(Do it like a brother), do it like a Molydeux
Game Jam, noun. The event of a group of indie game devs get together and create a game in a limited period of time.
Peter Molydeux, noun. A parody Twitter account that creates outlandish video game concepts in 140 words.
Whatwouldmolydeux, noun. An international Game Jam spanned over 30 locations, in which the participants get together and create a game within 48 hours, inspired by any one of Molydeux’s tweets.
Imagine if a single green pixel could make you cry. -@molyfaux
We had the same 48 hours time limitation to create a game, but this (Moly)Jam is not like the others. We are not confined to one concept, and we had weeks in advance to muse on potential ideas.
The catch? We have to pick our conceptual idea from one of Peter Molydeux’s tweets, the glorious, pseudo meta-parody tweets that sparked (?un)intentional brilliance. You have to read them to understand why the moment I heard about MolyJam I packed up an army bergens stuffed with crayons and USB connectors and vroomed right into the heart of Melbourne to be part of it.
Initially I wanted to write this report like how I did the Global Game Jam Melbourne one, but you know what? Chronological descriptions are just not innovative enough. Imagine a report that is unrestrained by the mere notion of time or clarity, what kind of report would that be? What if it’s grouped by meaningsinstead? What if what I can recall is only as accurate as what my sleep deprived memories could paraphrase?
Probably nowhere near as mind-blowingly amazing as the MolyJam Melbourne itself. Very few beside The Molydeux himself can be.
Imagine if a community movement with so much soul, it could change the perception of games in the eyes of the wider world, forever. -@molyfaux
The presentations were over. Fingerswere stained, tears were shed, hunger was curbed both digitally and in cake space, and I realised that I’ve been playing Davey’sMolyjam game “ “ for over 24 hours as I write this. These were expected outcomes.
What moved me the most took me by surprise, right after completion and we opened the door to the public to try out our games. One particular audience stood out to me. She’s a particularly energetic woman, bouncing from a corner to another injecting encouragement all over the place. Her passion was so infectious, I was convinced that she was a veteran dev who’s here to nurture the new crop of future devs. So I went up and asked about the games she created.
Turned out that she’s not a game maker or a game player, she’s our organiser Harry’s mother. She’s here because she’s been convinced that video games are such positive things, filled with creativity, productivity and community support, she’s an enthusiastic cheering ally for life.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the best testimonial for game devs of Melbourne I could ever hope for.
You are given the illusion that getting from point A-B is the same method as B-A, but in reality each location you abandon is lost forever. -@molyfaux
There had been a misadventure. Let me tell you about my misadventure.
I did get back, but that was one precious hour that was gone forever.
Imagine when you hooked with comedic pitch, you then remove all the punchline and turn the game into expression of serious emotions. – @molyfaux
By the time I arrived most teams were already formed, so I decided to jump into Matt’s group for the reason that, “Hey I met this guy in the last jam so hopefully they’ll be too polite to reject me.” I wondered if they needed an artist. Turned out this team of six had five artists including myself. We could be Team Captain Planet, and I wanted to be Fire.
The idea conception phase is not all that different from GGJ, not in the beginning anyway. Josh ran a smooth operation on the whiteboard. The tweet it the one that’s handpicked by The Molydeux himself – “Your child is made of Lego, you have to detach bricks to make bridges etc You need to keep adding bricks to stop him getting depressed”.
It’s easy to run with a parody, especially given that I was physically incapable of rereading that tweet without crying with laughter . But my team wanted to do something far riskier; they wanted to turn it into something that isn’t a parody, something that truly evokes some emotions.
What if the child is a cloud made with blocks of memories, and in order to fill the gap, we lose the memories we had with the child? What if we get to choose between not allowing the child to grow and progress, versus forcing the player to give up on the child’s independence and forcing the player to let go? What if we create each memory block by creating a set of three comic strips, finding some use for the horde of art people in this group?
GAP was born.
Imagine a world where Molydeux is in each single one of us, as a stream of omniscience consciousness. -@Molyfaux
As the sun went down, a rumour surfaced: The real Molydeux may come to the Melbourne jam. Funny how despite having this mild curiosity about Molydeux’s true identity, knowing that I could potentially trip over them in the next 40 hours peaked my interest that much more.
All these years, I had this vague image of who The Molydeux could be. One suspect was an English woman, another was the man Hideo Kojima himself (who spent all this time fooling us into thinking that his English abilities are not yet native speaker level). But no, The Molydeux was in Melbourne! Holy crap, I could have been breathing the same dust mites as The Molydeux. Now I had to know who The Molydeux is.
I asked Katie and Harry regarding the validity of this rumour, who shattered my starry eyed excitement right there. Harry let out the secret that he knew exactly who The Molydeux was as he was the broker of the Kotaku interview. The Molydeux is a rather well known developer in the Melbourne scene, ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇ , and he wouldn’t be there as he disagreed with the jam philosophy.
What WHAT. I have met this guy, and I have played his games. While he’s innovative in ways I can’t even begin to comprehend, I was more than taken aback. For one, ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇ didn’t come across as much of a commentary joker. Not to mention, did I say I’ve met this guy? He exists in meat space in his humanoid form. I now shared the secret knowledge on who The Molydeux is.
Now that I knew it the answer to the equation, a new game concept formed in my head. Earlier team Wanderland looked into the concept of a physical game based on the tweet “Imagine a world where people don’t talk, physical words are hidden underground. You must travel the world hunting ‘I’, ‘love’ and ‘you”. The initial idea was that three players are assigned as poets in secret, while everyone else are the police. If the three people find each other and forming the sentence I Love You, they win. If they approached the wrong person who is the police, they lose. As no words could be spoken. It would be a game of Mafia played with glances. This made the balancing a tad difficult.
So what if we assigned three Jammers as Mo, Ly and Deux, then spread out the rumour that The Molydeux was in this jam and see if Mo Ly and Deux would be sussed out? It’s all safe considering ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇ was away, hence there’s no danger of exposed identity, right?
Not quite, meteorite. Harry dropped another bomb. He lied about the first admission. The Molydeux is not ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇ , but rather someone else. Someone who may or may not be in the Melbourne jam right there. This game was getting too close to the dangerous expose, and it could not happen.
Oh. Well played. Time to put aside this attempt and maybe even draw something.
Then Katie winked me yet another secret info – only she knew who The Molydeux is. Both Harry and Andrew claimed they did as a decoy.
Maybe I was in the Mo Ly Deux Mafia Poet game after all. It didn’t matter. I didn’t want to find out who The Molydeux was anymore, I just didn’t want to penetrate through the layers of warm fuzzies, of the sparkly particles of magic that is the spirit of The Molydeux. Maybe he was there in Melbourne, while simultaneously being in Sydney, Adelaide, London, San Francisco and every other site. I have faith that The Molydeux could pull that off.
At some stage of MolyJam I dreamed that if I sacrificed a fellow dev, I could temporarily evoke the spirit of Molydeux and get possessed for an hour. This is the closest to what I want Molydeux to be now. The Molydeux is a conglomerate of ever morphing existence of ideas, somewhere between the Patriot, the Single Green ■ Pixel and the Guardian Deity of Mind. And this is what I want to know him by, untainted by the possibility that behind all these there’s a carbon based human being chugging down the same brand of energy drink as myself.
A world where “teams” or “classes” are merely metaphoric. Imagine the limitless potential if the rigid categories gives way to fluidity.- @molyfaux
As MolyJam progressed, I noticed something specific about this session that I had not seen before – team hopping. As my team was buried into mechanism and planning logistics, I gatecrashed everywhere. John the Media Guy had teamed up with James and the other organiser Andrew, and it seemed to me that instead of interviewing people he was developing a game. Naturally, it was my citizen duty as a signed up dev to play the journo role and interviewed him about his game. It was filled with stick figures. It was complicated. And my gosh it looks far more fun than any game had rights to be.
Team Wanderland again had multiple concepts going at once, and I fluidly inserted my way into an earful or two. One of the most promising concepts they came up with, beside the one that involved gnawing on their iPhones, was a game inspired by the tweet “Imagine Portal but in reverse. If you can’t visualize that, don’t bother trying to be a game designer.”
It was so brilliant that I had to do a live action theatre version next day for Elizabeth, using the props of chairs to emulate the potential physics. Unfortunately due to the high centre of gravity of the said chairs, it didn’t end well.
So Internet, instead of the live action description, let me try another way.
The essence of Portal is the one of a single wormhole created to connect two spaces. What if instead of bringing two space together, by shooting two portals the spaces would start to drift apart, a bit like a wormhole again but this time expanding? If Portal is about the alteration of space, this game, Latrop, would be about the alteration of space and time as a specific combination of location could only occur at the right time period. What if it starts with a song and ends with you going to sleep?
And perhaps just a little supernatural.
During the midnight hours of 1st of April, we suddenly lost our power. Bathed in darkness, never before was I so thankful that we are now in a society of laptops rather than desktops, and while attempting to complete the comics with the help of my phone I learned that I may need to forgo the previously mentioned Mouthbirth iOS game unless the mobile industry start to take into account their product’s flavours.
But that would be sometime in the future. As we turned the switchboard back on, turned out there was a far more pressing mystery in our hands – a murder mystery done in cold soil , an assassination so quiet that no one heard a thing.
How? Why? Who? What? Is it an ARG? Is it a dream? Did the spirit of The Molydeux finally got fed up with how I kept on pronouncing his name as “MO-lee-dukes’? Was it an attempt of alchemising GREEN (i.e. pot plant) with something SQUARE (i.e. tiles) so a single little Green ■ Pixel could be born? Emotions were surely stirred, and provocative questions flowed.
Those were questions without simple answers, but what else was to be expected of a Molydeux initiated thought?
Thankfully answers do not equal solutions. Among the fluidity of masters, we have Rhys the Pot Plant Whisperer. Maybe a single Green ■ Pixel was not born in its expected form, but it lives on as a plant in another pot.
Oh spirit of Molydeux, be proud.
Imagine if you can create without restrain or limitation, without fear of false advertising complains because pre-conceived expectations. – @Molyfaux
One of the most memorable not games not created in the MolyJam is the previously mentioned “ “ by Davey. I believe the internet is collectively honouring his non creation by not writing about it. I wish I had the active choice of not linking it, but the fact that Davey chose to not put it up anywhere means that my age
I don’t know if something like this could be created by Davey outside of a MolyJam situation, but I can say that I would not do what I did had I not have a Molydeux excuse. My self-imposed handicap of No Curved Lines Rule may come across as an act of arrogance, but in reality it’s more an act of release.
Often the ideas are there, often they are hilarious, impractical, silly and counter-productive, and by being self-aware on curbing those I play it safe. Retrace the tried-and-succeed past work, and when recreate is what’s expected in us, we veer from the very “creativity” that was attractive in the beginning to start with.
With an excuse that I can do the things my internal quality assurance don’t usually allow, I may just create the kind of outlier that invigorates a stalling creative jailhouse. And I don’t even have that much outside expectations or pressure on deliver the expected.
So thank you, Molydeux, for this safe space that gives us the license to be as outrageous as possible. You, the Iron Chef of game development.
I know that Severance sure would not be born without that nod.
Imagine if a single Green ■ Pixel could make you cry. -@molyfaux
Yes, I made a game called Severance, all on my own. Being a physical game, my dear readers will not be able to experience the session created at MolyJam Melbourne. But never fear, I have the source code and instructions right here.
It is a game about being small in a cruel, vicious world; for the players would still choose violent severance upon something already powerless, solely to get onto the leaderboard. It is the demise of a single Green ■ Pixel, and if you are sensitive, it will make you cry.
The current record belongs to Yang, at 34 pixels. You monster.