everyone was very eager to create something they could be proud of at the end of the 48 hours. Hopefully this Gamejam will happen for the fourth time next year.