Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Game Jam Games Gone Commercial(ish)

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 2, 2015

It shouldn’t be an impediment to Game Jams, but one of my big hesitations is that it’s a distraction from my main project. I mean, if I’m gonna carve 48 hours or so of solid work on a game from my schedule, I’d be far better off focusing on the game I’m currently trying to finish, right? That’s the equivalent of two weeks of productivity right there! And besides, while it’s a great exercise to get practice in rapid development all the way through the release stage, it’s really a distraction from making the kinds of games that actually pay the bills, right?

Well, yes and no. There’s always the NEXT project, and what’s going to be the best project next time around? Wouldn’t it make sense to prototype a bunch of ideas quickly and see which ones fly first before committing weeks and months? Wouldn’t it make sense to have already done basic designs / prototypes for a dozen games and choose the one that is the most promising and exciting? Maybe turn that game jam effort into a full-fledged commercial project?

Well, that happens. I just wasn’t sure how often. I know that Ninjabee’s A Kingdom for Keflings kinda-sorta began as a “game in a day” jam inside the company called Rome. The two bear little resemblance to each other now, but the latter at least inspired the former.

I was aware of Receiver being not much more than a game jam title as well. And Goat Simulator – a game jam success story if ever there was one! And there’s the whole Amnesia Fortnight thing that Double Fine does, which has resulted in some successful commercial products, like Costume Quest and Stacking. But has there been anything else?

It turns out, quite a bit. Someone compiled a list of full video game releases that were based on game jam projects… and there are more than I expected:

A Non-Exhaustive List of Game-Jam Made Games

Most of these are not super-successful titles, but a lot of them were. I didn’t realize that The Binding of Isaac was originally a game jam project. Now of course, these titles required a whole ton of additional work and polish before being released as full-fledged titles, but it certainly helps to start with a proven concept via a game jam prototype, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I’m sure there are more, but I was pretty impressed by the list!

Filed Under: Indie Evangelism - Comments: 3 Comments to Read

  • McTeddy said,

    My board game was actually created in a 24 hour game jam too. Obviously, it took a few months to polish enough for publishing but between the original and the expansion it’s raised almost 50K on kickstarter alone.

    Just think, no one played the game while I was giving it away from free 🙂

  • Joel Davis said,

    There’s a GDC talk about this topic that’s really good:

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Thanks Joel! I hadn’t seen this!