SA Game Jam 2017 RESULTS!

Firstly, congratulations everyone! SA GAME JAM 2017 had a total of 24 entries made over the event’s weekend (not including the couple games made by the judges and a few games that never got to the point of submitting).

And congratulations to those that jammed together at the jam locations (and especially to those that organized the in-person jams). We hope you had a great experience, learned from those around you, and made some friends in the process! And for those participating on the forums, thanks for making this an awesome and useful place to make games!

This year had fewer games entered than last year, which made the judging job a bit easier, but there were still many games deserving of consideration, and it’s never easy choosing what to reward. (Next year we’ll start a discussion about how to make the SA Game Jam more exciting and accessible and see if we can beat the entry count from the first year).

Having said this, the greatest congratulations belongs to the winners. Those teams (and individuals) that spent a weekend building games, and created something spectacular.

Here are the winners:

The “overall winner” was the game that we thought provided the most novel experience, and best embodied the theme.

OVERALL WINNER: Human Resource by Ben McInnes @blacksheepZA, Adone Kitching @mmillions_, Nina Lewis @awolflikeyou, William Christian

Human Resource both continues the (mis)adventures in the world of Parasol Corp, as well as this team’s winning streak. Once again, impressive world building and writing is at the forefront of the experience. While the game suffers a little bit from an ambitious scope, all the details feel considered (right down to the design of the corporate letterheads), and given a bit more time we’re convinced this game would be amazing.

Human Resource interprets the theme in a novel way, with the player collecting evidence that allows them to fill in the blanks the report they’re tasked with compiling. The brilliant twist here is that the evidence is needed to not solve the crime, but instead construct a false narrative that suits Parasol Corp’s dystopian purposes. This forces players to adopt a role where they don’t “see what’s right in front of [their] noses” but instead find useful clues in the periphery, all the while filled with certainty that they’re on the wrong side and that the crime they’re helping cover up could happen to them if they don’t show obedience dedication.

On top of this, Human Resource is excellently presented, with a lot of love having gone into the construction of this wonderfully mundane office location, along with tasteful audio design that brings even more detail into the world.

Honourable mentions for Overall Winner:

Blird Watching by @creative630, @bestnickname, @steamhat, @Ramperkash, Richard Ramsbottom
This was a particularly weird and novel experience. It incorporated the theme well, and while games where players collect animals in locations have been done before, this experience subverts all expectations. If anything it’s an anti-animal-collection game. If Blird Watching had some additional goals (like earning cash from photographs of rare birds that allow improvements that induce new rarer birds) this could be a really compelling experience (as well as being an utterly hilarious one).


The Student Prize and the Hobbyist Prize both had very strong contenders, and these were the same contenders (as the teams both were both comprised of students and hobbyists). It’d be accurate to say they are both equal runner-ups to the overall prize.

STUDENT PRIZE: Truth Be Tolled by Andrea Hayes - @PartyPanda, Bracken Hall - @Bracula, Benjamin Crooks - @BenCrooks

Truth Be Tolled tells a story from the perspective of a gatekeeper in a medieval town. The fate of the town being at least partially dependent on the decisions they make, like who they accept into town and how much money they collect. This sets up some difficult choices, as the circumstances of the town begin to grow dire, as well as some enjoyably silly choices, like answering “What is my occupation here?”. While the story cut’s off early, presumably due to a lack of development time, Truth Be Tolled is a strong concept worth exploring.


HOBBYIST PRIZE: Collecting Regrets by Julian Pritchard @Karuji, Romeo Molongoana, Sean Goncalves @Sean_Goncalves

Collecting Regrets is a simple game, but a good experience. The player plays a life of a person who must make a series of binary choices which affect the course of their lives. It’s a detailed and melancholy story which appears to have but one happy ending and many regretful ones.

Honourable mention:

Gravitron by Duncan Fraser, Paul Myburgh

Gravitron is a relaxing but challenging cooperative local multiplayer experience. The objective is always the same, that of using the various forces at your disposal to push balls into holes, but each level introduces a new complexity that has to be solved. Cooperation is essential in the later levels of this game, and so, coupled with the pleasant ambience that soothes frustration, Gravitron provides a lot of opportunities to learn to trust the person you’re playing with.


DIVERSITY PRIZE: Blob Eat Blob World by Kirsten-Lee Naidoo @kirsty_lee0, Rohun Ranjith @riders_of_rohun

Blob Eat Blob World is a small but charmingly executed local multiplayer game where players attack each other with bits of themselves. The twist is that you if you fire off your last blob you will die, and as you collect more blobs you grow larger and become an easier target for your enemy to hit.


ART: Truth Be Tolled by Andrea Hayes - @PartyPanda, Bracken Hall - @Bracula, Benjamin Crooks - @BenCrooks

Truth Be Tolled is beautifully presented. The pixel art conveys the mood of the game extremely well, and the slowly shifting lighting gives a sense of the passage of time. A lot of work has also gone into the character designs and their animations, and this work let's Truth Be Told stand out above the rest in terms of visual presentation.

Honourable mentions:

Earth Prison by Ashley Sanders @AshleySanders

Earth Prison also has some lovely pixel art, and is especially impressive for the whole project having been done by one person. The way the level comes alive once the portal has been opened is particularly well realized.


NARRATIVE: Human Resource by Ben McInnes @blacksheepZA, Adone Kitching @mmillions_, Nina Lewis @awolflikeyou, William Christian

As has already been said, the world building and role the player takes on in Human Resource make this game really special. The writing itself is very funny, and feels like there were almost too many ideas to fit into just the one game.

Honourable mentions:

Collecting Regrets by Julian Pritchard @Karuji, Romeo Molongoana, Sean Goncalves @Sean_Goncalves

Truth Be Tolled by Andrea Hayes - @PartyPanda, Bracken Hall - @Bracula, Benjamin Crooks - @BenCrooks


TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE: Blird Watching by @creative630, @bestnickname, @steamhat, @Ramperkash, Richard Ramsbottom

Apart from Blird Watching’s absurd premise (that of photographing what appear to be boneless flightless birds), where Blird Watching stands apart is in the number of technical tricks it pulls off. Photographs can be taken with a variety of graphical filters (parodying Instagram filters) and the resultant images can be saved onto the hard drive. Along with that the birds themselves are floppy and rigged, and while they don’t behave like blirds per se, their behaviour is surprisingly engaging to watch.


This year was a bit of a drought for Audio. In fact so much so that we’ve decided not to hand out an audio prize.

Agra the Agoraphobe by CrissOle had some lovely music composed for it, but the three stock sounds used for the rest of the game weren’t particularly fitting. And while the audio design in Human Resource was excellent, the sounds themselves weren’t custom made for the game.

Next year we’ll double the audio prize instead!


The judges who sacrificed their time judging the games, and who you should blame should you disagree with their decisions, are:

Evan Greenwood
Dawid Strauss
Francois van Niekerk
Jason Sutherland

The judges tried the best they could to award the prizes in a way that rewarded the finest of the games entered, as well as trying to bear in mind the expectations of the entrants (which is always tricky). If you feel anything is amiss, or would like more transparency in some regard, please post your suggestions or thoughts.

Team Group Effort, behind the overall winning game Human Resource is being partly sponsored to fly up to Johannesburg and exhibit their game at A MAZE.


  • WOW! Thank you so much Free Lives for organising and all the judges for giving up their time. Given all the games that came out of the jam this year and all the hard work and talented people that participated, I'm thrilled and honoured at this result. Congratulations to all the other winners and all the participants and team.

    Thank you to Ben, William and Adone - they are such rad, talented people and I am always super lucky to have the chance to have some fun and work with them.

    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • This is awesome!

    Thank you so much to Freelives for organising this Jam again. It's amazing to see the games it pulls out of the dense, South African woodwork. Well done to all the winners and participants! It really is an honour to be included among you all. Thank you to the judges and the community who gave us such great feedback, and really inspired us to carry on working on the game.

    Finally, thank you to my legendary teammates, @PartyPanda and @BenCrooks . You guys are the best <3

    Looking forward to next year already!
  • Wow! This is such amazing news! A huge thank you to Free Lives for organising this event and all the judges for taking the time to play all the games! Also a big congratulations to everyone that participated in this Jam!

    Big thanks to the Group Effort team as they all did a fantastic job and I am so very proud of what we pulled off! Personally, I feel like I have really grown as a game dev and if it wasn't for this event last year I don't think I would have taken the plunge. :D
  • Well done to everyone that participated and especially the winners - there were some awesome games this year!

    Thanks again to freelives for hosting, and will see you all again for this next year :)
  • Congrats to the winning teams!
    Congrats as well to everyone that participated!
    Thanks Free Lives for hosting and taking the time and effort to play the submissions!
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • Congrats to everyone who participated! :D Really booo to have missed this one but it couldn't be helped. Thanks Free Lives again for being rad spearheads of the indie gamedev frontlines :)
    Thanked by 1Sean_Goncalves
  • Thanks so much for hosting this! It's great fun and it's crazy to see how much people can achieve in short amounts of time.
    Congrats to everyone who participated and submitted a game! It's definitely harder than it seems.
  • Well done all! I very much agree with the outcome and am a bummed I ran out of time for full composition of the audio on Agra the Agoraphobe, but I learned a ton and will definitely not leave sound til the very end next time!

    Thanks to all the organisers for such a great experience!
  • Congrats to all the winners! Well-deserved. And thanks for FreeLives hosting the event (please let there be a 2018 jam).
  • @EvanGreenwood Thanks so much for hosting this and for the Honourable mention for the art. Slight correction though, as per our thread, @flobar was the artist. I just did the programming, so art credits due where it's due ;) was awesome, thank you again!
  • Thanks for the event. Truely an excellent experience.
  • Thanks a lot for the opportunity you gave SA devs. Nice theme! Only thing I did not enjoy about this jam is that it didn't really feel like we were part of it because no judge commented on our game so it felt like it wasn't tested either. Might be the same feeling some of the other devs might have felt.

    All in all well done to all the other contenders!
  • Yo everyone!

    I wrote a piece on the jam winners for Gearburn and thought you'd like to know!
  • Congrats everyone and thanks for creating such a rad comp Freelives (and all those involved in organisation).
    Evan Greenwood
    Dawid Strauss
    Francois van Niekerk
    Jason Sutherland
    May I ask that for next year's comp we consider our efforts for diversity and have a bit more of a diverse judging panel?
    Thanked by 1francoisvn
  • Heya folks!

    Can all the winners please email me their banking details - my email address is

    Thanks and Congrats! :)
  • We made a little video of the Cape Town event and showcase the winners :)
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