Game Jam Winner Spotlight: Not A Fish

from the like-it's-1923 dept

It’s time for another spotlight on one of the winners from our public domain game jam, Gaming Like It’s 1923. We’ve already looked at the Best Digital Game and Best Remix, and today we’re looking at one of the weirder entries: the winner for Best Deep Cut, Not A Fish by J. Walton.

We included the Deep Cut category because we wanted to recognize games that went beyond the “obvious” and well-known candidates from the crop of works that entered the public domain this year, and dig a little deeper into the wealth of 1923 material that doesn’t get much attention. And none of the entries dug deeper than Not A Fish, which is based on a pair of science journal articles by one S. F. Light: On Amphioxus and the Discovery of Amphioxus Fisheries in China and Amphioxus Fisheries Near the University of Amoy, China.

As you might have guessed, the amphioxus is technically… not a fish. But it is a window into a period of Chinese history, and the social and political implications of colonial scientific practices. The game takes chunks of narrative and information from throughout the scientific papers, weaves them together with elements of traditional Chinese mythology, and turns it all into pieces a free-flowing, exploratory jigsaw puzzle:

There aren’t many rules — players are simply instructed to begin laying out the puzzle pieces, and forming connections between keywords, at their leisure. The gameplay arises from the many ways in which the pieces can be put together to form a “map”, and the challenge of creating a map full of coherent threads — a task that will never quite be 100% complete. Your efforts will lead you to discover interesting and unexpected connections, and a story much deeper than you might expect from a pair of scientific journals about fisheries.

You can grab everything you need to print and play from the game’s page on Itch, plus don’t forget to check out our other winners as well as the many great entries that didn’t quite make the cut. We’ll be back next week with another spotlight!

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Comments on “Game Jam Winner Spotlight: Not A Fish”

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13 Comments
Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Nintendo, like many game companies, frequently send scouts to game jam events and look at the results of major online game jams (though probably not this one… yet!) to hire the next generation of AAA designers.

See, unlike you, they like games and game-makers, rather than hating them. They look for the gems of innovation and creativity in quickly-made jam games like these, rather than reflexively mocking them for a momentary hit of self-satisfied smugness. In short, they have much less pathetic and needy inner lives than you do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well then they aren’t so evil are they? They have money to hire people because their work is protected.

Just like Google "makes billions" off internet creators, even after they pay 68 percent to them. Google has democratized content creation more than any single company in history. Apple is a close second.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Have you not noticed that copyright maximalism gives power to corporations at the expense of the Indies. For instance, without spare money and time, being hit by a false DMCA claim damages the independents as the cannot afford the lawyers, or the time, that fighting back takes.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No, it’s more like independent creators exercising a newfound right to utilise culture that has been locked up, in a manner that has nothing to do with competing with AAA titles. As you are informed on every one of these articles, the game market is far wider than those.

You must be fun at social events, launching insults at the band playing because they’re not selling a million copies of something at the same time, or mocking the cook because they’re catering your sorry ass instead of a Michelin star.

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