Chaos Theory: A Game Jam Retrospective

Chaos Theory: A Game Jam Retrospective

Embracing the Messy Symphony of Life

I must admit, this life I am living is a chaotic mess. Since starting my blog, life's only gotten crazier. Last week[month], I wrote an article from the poolside in Florida, which marked the start of the final sprint of Voyage 48. Things really did come together with a basic Minimum Viable Product and our plan to build upon the project went off very well. Just after the Voyage I began participating in GameJamDevJs2024. A Game Jam is a creative event where developers come together to make games within a set timeframe. This one commenced on April 13th and concluded on April 26th. My initial motivation to join was to encourage a co-worker to code more by participating alongside me. He has more interest in game development, which made this event an enticing opportunity.

At the start of the game jam, I found myself at a loss, unsure of how to kick off the project. Relying heavily on my partner's expertise, I let him take the lead in selecting the gaming engine and crafting the game concept. Personally, I am more inclined towards coding rather than delving into artwork or storytelling aspects. Together, we opted to utilize the Unity Platform for our game development journey. The theme for all games in this specific jam revolved around the concept of "power". My team mate came up with a "Metroidvania" style game, where players would progressively amass power as they advanced through the game.

At first, figuring out where to start posed a significant challenge. I ended up experimenting with different engines until I stumbled upon a helpful tutorial. I hoped it would give us a solid foundation to customize the game according to our vision. However, my partner faced a family emergency, limiting their involvement in the project. The tutorial that I did find was incredible, and it was free, on YouTube. However, the author did not complete the series so there are a lot of features that I was left to figure out on my own. I did happen to add some scripting to our version of the game that increments the player speed as they move and also applies a greater jump force as the player jumps. This was my very first experience writing code in C Sharp but the tutorial did great at helping me understand the syntax and.

Before even starting the project, we created a git repository to work together within. It was published to my partners' GitHub where we began initially with just a Unity .gitignore file. I was experimenting with various Unity Add-on engines and due to the size of the project files that one placed on the repository, one of my first commits exceeded the bandwidth for the month and so we had to create an entirely new repository and that is when we decided to just follow the basic tutorial series that I found.

I wish that I had spent a little bit more time on the project and I also wish I had gone with Phaser.js, Babylon.js, or even had opted to create a less complex game. I am glad to say that I have more hands-on experience with building a game though and do not regret going forward with the project. I wound up submitting to the Jam, an unfinished project called "Untitled Metroidvania". I can not honestly claim a whole bunch here as I did follow a tutorial, that had us download the assets for the tile map that allowed me to build the level, as well as the player character and animation. I did learn a lot about how to do these things but without the tutorial I would have been totally lost. And, let's face it, this isn't hardly a game at all, there were so many other amazing projects submitted to the GameJamDevJS2024 and I want to take the rest of this article to shed light on some of my favorites.

Power Off by Davintos

Some great retro music off the bat. And even cooler once you play the game I really enjoy the music. The game itself starts off simple. I could not finish level two after several attempts but the music change again to another unique track.

Power Fist by Spookyrobloxman999

What a fun game this is. Everything that the enemy throws at you is interactive like Pong. You can actually knock the enemy attacks back to them. I had a lot of fun playing this although I am not very good.

Storm Ultraviolet by Fava-beans

This game is a bunch of fun. It has good music and the gameplay is reminiscent of Geometry Wars. The graphics are very retro but well done. There is a level up progression system and choices to make as you do so. I could keep playing this one.

Charge Guardian by Treskydakrid

This was a super cool game. It reminds me of the offline chrome game platformer only there are enemies to take down.

Power of the World and Mind by Cgpepper

This educational game helps the player learn Geography with some very soothing background music. I really enjoy playing this game and am excited for the expansion where I might do a little better.

Galmezat ChroniclesbyJoyful245

A fun little Shmup with some retro visuals and sounds. I enjoyed it.

Firefly's Cafe by Brave-kings-studio

​I enjoy playing the game it has addictive qualities. It took a little bit to figure out how to play but once I did I still wasn't that good I couldn't light more than 3 jars in the timer, but addictive cause I know I could if I practiced more. I think they are always in the same place though so once I figured that out it may be less fun so randomizing it would be even better. All in all great work =)

Mouse's Explosion by Rizky2706

A fun timed adventure maze game with some suiting sound effects and music.

Mark Yeager and Genesis Vault by Cinevva

Interesting concept with decent graphics but longer loading. Enjoyed the narration, though not skippable. If there was more control freedom, it could be more challenging and fun. Great job nonetheless.

Sword Pilgrim by Jhaiz098

This is very cool. Quite addicting. After realizing there wasn't an enemy attack I took down a level 1500 enemy and leveled up to 22 from it. I was disappointed there is no way to save my progress. Or if there is I missed it. I didn't read the how to play so it took a little bit to learn to press to attack. I think space would be great as well. But overall I loved this game.

Flyer Power by Cobrajs

This game is pretty cool and addictive. I didn't realize until a few tries that I could add stickers.

Squirt Copter by Joachimford

Simple but fun. It has a currency you earn by playing the game and can spend on power ups. Not the best graphics but all in all a fun game.

FirstGamePlaceholderName by Fensa

I wish I could have come up with something as good as this for a first attempt! In this game the player is a robot and must venture into the darkness to find power and fight enemies in the process.


A Space Ranger is marooned on an inhabited planet with hostile aliens. Help him gather energy crystals to power up his ship. The energy required to power a warp drive is got from yellow energy crystals.

Sattellite Parking by Daungames

Park the satellite onto the destination planet! and avoiding collisions with meteors or other satellites!

With 10 different levels, challenge and planets!

Power Tools by Madmarcel

An interesting take. In this game control remote control vehicles to complete six levels. Some beautiful visuals and satisfying sounds.

Power Fruits by Wonderland Engine

A satisfyingly fun 3d game where you beat up skeletons and use fruit to gain powerups.

Midivaderz by Prizem

Save the music. This game is cool complete with a narrated introduction. Must see.

Power Cut by Acethetics

This is an incredible platformer with basic graphics and sound but beautiful. Even remembers your progress if you leave and come back. I will probably leave this one bookmarked to keep playing and hopefully more levels come.

Ionclad by Bethfromabove

Very innovative concept. I really enjoy the visuals and the sounds but I do wish that there were joystick or mouse controls for the turret.

Numeric Equalizer by Shiratama350

Let's defeat the enemy using cards from your hand!

If you defeat the enemy with exactly the right amount of life, you'll gain an extra turn!
However, if you exceed the enemy's life, you'll take damage equal to the excess.

Try to defeat all enemies without taking too much damage!

Don't Run Out of Power by Nickhatboecker

You wake up in a dark room. You can't remember how you got there. But fear pushes you forward. In the distance, you see a green light. The exit? Make your way through the dark obstacle course, but beware of the dangers lurking within.

Power Up Peril by DevFink

incredible sounds, music, simple artwork. a gem for a 2 week solo game. You should definitely check this one out.

Swing Your Sword by Zahavi

An addictive sword swinging game as the title suggests.

Vectral by Srb2er

A game submitted to the 13kb challenge, so its lightweight, but doesn't lack in anything. Has simplistic music and graphics that are reminiscent of an Atari game

Power Racer by Remvst

Top down racer done in under 13kb. It's simple but fun.

Jonim by Tajammal

You wake up in a dark room. You can't remember how you got there. But fear pushes you forward. In the distance, you see a green light. The exit? Make your way through the dark obstacle course, but beware of the dangers lurking within.

Powerless Hotel by Imaad Phoplunker

Blackout! Can you restore power to the hotel, or will you be defeated by phantoms...?

Available for both Web and Download!

Devil's Food Joint by Debone

You got hired into a kitchen to save a restaurant from going out of business.

The devils are out and demanding their food timely and tasty.

You need to cook all the orders and not mess up the orders, so you will get the highest markings. If everything goes well on your three days, the restaurant will live on.

The Weak by Low Res Duo

Spread the terror in this narrative RPG inspired by 1980s slasher movies.

The year is 1986. Movies are filled with gory killers who, thanks to their incredible powers, chase their prey without hesitation. In this context, you play the role of The Weak, a killer unlike any other.

On a starless night, you approach Orchard Lane - the street where you spent your tormented childhood - with terrible intentions. What lies ahead for you?

Of Power and Might by Atanii

As a mage student, you have to complete the trial and shatter the orbs of power to awaken your dormant powers.

An Old Haunt by Sgtwombatstudios

As a ghost you have no power at all...not even moving through walls. Use the Arrow keys to move and Spacebar to scare villagers and animals. You are powerless and must rely on them to do everything for you.

Gleep Gym Club by Miamoalex

Hi, human! Welcome to the Gleep Gym! Meet the other members and try to succeed in their challenges! Will your power level be enough to beat them??

Reach for the stars in this 00s flash inspired warioware-like ! This game was created as part of the GameDev.JS 2024 jam in 13 days with the theme 'POWER'. Thank you for playing Gleep Gym!

TheTRAVEL by Sleeqq

If you go back to the control panel (the monitor looking thing)

you can see that there is a "Arriving to destination" slider. That means that you need to survive as long as you can till the slider fills up.

You also have 2 more sliders of the fuel and power ! You will

need to maintain power as much as you can.

Low by Diegosoriarios

You wake up in a bunker with only one outlet.

You have to be careful with the flies, they can make you sic.

You need to be careful about the temperature, hunger, tiredness and boredom.

Survive 8 hours, and have fun.

P.E.D.R.O by Zanotelli

A really neat hack and slash style game with basic but beautiful graphics. And a first-time submission for this team. I must say it is very incredible! Great work!

Bushido Blasters by Calcruikshank

Blast away. It's a multiplayer game so if there is no one on the server invite some friends to shoot. There are powerups in the hard to reach places.

Basic Rush by Robotzen

This is a very innovative and unique concept. It's a sport really, check it out!

Star Hopper: Ring Rescue by Deathray

A small space colony sends out a call for help. The evil Klaxonians have attacked, and only you can save the day! Blast enemy ships while flying around a small star system dominated by a ring world.

Power is Needed by Worranhin

In this game, you are able to manage an area's power grid. As cities need power, your task is to fulfill their need by building power stations. Try to hold on for as long as you can.

Power Surge by Atomicbox

A maintenance drone powers up after a environmental accident jolts it back to life. Go on a mission to reactivate the power core of a Dyson sphere by finding and activating four sub-stations scattered around the map. Download new abilities to help you traverse the environment and keep an eye on your power meter as every action drains your batteries.

Final Fight by Kehtehsky

You, the Hero, have fought your way to the top and now must defeat the Big Boss. Use all your powers to slay the monster and bring home victory.

Scarbogs Tower by Sojioto

The terribly evil and powerful wizard, Scarbog the Vile, has become such a threat to the realm, armies from far and wide have come to put an end to the wizard and his tower.

Defend against 24 waves of the realms strongest knights.

Survive 8 unique bullet hell battles as the wizards of the realm try to destroy you.

Linkit by RemarkableGames

Linkit is a puzzle where you connect the dots.

Jam Dashido by Lakedead

This game is really addicting, challenging and fun. It might be my top pick.

Circuit Breaker by Jamiehulse

It's hard to believe this was made within a 13 day Game Jam. It perfectly matches the theme and is a puzzle game where you fix circuites.

The Little King by Prakkmak

In this game, you embody a little king devoid of any personal power or strength. To advance, you must harness the abilities of your kingdom's inhabitants. Each resident possesses a unique power, such as strength, military expertise, knowledge, and more.

Out of Power by Naardev

You play as an inocent kid playing a "retro" game on his TV, but the power keeps shutting off, so it's up to you to explore the house and find ways to turn on the power and continue playing your game.

Try to reach the score of 12 :)

D. Electric Company by Whoppsd

A hexcrawl where you play as an electrician restoring power. Build towers to connect your starting position to the lonely house located somewhere on the map. Fog and enemies plague the area so beware.

Thank You

These were my personal favorite games submitted to Game Jam Dev 2024. In the fuiture I will probably opt to write a simpler, less complex game using JavaScript. Some of my favorite games were in the 13kb or less category too, which really shocked me what was possible.