Friday, September 25, 2009

The Second G-Ameland Festival!

Ameland, The Netherlands

2009 G-Ameland logoThis year I again attended the G-Ameland Festival, a student game design jam held on the island of Ameland, off the north coast of Holland. It's organized by the Northern College of Leeuwarden, where I teach frequently, and they asked me to come back and serve as president of the jury.

Last year's was loads of fun and this one was even better -- not least because the organizers brought along some students from a cooking school, so the food was much improved. There were about 85 students present, all working for about three days to build games on the theme of sustainability. The Dutch government is naturally concerned that these isolated islands be able to sustain themselves as much as possible, particularly if bad weather cuts them off from the mainland. Most of the students interpreted "sustainability" to mean "recycling," but that's OK. The winning game was called "Once Upon a Time in the Waste," and was a puzzle-solving game that combined features of Tetris with its own unique gameplay. You had to pick up tetromino-shaped blocks of garbage and pile them up to build a bridge -- but if you put heavy things on top of light things, the bridge would collapse. Not bad for three days' work! You can see screen shots from the games, and play the winning game, here.

Ernest Adams as a sealAmeland has a lot of seals. One of the students drew this picture of me in the course of the week. They like me, but I'm not sure they respect me!

I didn't have time to take many pictures -- I think I gave five lectures while I was there, plus helping the teams -- but there are several YouTube videos that give a feel for what it was like to be there:

G-Ameland Day 1

G-Ameland Day 2

G-Ameland Day 3

G-Ameland Day 4

News Video (in Dutch)