Standouts from the 2nd PICO-8 Game Jam

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Last month, the PICO-8 developer community held its second major game jam.

Game jams are a friendly competitions where designers create games around a specific theme and only have a few days to program them. Given the theme of ‘Chain Reaction’, PICO-8 developers had just 9 days to create their games from scratch.

Here is a full list of the 35 games from the jam. To add any of these to PocketC.H.I.P., simply connect it to WiFi, and open PICO-8. Once PICO-8 loads, press the right arrow key and then press enter to update the list of available games. Use the arrow keys to select the game you want to play and start it by pressing enter again.

Combo Pool

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NuSan’s Combo Pool took home top prize –a commemorative cross-stitch from Joseph (the creator of PICO-8) that will be based on the game’s art. Hopefully there will be a picture to share soon!

The object of the game is to knock marbles of a similar color into each other to make new colors. The game starts with a few marbles pre-populating the playing field and you’re able to aim and shoot a dark purple marble into the mix.

This might sound easy, but it is not. After making a few color combinations, the field becomes littered with marbles and knocking new combos becomes difficult. But that’s not all. Your life bar decreases as more marbles enter the field. Too many marbles means death. So plan out your combinations carefully and make sure you have a steady aim. This game is ADDICTING!


Mass 360


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Mass 360 is a cellular shooting game where you pilot around dodging projectiles and firinig on regenerating blobs. Brian Vaughn’s game is more than just a game, it’s a tribute to his father’s battle with cancer and how he dealt with it.

What makes this game challenging, other than the regenerative ability of the blobs, is that your character can only move left or right around a large, white circle. (Games that employ this circular movement limitation are sometimes called 360° shooters.) If you get hit by a projectile from the blobby mass, you don’t immediately die. Rather, your allotted time is reduced. Much of the game mechanics are evocative of battling cancer, which Vaughn’s dad was able to beat!


PICO-PANG

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Matt’s Pico-Pang is all about popping bubbles. You control a Mario-like character that can shoot a harpoon straight above his head. If the harpoon directly hits a bubble, or if a bubble runs into the harpoon rope, it will pop. Frankly, this is more plumbing and sewer work than Mario is typically up to.

Bubbles range in size from tiny to enormous and, when hit, the big bubbles break-up into two or three smaller bubbles. String together enough bubble pops and time will freeze for a moment, which you can take advantage for even more popping!

It’s easy to get a hang of this game, but difficult to stop playing.


SPACETANK 9000

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Set in a dystopian future where red vector graphics dominate the world, Ashley Pringle’s SPACETANK 9000 is a frenetic side-scrolling shooter. Points are scored by destroying UFOs and jet-pack enemies, and collecting the crates they leave behind. Weapon upgrades range from lasers to circular bombs, but the pace of the game is too fast to worry too much about if you should grab the upgrade or not.

The game is fun and will definitely get your heart pumping and your hands sweaty!


Puzzlemagus

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In Benjamin Soulé’s latest game, Puzzlemagus, the main goal is to match elements, thus turning them into gold. It’s a bit like alchemical Tetris meets Bejeweled. Match three of the same elements to transform them into the next element on the “morph wheel” –a wheel that’s shown on the bottom right of the screen. Make three transformations and you get a gold nugget to add to your score.

It’s a fun game and well-paced for relaxing play.


What’s your favorite PICO-8 Jam game? Make sure to tell us about it in the forums, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Happy PocketC.H.I.P. gaming!

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3 Comments

Thanks for highlighting Mass360, it’s great to see my game shortlisted amongst other great games. I think I’ve played Space Tank 9000 everyday…so much fast, furious fun.

Making games with Pico-8 has been a blast and I can’t wait to play them all on my PocketCHIP, which should hopefully be arriving soon. Had I not seen the PocketCHIP, I probably wouldn’t have discovered Pico-8, so in many ways, making games is how I can contribute back to help make PocketCHIP a fun device to play on.

^^;; Perhaps “Nora’s Mouse Chase!” was a bit too ambitious of a Jam project. I ended up running out of Pico-8 code space with only two fights programmed in and had to add a detailed tutorial screen to try and explain the convoluted mechanics and still players had trouble figuring out what was going on at first… But once you get it, I’m sure it’s beauteous.

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