Cleveland Game Jam

At the last second, my husband convinced me to join the Cleveland Game Developers local game jam this past weekend. I know! I’m doing a write-a-thon, I’m revising a novel… do I really need to sign away my weekend to writing a video game?

Well, I kinda did.  Friday night, when the theme “Identity” was announced, I felt completely thoughtless. I had no idea what to do. I had… ideas… but not the rapid-fire of randomness I usually get at a game jam.  I kept waiting for Brian to pitch something to me, but his ideas were unformed, also.

It was during the group pitch session, as I was listening to someone else’s pitch, that I came up with my game. A text-adventure where you have to find yourself.

I started drawing flow charts and thinking a lot about how you craft identity. What makes you YOU?  I remembered a time in my life, after a two-year abusive relationship, where I had spent so much time dressing how HE wanted and talking how HE wanted and doing what HE said that I had completely lost ME.  I remembered what that felt like and tried to recapture the feeling of coming back to yourself.

Spoiler: there is a real “you” in the story, and there’s a reason I peppered it with quotes from The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

Saturday morning, Brian decided to give up on his ‘robot stealth game’ and just do illustrations for me and music for Team Sheeps.  WHAT illustrations Brian did! I am in awe.  They are just beautiful, especially the first one he did, which was of Cleveland’s war memorial fountain on The Mall, symbolizing mankind rising out of the ashes of war to reach for peace. I think everyone loves that statue that’s seen it.

Anyway, here it is. I feel shy about it – you can’t tell how much work I did in the game play, not really.  It’s mostly default Twine with Harlowe. I did some tiny CSS tweaks to use Brian’s background images to best effect.  Mostly I spent a lot of time playing through on my own, changing paths to make it not too linear.  Self-discovery is a meandering, looping gig, and I wanted the gameplay to reflect that.

Anyway, here’s the project on

Let me know what you think of it!


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