De Fine Balance

Every year, the organizers of TOJam (the city’s annual orgiastic game design bacchanal) choose a theme to guide the goings-on. Last year’s theme was CHEESE. Most of the Jam’s participants took the directive literally. There were games about blasting towers of cheese, games about digging through cheesy substrata, and games about entire seas of cheese. Entire seas of em!

i was a little surprised that no one went for the broader definition of cheese, a la “camp” or “corn”.

This year’s theme is SCALE, which offers many more possibilities. i thought i’d run down the different uses of the word to provide this year’s Jammers with some inspiration:

1. To Climb

Make a game about:

  • scaling a building (Rampage, anyone?)
  • scaling a wall (like Achilles in the Trojan War! … or Spider-Man, for you plebs)
  • scaling a rock face of a mountain

2. A Horny Skin Plate

Make a game about:

  • a snake!
  • a lizard!
  • a fish!
  • a pangolin! Because they’re weird.

3. To remove plaque from the teeth.

Make a game about:

  • An amateur dentist (i think Adult Swim already did this, but i can’t find the link)

4. A device for weighing things.

Make a game about:

  • Weighing things! (the best example i can think of is at VectorPark – click the icon with the snowman)
  • the astrological Libra sign is a pair of scales. Some kind of horoscope game/
  • the figure of blind justice holds a pair of scales
  • the Wii Balance Board is a (barely) high-tech bathroom scale

Blind Justice

Couldn’t you see Blind Justice kickin’ ass in a God of War-style game?

5. A representation of proportionate size.

This is the one that comes to mind most naturally, i think. Make a game about:

  • things that are big and things that are little. (yawn)
  • i dunno. This is the most obvious one, so it’s the least appealing to me.

6. A graduated system of wages or rates.

As in “pay scale”. Do a game about:

  • Santa’s elves viciously competing for corporate bonuses
  • a union worker bumping off employees with more seniority so that he can earn a higher wage
  • a tycoon game about managing the wages of sweatshop workers

7. An ordered progression of musical notes.

Make a game about:

  • That scene from the Sound of Music where Julie Andrews teaches the children to sing “do re me”. ACTION-PACKED!!
  • Some crazy avoid-the-obstacle game that takes place on top of a gigantic piano keyboard. Remember Bumble Boogie?

There are other definitions, i’m sure. My point is that before you do some take on Shadow of the Colossus this weekend at the Jam, consider your options! They are many and varied.

TOJam is this weekend, May 1-3 2009 in Toronto. Spots are limited, so sign up now!

6 thoughts on “De Fine Balance

  1. Paul Forest

    No cheezy campiness at TOJam 3? Pu-lease. :)

    You want cheeze? What’s cheezier than sappy love songs? And which is the cheeziest love song of all? That’s right, My Heart Will Go On, by Celine “Gouda” Dion.

    And the cheeziest love movie? That’s right. Titanic. We all got dragged into that three hour marathon, winner of such prestigious Academy awards as Best Physics Rag Doll in a Supporting Role.

    Cheeziest song, cheeziest movie, first place rag doll physics were used in a mega-expensive production.

    So feast your eyes on the cheeziest cheezeball game made at TOJam 3: Titanic Pinball!

    1. Ryan

      You’re SO RIGHT, Paul. How could i forget about Titanic Pinball? i think because the player’s first reaction was uncomfortable (possibly giggly) shock at the prospect of bouncing a lifeless body around the deck of the famous sinking ship. It was more “am I going to Hell for this?” than “golly, is this ever cheesy!” :)

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