(Gif by Albert Hong via YouTube)
Philly Dev Night, the meetup for local game developers that’s still been going strong after the closing of its four-year-long gathering site, recently showcased how making video games can be a form of creative resistance.
#ResistJam is a game jam during which people around the world had just one week — March 3 to 11 — to create games that “resist oppressive authoritarianism in all its forms.” Four local developers each came up with their own playable game around this theme.
Traditionally with these monthly game jams Philly Dev Night hosts, each one is dedicated to a theme, and there’s a winner. And this time around, the winner was Josh Safran, a.k.a. Joshua Jumbles, with his game called Pushback.
You can download the game for free here and check out some of the gameplay below.
It took around three days for Safran to develop the project, something he described in an email as “an abstract one-against-many struggle for position.”
“As a medium games excel at letting a person live an experience, so I made an environment to resist in,” Safran said. “One that becomes increasingly more oppressive and tense over time. You are a lone character standing against crowds, and they slowly force you off the edge. You are left with choices to flee or fight, which as gameplay can be very satisfying!”
The game’s mechanics were also designed around Saffran’s background and history as a Jewish man who grew up experiencing anti-Semitism, he said.
“Our current culture prickles old fears of being outnumbered and unwanted,” Safran said. “My intent is that with the abstract aesthetic, you can simply be bowling-balling around, and the blank slate look invites you to create your own meaning. I do a little randomly generated poem blurb in the game over screen to help push certain messages.”
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This isn’t the first game jam Safran has won, and now he’s close to releasing his first mobile game, Pretzel Snake, which is based on Oh the Places We’ll Go, a game he made to win a previous jam.
Here are the three other games that came out of the local #ResistJam:
- Resist by Xavi Smith — “A game with multiple paths of gameplay and resistance”
- Resistance Jelly! by lakupo — “Use your Resistance Jelly to fight for justice! Deactivate electric traps and robots and slime the orange one!”
- With Our Stories by equinoxfracture — “Through the power of all our stories, we will overcome.”