The Global Game Stars competition this year at GMIC 2013 had many interesting games and companies. The mobile game industry is extremely complicated with games extremely favoring a free-to-play monetization model. It was great to see the many ways developers are trying to differentiate to stand out in the saturated market.
The last winner of the Global Game Stars was Royal Revolt during a GDC after event. Royal Revolt was a extremely refreshing game adding not just new gameplay but also had that cute factor to add even more heart to it. I still remember when it was time for questions from the judges one said we will e-mail you a contract.
This year competition had many interesting entries not just in the top 10 but even in the top 20. Fright Fight by APPSolute Games was a great game that tried to revive the love of Super Smash Bros. It was designed like the original 4 player fighting game but with the limitations of the touch screen in mind. While the controls took some getting used to it did remind me of my younger days with the original game on the N64.
MomoMino or formerly know as Blocky Blocky Babies was developed by Nanyang Polytechnic, a school in Singapore for video game developers. It is amazing to see an education program creating a game like MomoMino because of its ability to actually be used in the classroom. Especially when a schools are increasingly providing tablets for their students to use.
Tablets are starting to be introduced in classrooms like computers were back when I growing up in school. At first they introduced a small section devoted to computers in the school library of my elementary school. Then they built a whole new building for a whole computer lab in just as I was about to leave for middle school. I can’t even imagine how much technology have in schools compared to when I was a kid.
That is why I think it is great for upcoming game developers at schools to have their projects at these competitions. Not only is it great learning experience for them but they are also allowed much more creative freedom than developers tied to publishers since the school is providing most of the resources. I hope I get to see more developing teams from all levels of education institutions.
Another group of developers that impressed me was MVE Systems Inc. also developed from young minds from Stanford. The WarGames: Rise of Modern Empires itself was not what impressed me the most though. They were actually able to get Contracts with the Philippines navy to have their simulator used in their own simulation training.
The Sandbox by Pixowl Inc. was a unique creative game where you can build your own world. It reminded me a lot of Minecraft but on a 2D world. You can and use so many elements to create your own world. If you use steam it can create clouds which in turn can create thunder. The possibilities with this game could be endless.
My Singing Monsters was my favorite game at the competition because of its ability to bring a smile to my face. It is your village creating game but with music. You are creating your own band and you unlock monsters that sing different beats. I loved seeing the different songs people created in their own world. This game resonated with me the most with its lovable charm.
In the mobile game market it is so hard to have your games stand out in such a saturated market. To do that you not only need something that is marketable but something that is so unique that it stands out. Not easy in a market filled with so many clones but with the huge audience available the payoff can be tremendous if done correctly.
I love seeing these competitions to get my hands on to see what developers are creating. As someone that would one day love to help create games I love talking to these developers to talk about their thought process when deciding what to focus on.