SA Game Jam 2018 RESULTS!

First up - CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE! What an awesome collection of games! This year we had 39 entries (46 if you count games made by judges and ones that didn't quite make it to the finish line). We're really excited about the work you all did, and we hope you had a great time doing it.

Thank you for jumping on board with our feedback experiment. We think it was incredibly successful (the forum was buzzing), and we'll be implementing this rule again in coming years.

Thank you to the judges for committing time and energy to playing all the entries, and for giving such great feedback.

Now, let's get to the good stuff. This year's SA Game Jam winners are:


Cubic Rhythm by Kelly McCarter @Kelm , Ross Borcherds @Ross and Ridhô Jeftha

While there were many EXCELLENT entries this year, there were a few factors that elevated Cubic Rhythm above the rest. Cubic Rhythm of all the games felt the most complete, having surprising visual, audio and mechanical progression AS WELL as a climax where everything the player had learnt up until that point was tested. Achieving this in a game jam is a rare and impressive feat, requiring steely resolve and a unflinching dedication to scoping.

The game is solidly put together, and embodies the theme well. The pleasing colour palette, surprising events and evolving movement mechanic all make for an impressively engaging game. The changes in the environment also punctuate the game’s progression nicely, and the gameplay transitions smoothly over the three levels.

Good job to the team for a well scoped, well executed and fun game!

Honourable mentions

Derelict by Sam Alfred @vfqd and Nic Cheng
Distance by Kisten-Lee @kirsty_lee0, Rohun @riders_of_rohun and Amith @amith_ranjith



Derelict by Sam Alfred @vfqd and Nic Cheng

Derelict is possibly the game that best embodies the theme with its stacking game rules that combine in complex and surprising ways as the game progresses. While each run starts simply, after a little while the increasingly convoluted rules require the player to drastically adapt their strategy, making the restart button a compelling choice after whatever absurdly unfortunate sequence of events defeated them in the last run. Save for some UI fixes and polish, it’s a complete and well put together game that has the potential to offer players hours of fun.

The judges also felt that Derelict is an impressive 48 hour entry, and we’re certain that with a bit more love, it will be a fantastic game.



Distance by Kisten-Lee @kirsty_lee0, Rohun @riders_of_rohun and Amith @amith_ranjith

What a delightful game! While it takes a bit of time to get on top of the mechanics, Distance makes good use of design, art and audio to communicate its possibilities. The variations in elements - and how they impact the player’s ability to get home - makes for an engaging experience that keeps you coming back in hopes of getting the perfect run. The camera angle frustrates the movement a bit, but the fact that the character always faces home is a nice thematic touch.

Congratulations to this team of students for consistently making interesting games! We’re excited to see what you do next!

Honourable mentions

Test Cube by @Trian
Sole Food by @PartyPanda, @BenCrooks and @LauraSeal



Sole Food by @PartyPanda, @BenCrooks and @LauraSeal

The diversity prize is our way of encouraging developers who are not straight, white dudes to participate in the competition and to potentially make their way into our growing industry. This year the prize happens to go to a team that both meets that criteria, AND made a game that focuses on the experience of a character from an underrepresented / marginalised group.

SPOILER: Sole Food wins another prize, so scroll down for more comments on why it’s great.

Honourable mentions

Distance by Kisten-Lee @kirsty_lee0, Rohun @riders_of_rohun and Amith @amith_ranjith



Distance by Kisten-Lee @kirsty_lee0, Rohun @riders_of_rohun and Amith @amith_ranjith

On top of the love we’ve already given Distance, the judges also felt that the game has beautiful art direction, with bright, punchy colours that GIF really well. It was applied consistently, with the game entirely made up of solid colours and clean lines. The totem-pole character building and footprints feel like a nice piece of personalised visual storytelling to describe how a run went.

Honourable mentions

Cyber Works by @jwho303, @artofmailowness, Palm Drive and Yan Sanchez

Cyber Works’ art was professional, good-looking and clearly had a lot of effort put into it. It just missed winning when it came to consistent art direction: some elements were textured, some were solid, some were gradients, or had glows, and many had different line weights.



Sole Food by @PartyPanda, @BenCrooks and @LauraSeal

Sole Food is a fantastic example of a game’s mechanic supporting (and enhancing) its ability to tell a story. The game deals with an important theme, and makes clever use of visual metaphor to communicate with the player. Sole Food’s first interaction creates a bit of mystery, and draws the player into a story that ultimately leaves you feeling happy.

Honourable mention

Sirocco by@NickCuthbert @SleepingSafari @Riley @Rigormortis

The judges enjoyed the ‘Reigns’-ish feeling of this game, but it missed winning the narrative prize because the doesn’t quite manage to make the player choices feel meaningful.



A Pirate’s Fill by @Pomb

For anyone who has ever tried to develop a management game in a weekend, seeing one working and as resplendent in functional systems as A Pirate's Fill is, is an accomplishment so covetous that you may want to plunder some of @Pomb's talent, much like the pirates do in this game.

While the relatively sparse visual and audio presentation is artfully executed, creating an adorably piraty atmosphere in a very systems heavy entry, it's the aforementioned systems that do such a good job of simulating the life of a crew of pirates. Resources like their hunger, their morale and their luck are all taken into account, while you manage the ship's speed, supplies, loot and your destination, as you gradually upgrade your ship and hire new crew.

While it can be an overwhelming amount of information at the start, the game quickly becomes very compelling, and our biggest criticism is that it ends too soon. Congratulations!

Honourable mention

Cubic Rhythm by Kelly McCarter @Kelm , Ross Borcherds @Ross and Ridhô Jeftha



Since we didn’t award the audio prize in 2017, we carried it over to this year. With that in mind we decided to award TWO audio prizes! Yay!

Negative Space by Henrike Lode, Tim Harbour and your boy, @SUGBOERIE

Negative Space evokes a sense of isolation and uncertainty. While the visuals and the text supports these feelings, it is definitely best achieved by the game’s audio. More so than any of the other entries, Negative Space’s audio contributes most effectively to the game’s experience. It captures the mood of isolation, and connects the player to the experience well. The audio also creates a sense of dread, tying into the feeling being alone in an infinite space.

Cyber Works
by @jwho303, @artofmailowness, Palm Drive and Yan Sanchez

Cyber Works’ music suits the game’s theme very well. The variation and dynamics make it less repetitive and more modular. The details in the sound design also tie in with the game’s visual elements well, and contribute to making Cyber Works feel like a neat package.



Oh look, MORE awards! This year we encountered two games that don’t quite fit neatly into our prize categories, but that definitely deserve recognition. With the power given to the judges by the judges, we’re giving special awards to these games:

Mars Deck by @Tuism

Mars Deck is an awkward fit for this particular competition and difficult to place on the awards matrix, but it is clear that this is one of the best game systems to come out of the event. After a difficult setup, this becomes a particularly elegant and rewarding experience clearly rooted in the competition theme and becoming stronger for it. It was hard to compare Mars Deck to other entries but the judges felt that it is an extremely good example of its medium. The granularity of the rules can make this suffer at times but it also provides a solid reason for translating this to a digital experience.

DefEAT by @TerryPogger and Martin

DefEAT was an absolute delight to play, and took a number of novel turns. We appreciate how unique the game feels, as it avoids established game tropes. The art is quirky, the animation is surprisingly polished, and the audio design sets the mood while also enhancing the humour.

After playing DefEAT, most of the judges felt a distinct ‘What just happened?’ followed swiftly by a ‘That was incredible!’. It’s safe to say that we’d love to see more games from these developers!

This year's judges were:

Evan Greenwood
Jarred Lunt
Jonathan Hau-Yoon
Adoné Kitching
Dorian Dutrieux
Rodain Joubert
Tim Flusk
Bahiyya Khan
Jason Sutherland
Danny Day

We'll be in touch with three of this year's winners to confirm which games will be showcased at Playtopia in November!



    Could all the winners please email their bank details to and we'll get you prize money to you!
  • Congrats all! :D
    Thanked by 1Free_Lives
  • Congratulations to everyone! :)
    Thanked by 1Free_Lives
  • Well done all and congratulations to the winners! Well deserved. See you all next year :)
    Thanked by 1Free_Lives
  • Thanks to Freelives for putting this all together and big thanks to all the judges for playing everyones games. We had loads of fun and look forward to doing it again next year.
    Thanked by 1Free_Lives
  • Congrats to everyone who took part! Thanks for organizing the jam Freelives.
  • Thanks Free Lives! And congrats to all the wonderful entries and winners! And OMG! Thanks so much for the special mention, yeah I completely understood that I was making a bit of a mad duckling among other games here but I couldn't talk myself out of it! if I can make a digital game of it soon it'd be amazing. OMG with what time...
    Thanked by 1Free_Lives
  • This is amazing! :D Thank you so much to everyone at Free Lives for hosting this game jam once again :) and congratulations to everyone who participated! The games were awesome this year :)
    Thanked by 1Free_Lives
  • Thanks everybody, collectivley, for your part in this experience. The mass participation added a lot of awesome hype, and i had a jamming high for a whole week after the experience. Local jamming with local people was great, and i enjoyed every moment of it. Looking forward to next year.
  • Thank you @Free_Lives ! Congratulations to everyone that has won the categories. Also to everyone who has participated and worked hard to make their games, this was a lot of fun and very experiencing. See you all next year. (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧
    Thanked by 1Free_Lives
  • Thanks to everyone involved. Was a great jam and I had a great time making sound for it. Looking forward to the next one! Well done to everyone. Really awesome games that came out of this one.
  • Congrats to all the winners and job well done to all participants :) Huge thanks to Free Lives for organizing and sponsoring the event, it's been a real treat seeing all the activity on the forums as a result, and thanks as well to the judges for their time and effort.
  • Congrats to the winners! And, thanks to all who organised and helped make it happen. It was a fun jam!
  • Congrats to the winners and all the participants. Also thank you Free Lives for organizing this awesome event. Looking forward to next one!
  • Congrats to the winners. And thanks for the opportunity @Free_lives !
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