Novosibirsk A SIXTH STATE OF MIND: THE SIXTH GAME JAM IN NOVOSIBIRSK

The Art Games project has successfully swept over Siberia. From the 6th to the 8th of October, the Goethe Institute, Maschinen-Mensch (an independent games developing studio), the GameDevEvents Nsk community, the Academpark and Alawar, a game development company, financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, staged the sixth Game Jam of the Art Games series at the “Boiling Point” co-working space of the Technopark in Novosibirsk-Akademgorodok. Johannes Kristmann (Maschinen-Mensch, Germany) was host of the event.

Altogether, 53 participants from different cities of Siberia and the Ural region met at the same site to create new video games within a space of 48 hours. After welcoming remarks, the contest jury, consisting of Alexey Plotnikov (GameDevEvents Nsk), Anna Morozova (Goethe Institute, Novosibirsk), Lisa Meyerhöfer (Goethe Institute, Munich) and Nadezhda Zhuk (Alawar, Novosibirsk), announced the subject of the Game Jam – “Future Now”. Within two days’ time, experienced and novice game developers, designers, artists, musicians, journalists and narrative writers were to develop video games that would make people reflect on what is awaiting mankind in dozens or hundreds of years, or maybe even tomorrow. “The future is not abstract; it is already beginning now”: with these words the countdown began. Forty-eight hours later, the teams were to present the finished games, ready to be played.

Many participants were not acquainted with each other, but teams were formed on the spot. Despite the shortage of sleep (to compensate for which the participants consumed 100 litres of coffee within 48 hours!), the pervasive atmosphere was creative and friendly: team members got to know each other, communicated with the organizers and freely exchanged opinions. Finally, twelve complete games were developed with impressive art components and embedded original social messages.

At the end of the competition, all the participants could feel themselves to be winners; they were all invited to attend the opening of the Goethe Institute exhibition “Games and Politics” at the Pobeda Center for Culture and Leisure. Three teams were nominated by the jury for further mentoring and development of their respective games: the Choo-Choo Team with their game “Choo-Choose”, which allows the gamer to test his or her moral standards and values; a team of six developers named “Five”, which presented a game of the same name that allows the gamer to assess the consequences of his or her choice for the future of a civilization on a new planet; and a team of two cheerful programmers from Academgorodok, which presented “DrEADLINE”, a procrastinator game about a cat writing a paper for a university degree. 

Finally, the jury in Germany plumped for “Choo-Choose”. Together with the other chosen games it will be presented at the A MAZE. Festival in Berlin in April 2018. Independently of the jury’s choice, many teams declared their will to continue working on their games.