During 11 – 13 December 2015, Mladý Pes organized the first annual Bratislava Game Jam in the premises of Goethe Institute. The theme of the event was educational games aimed at language development. Out of all the games presented, the jury composed of Kristian Lukić (RS), Zuzana Anettová (SK), Matthias Guntrum (DE), and Mária Kadlecová (SK) awarded the game entitled Dog Ate My Homework by the team Noha v mede. Honorable mentions went to the game Bliss created by the team Kódtraktory, and the game National Awakener by the team Cheerful Alligator.
Game Jam is a meeting of game developers, programmers, and graphic designers, whose primary objective is to create a game in a limited period of time. Together with a children team of four members, Bratislava Game Jam welcomed 29 participants. Eight teams had 48 hours to create games to be rated by the jury.
The jury composed of Kristian Lukić (artist and art theorist, RS), Zuzana Anettová (foreign language teacher, SK), Matthias Guntrum (game developer, DE), and Mária Kadlecová (editor of the portal Vĺčatá.sk, SK) faced a challenging task to select the winner. Rather unexpectedly, the jury also decided to award two other games with a symbolic honourable mention.
After a lengthy discussion, the jury of experts agreed to announce the team Noha v mede (Peter Fačko, Jana Malatincová, Alexander Palásthy) as the winners of the jam with their game Dog Ate My Homework. The jury particularly appreciated original game mechanics, the balance between the assignment and the result, as well as the procedural analogue environment.
Dog Ate My Homework is a point-and-click adventure game for tablets that teaches children to differentiate between words and images, and clarifies relations between real-world objects in a witty way. The game is based on a simple principle of replacing an image with a word. In the beginning, the text covers the entire screen. As it is filled in, it gradually uncovers the story of a little boy who is on his way to school. The game is suitable for teaching foreign languages.
The beta version of the game is available for free for Android and Windows devices.
The members of the winning team received the New Nintendo 3DS donated by the company Pixel Federation, web hosting from the company WebSupport, and books from the Slovak National Gallery. Furthermore, thanks to the cooperation with Edulab, thousands of teachers across Slovakia will be informed about the games created during the Game Jam.
As the partner of Bratislava Game Jam, the company Grand Beats offered support for the teams in the form of music and custom sounds, which were also used in the winning game. With no former intent, the jury decided to award two honourable mentions.
The first one went to the game Bliss by the team Kódtraktory that deserved it for their philosophical approach to the theme, as well as the breath-taking visuals.
Another honourable mention went to the game National Awakener by the team Cheerful Alligator for their use of historical context, hand-painted visuals, and convenient use in teaching.
8 teams attended Bratislava Game Jam and 7 of them made it to the end.
Noha v Mede: Peter Fačko (design), Jana Malatincová (art), Alexander Palásthy (programming)
Dog Ate My Homework is a point-and-click adventure game for tablets that teaches children to differentiate between words and images, and clarifies relations between real-world objects in a witty way. The game based on a simple principle of replacing an image with a word is suitable for teaching foreign languages. In the beginning, the text covers the entire screen. As it is filled in, it gradually uncovers the story of a little boy who is on his way to school.
Kódtraktory: Boris Vitázek (game design, programming), Amalia Filip (concept), David Morasz (programming), Lukáš Štepanovský (sound design)
Bliss system is an alternative method of communication inspired by the Chinese picture-writing developed by Charles K. Bliss. After surviving in a concentration camp, he got an idea that wars could be prevented if the people were always able to understand each other precisely. Although the utopian intent of this language was never fulfilled, it was used in communication with physically challenged children, whose motor skills did not allow them to write and in some cases speak. The Bliss system, however, provided help. In our game, we try to approach the teaching of this language in an explorative manner. The game has a single level that demonstrates the key game mechanics – adding new words to the vocabulary to ultimately unlock the riddle at the end of the level.
Cheerful Alligator: Matej Juračka (graphics and programming), Juraj Borza (graphics and programming)
The game National Awakener returns the player to the period of a strong Hungarization before the key popularisers of the Slovak language gained prominence. The objective is to correct the Slovak language in historical and fictional counties through two game modes. In one mode, the words lack the letters “i” and “y” and the player's task is to press the correct key within the given period of time depicted by a frame. The other mode contains words with no diacritics (which is very common in today's writing), and the player corrects the words by pressing keys representing different diacritical marks.
Wildcode: Tomáš Bencko (graphics), Štefan Nitkulinec (programming)
Robot Factory is an educational game foremost for the youngest individuals interested in programming. The game aims to teach the children to communicate through simple commands and get a rough idea of the functioning of different programming languages. In the game, the player is a software engineer facing an objective to make a bridge crane work as efficiently as possible. In every task of the game, it is necessary to move the robot through different stages until it reaches the final one. The player needs to overcome various challenging obstacles that gradually require more wit, planning, and sense of spatial orientation.
Satori: Beata Biskupovičová (graphics), Zden Hlinka (programming), Laszló Nagy (programming)
The main aim of the game is to teach English words. During the game, the player selects objects, for which he gets words of an English proverb. At the end of each level, the player gets a reward – the screen displays the words of the proverb in the correct order. The team built this game using HTML5/JS and HTMLCanvas (2D) and created the engine on the spot.
Not a Day Michal Dužek (programming), Jozef Malacký (graphics), Juraj Karovič (graphics)
The game focuses on improving vocabulary in different foreign languages (currently English, Slovak, German, and Spanish). The objective of the game is to type correctly a word composed of rearranged letters falling from the top of the screen before it gets to a hungry beast. With every incorrect guess, the beast grows bigger. Similarly to Tetris, the game is over when the beast reaches the top of the screen. If the player doesn't know the given word, he can guess it by pressing random keys, which will highlight the correct letters. Difficulty increases with the player's skills, keeping the game challenging throughout the levels.
TOFF Games: Katarína Gešková (idea making & copywriting), Adam Belis (graphics), Matej Žilák (programming), Michaela Istoková (game art)
The prototype of the game created during Bratislava Game Jams helps the player prepare for the summer festivals or holiday. The objective is to build a tower using pictures as the correct answers. The opening screen challenges the player to pack for a festival by clicking the objects and adding them into a suitcase. During the game, the players learn the meaning of different English words. Thus, the game not only improves the packing skills of the players but also extends their vocabulary.