I should have wrote a post about this months back, but better late than never. At the Global Game Jam this year my buddy Mike and I teamed up, with some assistance of two NC State students to create Undead Man Lover.
The theme this year was the sound of a beating heart. So we created Undead Man Lover. You play a wizard trying to transform zombies back into living humans. But zombies love the sound of a beating heart, so they’ll attack anyone you transform. To combat their attempts to devour your new human friends, you have spells. But unfortunately casting a spell is a stressful affair that raises your own heartbeat, making the zombies think you are quite yummy. You’ll have to balance transforming zombies and not attracting too much attention before the time runs out.
I found it extremely handy to use the mad lib database we created for the last local triangle game jam to come up with a game concept for the jam’s theme. When all you have is the sound of a beating heart, one finds themselves creatively thinking in a very localized minima of themes and game mechanics (heart beat rythm game, suspense game with a heart beat, shooting blood as a heart, blood cell racer…etc). But with the jam theme in mind, the series of “Adjective Noun Verb” phrases that the mad lib generator spits out gives you much more creative applications of the jam’s theme and gets you out of the creative rut.