Ideas To Try Out To [Maybe] Win A Game Jam

Winning a game jam might seems a bit tricky and random since every team usually make so many different and fun games that it's hard for the judges to evaluate them all together and pick a single winner. But if you have a strategy to make yourself stand from the crowd,  you might very well find yourself winning the jam. Here are a few ideas and tips to consider that could help you accomplish that.

  • Be artsy. Add visual effects, meditative audio or abstract gameplay. Anything that will surprise the player and set you apart from the other teams.
  • Be original. Don't make a Mario Party like arena games. Those are really fun to play but half of the teams will do somehting like that.
  • Get physical. Use physic based gameplay for unpredicable fun.
  • Have special hardware. Consider making a game with a non traditionnal controller.
  • Go online. Local multiplayer games often make fun game jam games. Why not bring that one step further with an online multiplayer game and impress people with your technical skills?
  • Have multi-layered gameplay. For multiplayer games, consider an asynchronous gameplay where players have totally different gameplay and must work together to solve a common goal.
  • Polish that UI. Find a nice font for your texts, have an intro scene that re-uses assets from the game.
  • Make a complete experience. Have a simple tutorial at the start and add a game over or success screen with a score, a retry button and an exit button.
  • Make it explode. Add simple but impactful visual effects such as particles, trail renderers and camera shake to quickly make the game look a lot more polished.
  • Use your voice. Record yourself for dialog lines and mouth-made sound effects or ask that one guy who is really good at it to help you out.
  • Prepare your game for the demo. Add hidden shortcuts to reach that cool ending sequence you made in case the player can't reach it.
  • Act. Disguise yourself and make an act while presenting your game to the jury and the crowd. This will add a lot to the experience and impress the judges.
  • Twist the theme. Even if your game doesn't directly fit the theme, prepare a line or two on how the gameplay is a metaphor and how it really fits the theme after all.