GIG Challenge 2014
It’s time to crown the top three entries in this year’s Get Into Games Challenge
Our industry panel crowns the winners of this year’s contest
This year’s Get Into Games Challenge is now complete and, after three months of teams crunching across the globe, it’s time to reveal the winners. Protest was the theme for the third of our annual coding competitions, inspiring some extremely creative interpretations and a diverse field of games that included RTSes, puzzlers, brawlers and even a rebellious-ant simulator.
We played every entry to whittle them down to a shortlist of ten, which then moved to the next stage. The final assessment was made by Lionhead and Games Workshop co-founder Steve Jackson; Unity CEO David Helgason; The Chinese Room creative director Dan Pinchbeck; Lucas Pope, creator of Papers, Please; as well as Edge editor-in-chief Tony Mott.
The winning game, George Ing’s One Minute To Midnight, was the favourite of four out of the five judges. “One Minute To Midnight provides an ironic twist on the idea of protest as a force for good, depicting the player’s campaign for social reform in the year 2029,” Ing says. “Told through direct narration, it serves as an allegory about the dangers of populism and reactionary thinking.”
The Chinese Room’s Pinchbeck – whose latest game, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, features in Hype this issue – was impressed by the presentation and clever use of puzzle mechanics to meet the competition’s theme. “It’s a really lovely little game,” Pinchbeck says. “It could easily be out there on the App Store now, which is the whole point, really.”
Helgason agrees: “The style reminded me of Monument Valley, and, interestingly, the game would work great on iPad as well. The title has simple and intuitive controls, with new mechanics being introduced at a steady pace, keeping you engaged. Its economic presentation of narrative was also a success, as it often tied into the introduction of a new gameplay mechanic.”
In second place, platform racer Outrcry was developed by indie game duo John Thompson and John Farrimond, otherwise known as Warpfish. The judges were divided over the game’s interpretation of the theme, and most felt its unforgiving controls could be finetuned, but its assured presentation, appealing audio and solid concept earned Warpfish a podium finish. Finally, Mike Chambers chose to build his game around the nautical definition of protest – a formal declaration made by a ship’s master to mitigate or absolve themselves of liability for damaged goods due to misfortunes beyond their control – in Nautical Protest. Players must steer their boat between ports on a colourful globe, avoiding danger. “It’s a creative interpretation of the theme, and [there’s] plenty to do and learn,” says Jackson, who picked the game as his top choice. “You lose a lot of ships before you get the hang of it, but this is a very impressive endeavour.”
Outcry and Nautical Protest win a Unity Pro licence, while One Minute To Midnight wins a Pro licence and trip to this year’s Unite conference in Seattle.
This year’s GIG Challenge panel (from left): Steve Jackson, Dan Pinchbeck, David Helgason and Lucas Pope