Pixel Jam Goes Off at the Wellington Dojo

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This past weekend, Pixel Jam invaded the BizDojo Wellington, for a 48-hour competition in game creation. Game developers and artists came from the region, and even as far afield as Palmerston North, to compete for the title of Pixel Jam Champion 2013. They brought with them the most impressively kitted-out desktop CPUs that the world has ever seen.

Coordinated by a pair of Victoria University students, Pixel Jam has entered its third year running, with a record-hitting 63 participants. Pepper Curry and Katherine Field were on hand to witness the hard work everyone put into the event, and the outcome was incredible.

What was this year’s theme, you ask?

The tried and true YOLO.

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“You Only Live Once” ended up factoring into each game in a big way, and the winners took the prize for creating a Yolo Road Trip that would give the Safe Teen Driver campaign a heart attack. Other interpretations included single-hit kills, themes around seizing the day, and power-ups that allowed the player to live better/faster/stronger.

Most amazing was the amount of great game content the participants came up with over the course of just 48 short hours. Full-fledged games, great concepts, and original ideas came from all directions during the final presentation, and the four Judges (of PikPok, MiniMonos, and NZ Gamer) were clearly impressed by the ability of the teams. GameBuilder, Unity, JavaScript, and even Haskell were utilised in the creation of the programs, and art styles ranged from 3D-rendered worlds to 2D pixel art.

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It was great to have an opportunity to fully experience and showcase Wellington’s budding game talent in such an immersive way, and the high level of participation and engagement was a great indicator of the tech gaming industry growth that is clearly in Wellington’s bright future!