I’ve been to my fair share of hackathons in recent years, but Jamchester was something different. Held last weekend and billed as the UK’s biggest ever games jam, more than 200 people came together in Manchester to create 39 games in the space of a weekend.
Here’s Simon Smith, one of the organisers, describing the event in his own words:
While most hackathons aren’t particularly exciting for spectators until demo time (people heads-down in laptops coding isn’t much fun to watch), I genuinely enjoyed looking over the shoulders of the teams as they put together and tested games that riffed on the event’s set theme, ‘You Already Won.’
Participants included indie game studios and hobbyists alike. Established names taking part included Manchester’s Sigtrap Games and Swedish game development training outfit PlaygroundSquad, which recently opened its first international outpost in the city.
Virtual reality was a big theme at the event. Some teams took advantage of the much-praised HTC Vive system, while others utilised the free mobile VR headset that Microsoft and Hull-based startup VISR gave to each participant.
There were nine winners, including Clever Beans, in which a boxer must continue to celebrate a big win for as long as possible while dodging items thrown into the ring, and Best in Show, which sees you controlling both humans inside a pantomime cow simultaneously.
You can check out all the winners, and the rest of the games created during the weekend, over at Devpost.
Jamchester was organised by Gameopolis and Hack Manchester, and sponsored by Microsoft, Chillingo, Tech North, PlayStation, Unreal, recruitment agency Amiqus, and local game development college SSR. The event raised money for Special Effect, a charity that helps gamers with disabilities.
All images credit: Charlotte Graham Photography