SFA 2 Players 2 Buttons Jam!

events, jams, super friendship arcade

Super Friendship Arcade, South Africa’s favourite alternative video game party, is gearing up for another night of smashed pixel and melted minds! Join us in preparing for our next night by jamming with us on Saturday the 11th of July!

2 button jam

The theme for this jam is: 2 players, 2 buttons! Team up with friends and make a two player game that gives each player 1 button only! All genres welcome! Custom controllers encouraged!*

There’ll be a secret ingredient in the jam, to be revealed once we’re all together on the morning of the 11th!

The jam will run from 10am till 7pm and take place at the lovely Cafe Viva so there will be no shortage of delicious food, coffee and beer! The jam will end with a short presentation, where you can show off and discuss your masterpiece or epic train smash.

We want our community to be a safe space where EVERYONE is welcome (except dicks)! Failing is just a healthy part of challenging yourself, so don’t worry if you’ve never made a game before, or don’t know anyone else. The super friends will be happy to help you out! All you need is heart!

Running order:

10AM – arrive at Cafe Viva, reveal secret ingredient, drink coffee, form teams, discuss ideas!


7PM – Creation presentation!

2 button banner

RSVP here!

* – If you’re the crafty type, please feel free to start working on controllers before the jam. If you’re not, don’t worry, we’ll have some fun creations that everyone is welcome to use for their games!


MGSA CT MAR 2015 Meet


This past week I have the pleasure of attending another MGSA meetup. After announcing the meetup, the community received the sad news that we’d need to find a new home, with our old venue of City Varsity no longer available to us. Luckily a great Plan B was easy to devise as we relocated to Miao, already the Wednesday night home of Cape Town maker-gang, The Modern Alchemists.

With the amount of time I seem to to be spending in Miao, I should consider remaining this blog “No magic, Just Miao”. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine a more excellent space to be frequenting, and the unique venue was a great new home for The Make Games meetup. Quite a change from the serious environment we were used to at City Varsity, the playful venue found itself over-run by game devs. We were possibly a little too spread out for my liking (for future nights setting up more consolidated seating could be good), but past that I thought our new home was an awesome one.

Nic gets things going with Community News. Our touring friends are welcomed back from GDC. Nic provides some much needed clarity on the troubling policy document that the Film and Publication Board published. Then there’s a bit of MGSA housekeeping to do before Nic hands over to the night’s first speaker.

Next month Formula D‘s Marco Rosa will next month be flying to New York to speak at the Annual Games for Change Festival. With the awesome work he and Formula D have been doing, we really couldn’t ask for a better person to be representing South Africa in this setting.

Still formulating his speech for the festival, Marco takes the opportunity to chat to the rest of the community about games for change in South Africa, if people have any suggestions for points he should bring up or messages they’d like to see carried across. I find this subject one of the most fascinating aspects of the potential games hold. I’m personally coming into game design with some quite ambitious long-term plans for making The World a better place through games. After he gets back from the festival, I’d love to see Marco give a report back on the event, what he landed up speaking about, and what he learned from others.

Next up Retro Epic’s Megan takes the stage. Observant readers would note this is the third meetup in a row where the studio has had something to share. It really seems they’re one of the most constantly busy and driven collectives within the community.

This month Megan is showing off the completed trailer for their upcoming iOS puzzler, A Day In The Woods. As I mentioned in last month’s post, this game looks beautiful and I’m dead keen to try it out. With the title launching this Thursday, I’ll be able to do that very soon!

As the last feature of the evening, Peter of Made With Monster Love steps up. I wrote previously about our involvement in the duo launching a Kickstarter campaign for Cadence. Sadly, despite mountains of hard work by Peter and Rodain, amazing support from the local community and great buy in from some publications, the campaign was not a success.

Peter gives a pretty long talk about the whole thing. How they prepared for it and how things played out. It’s pretty heartbreaking that a game as beautiful and special as Cadence couldn’t gather the attention it needed to reach the goals set on The Kickstarter. That said, it’s amazing to see how Peter’s turning that around into a positive, providing the community with a priceless insight into running a Kickstarter campaign. (If anyone’s interested, bits of the talk have been rehashed and discussed on the Cadence thread on the forum.)

Peter ends the talk with a tweet that launches the next step. Pulling out his phone while he speaks, he unveils that Made With Monster Love will be launching a new campaign, The World’s first Noodle Starter.

As you might guess from the above image, I was in on the plan, contributing some art for the campaign. Designed as a way to still harness the support shown during the Kickstarter campaign, The Noodle Starter allows fans to pre-order the game right now, gain access to the beta and help Peter and Rodain not starve to death as they finish Cadence. I see it as rolling with the punches in the coolest way possible and I’m so very proud of the guys for bouncing straight back into the fight.

Click here to show them your support!

After Peter steps down, the social bit of the night starts. I get to play a bit more of the Alien Infestation campaign of Broforce. It’s great. There are lols.

IMG_5812Then someone asks about my cats and I remember that Earthling had been away from home all day. I check my phone and discover he didn’t come home for dinner, so I’m now all panicked. I try racing home, but have a few pressing conversations to conduct. One is about a mega exciting future Cool Your Jets projects. The other is all Super Friendship Arcade. Both great chats, but I’m constantly worried about the missing feline. I race home to discover a familiar pair of faces on my couch. And with that, all is well in Kittenville.


MGSA CT Feb 2015 meetup


The last Wednesday of February sees Jaysong and I heading through to City Varsity for the monthly Make Games SA Cape Town meetup. Once there, we’re reunited with some friends. There is pizza. Robbie becomes the king of pizzadom, combining 4 kinds of pizza into a monstrous Frankenstein slice.

At first things look quite subdued, but by the time we’re ushered into the hall, the place is full of friendly faces. There are nametags, but not quite enough. Being the last 3 people to enter the hall, Jayson, Rodain and I each find ourselves each as a man with no name.
Nic is back and leading proceedings. Various comments about impending babydom make me wonder if we’ll see him next month, but for now he’s here, giving us the rundown of community news. Over the month Kickstarter campaigns have launched for two local games (Albert and Otto and, the previously blogged about Cadence). Other exciting news is that a small army of local devs will soon be on their way to San Francisco for GDC!
Raxter gets up to say a bit of a farewell to the community, as he and Beth will soon be leaving Cape Town for Berlin. Personally (while being very stoked stoked for the two of them) I find it very sad to see them go. Raxter’s one of the most enthusiastic, friendly members of the community and a great dev to boot. It was thanks to Raxter and these great qualities that I got to see my first original game concept, Kick In The Door, realised. Not knowing each other at all, Rax and I teamed up on the game and the local multiplayer stomp and smash turned out to be one of the proudest moments in my brief career in game design. The two of us are planning to keep producing sequels to the game and I know he’ll only be a mouse click away, but it’s still pretty heartbreaking to see Raxter saying his goodbyes.
Next up, Super Massive Crate Dash gets fired up with a bunch of players jumping in to show off the progress on the game. Originating as a January GGJ entry, the game has grown considerably over the past month. There are now multiple levels, each with their own set of rules. In one level you can reverse gravity, in another, jumping spawns little wings that give you some lift. It’s a great twist to a great core concept and the new artwork for these additions is fantastic. People seem stoked and make a bunch of awesome suggestions (ghosts!).

Bernard gets up to show off his latest creation. He’s built a tool that allows for the telling of tiny pixelated stories. Personally I’m mega excited about what he’s started and where he’s coming from in putting it together. With the current working title of “Anything” the game incorporates a tool for creating and animating sprites for characters and background tiles. Then there’s the scripting of actions, what your creations do and say in your world and how they interact with each other. With this framework, users can create little stories that play out in any way they could imagine. The best part is that whatever people make becomes a part of the whole game. If I make a little yoda sprite, anyone after me will be able to use him. The same applies for animations, background tiles, actions and dialog.
Bernard’s clearly incredibly passionate about the possibilities of what he’s set in motion. Once the game is out there for the rest of the community to play around with (edit: the alpha is here!) this thing could really snowball. It could become a beautiful, unique amalgamation of ideas from a bunch of people. The idea is super ambitious and, admittedly, still very much a work in progress, but I’m massively excited to see someone creating something that’s not only about playing with narrative, but centers around harnessing the magic that comes from drawing people together creatively. As such, “Anything” is very much my kinda thing.

Retro Epic‘s Megan takes to the stage to show off the trailer for their upcoming mobile title, A Day In The Woods. I’m very impressed by how pretty the game is, comprised of “carved” characters and objects that look more like something you’d find in a board game than on your tablet. I’m pretty intrigued by the gameplay as well, which involves shuffling pieces around a board with the goal of getting Red to her grannies cabin. The rest of the community seems really stoked as well, providing a bunch of feedback on the video’s progress.
Next up Rodain and I head up to show off the trailer for Cadence’s recently launched kickstarter. It’s a nice feeling to see it projected onto the big screen, and I’m pretty proud of our little team for pulling this thing together. People proceed to be super nice about the trailer. After a grueling final two weeks on the project, it’s incredibly heart warming and encouraging to get such kind praise from other members of the community.
In the night’s last item of business, Danny and Marc give us a preview of the talk they’ll be delivering shortly at GDC. The speech is still being figured out, but all the pieces of an awesome talk on open development are here. Both Danny and Marc are such engaging speakers, I’d honestly be happy to listen to them talking about anything, but it’s really great getting a bit more insight into the years they’ve spent developing Desktop Dungeons. They take it in turns, bouncing off each other, tick-tocking between reading their progress or just talking to the community. I’m left feeling like this is just one more reason to regret not being able to go to GDC.
With that everyone starts filing out. I don’t even make it out the door before I’ve high-fived Bernard and start chatting about what he just showed the room. He gives me a bit more of an insight into how Anything works and we chat about the possibilities of his creation. I discover it actually started out as a god game and grew into this narrative tool.

Outside, people are playing games that have been shown. I try get my hands on something to play, but find myself instead in Perseverence Tavern, my hands wrapped around a beer. I guess that’ll do.

The next stretch of the night is just great; bouncing around ideas, catching up with friends, making some new ones and generally having a good time. Raxter and I start talking about the genesis of a games; the difference that arise when something is started with exsisting creative goals versus purely mechanical ones. It’s a pretty intriguing subject, and something I’d love to explore over a blog post or two in the future.

Ultimately, I’m still feeling pretty exhausted after the Cadence Kickstarter marathon. We say our goodbyes and our party hits the road, looking forward to being reunited with our brethren again, this time, next month.

Cadence Kickstarter is live!


I’ve been a pretty crappy blogger over the past month. My last proper post was on the January MGSA meetup. February’s meetup is tomorrow already; I’m looking at a solid month with only a single real blog post written over it.  Why did this happen? I blame Cadence.

This isn’t entirely true; it’s been a crazy busy time for Cool Your Jet’s, with a bunch of cool projects on the go. But that said, nothing has been as demanding or time intensive as Cadence. If this is the first you’re hearing of it, Cadence is an upcoming musical puzzle game from Cape Town studio, Made With Monster Love. The first time I saw this game, I freaked right out. Cadence combines so many of my loves in one, truly unique package. I was swept away by the game’s look and feel, a  gorgeous, meditative  creation, really the kind of game I dream of finding. Then there was the fact that Cadence revolved around creating and shaping music; allowing players to lay down and control music in a 3D environment, like nothing before it. And it was puzzle game! And it’s actually also a synthesizer! And it came from South Africa! There’s so much to like here, I could really go on and on, but in short, the impact of Cadence just blew me away.


Understandably, I was over the moon when Cool Your Jets were commissioned by Made With Monster Love to assist with Cadence. We were asked to help make a video for the a Kickstarter campaign, to see the game expanded on and released. After a good year and a half of independent development, Cadence is looking phenomenal. But with ambitions as grand as creating something that reinvents how people engage with music, the team are raising funds and establishing a community to take things to the next level. Matt, Jason and I were understandably really stoked to help them make this a reality.


The process of crafting a short video to try to concisely sum up something as expansive as Cadence was one of the most tough challenges we’ve taken on since forming Cool Your Jets. It’s been a grueling couple of weeks getting here, but right now, typing this at 5:40 AM, waiting for our baby to upload the Kickstarter page that goes live in a matter of hours, I’m feeling pretty on top of The World. I’m really proud of what we’ve put together, but past that, just absurdly excited to be able to help bring this brilliant game to light.


So, without any further ado, let me direct you to The Cadence Kickstarter! If you’re able to, please consider helping this incredibly special creation blossom into the wonder I know it will be. Tell your friends, spread the love and join us in bringing The World one of the most exciting games South Africa has ever produced!

MGSA Meetup Jan 2015


Last Wednesday, on what was possibly the hottest day of the year, I dropped by the first MGSA meeting of 2015.

The Make Games SA community was brought to my attention shortly after I stumbled into the first Super Friendship Arcade in February last year. Since then, I’ve gotten involved in the community’s forums as well as befriended and worked with a great selection of community members. Considering this, it felt odd that last Wednesday marked my first proper community meetup. Unfortunately the nights clash with a kung fu class I have, so breaking away is tricky. In March last year, I caught the tail end of a meetup where I awkwardly stood around for a while, too intimidated to talk to anyone. My girlfriend suggested I go home, make things, and come back to the community with a few small projects under my belt, so I wouldn’t feel like such a n00b.

Fast forward to last Wednesday,  and I’m heading through to meetup, squeezed into the backseat of a car packed with four game-maker friends, a selection of talent I once found too intimating to approach. I attempt to dish out in-car-high-fives to Raxter, Evan, Stu and Richard –  who sits with the Quadra-butt (see previous post) awkwardly perched on his lap. We snuggle in the scorching heat for a scenic drive to City Varsity –  which is already buzzing with people attending the meetup. As the first event of the year, everyone’s donning name tags.

Evan fires up the latest build of Broforce. I’m really excited to see the alien campaign that was recently completed for PAX. The taster is promising, but soon we are summoned to get the evening underway.
With Nic out of action, Danny’s leading proceedings.

Some great news is that Danny and Marc are speaking at GDC this year (woo!). But there is no mention that Cadence has been nominated for a Gaming Award at SXSW Interactive this year (boo!).

We head into a feedback session on the recent Global Game Jam. Apparently the Cape Town contingent of MGSA made no less than 14 games! After a few words from some of the teams involved, I am even more curious and excited to have a go at some of these offerings.

Francois takes to the stage, sharing the story of Clockwork Acorn‘s creation, their first year in business and the lesson’s learned over this time.  It’s inspiring to hear how the company came together, jammed their hearts out, re-evaluated their business model and found themselves on the other end of 2014 with a great collection of projects and prototypes beneath their collective belt.

Megan takes over, sharing the latest draft of the launch trailer of Retro Epic‘s Ginjah. Even without any sound design, it’s a great little trailer for an incredibly charming-looking game. The trailer loops on and on as Megan chats to community members who volunteer comments and suggestions.

After we escape the hall, my first instinct is to head outside to try cool down. When I head back in, the Quadra-Butt’s making its public debut and I get to join in on a few rounds of a bizzare circle-jerk game Richard has made for the cabinet. It’s weird and people are confused and amused and freaked out all at once. I catch a glimpse of someone playing Desktop Dungeons on an iPad, which is a nice sight. There’s some sort of platformer-shooter that I check out, but don’t get to play. I get to give Ginjah a spin, and become an instant fan (yet this exposure left me feeling like the trailer we had watched earlier doesn’t do justice to the insanely fun chaos contained in this game). Overall, I’m left very excited for Retro Epic and their upcoming release of the game – I think people are going to love it! Quadra-butt has been switched over to running Gung Ho Hippos, a Hungry Hippos mod I spoke about in my previous post. It’s great to see how happy it makes people.

From here I have my mind shattered, not once, but twice.

Beast Brawl is a two player augmented reality card game. Incredibly, it was put together in the space of 48 hours for Global Game Jam. I’m in total awe of the magnitude of this game:  going through the 40 card deck and seeing how they come to life through the lens of a phone, which runs a corresponding app. Getting this game done (within the timeframe they had) must have nearly killed the little team behind it, but Beast Brawl is incredible and surely well worth all the effort that went into it.

My next mind-blowing moment comes in the form of an VR experience that Raxter has been working on over his recent stay at The Free Lives house. I’m not sure what Raxter is calling this thing  but something along the lines of “Interstellar Mega-brain Trip 9000” would be apt. The Occulus Rift that the game should be running through is acting up, so I’m only half playing it, taking the game in via a normal screen. It’s still phenomenal. Endlessly intricate and utterly beautiful. The viewer is basically thrust through a never-ending stream of light and texture, passing through one little galaxy after another. For me, it’s a joy to see. A game like this doesn’t shift the goal-posts…it teleports them to a different dimension! Given that this concept has been designed for the emerging world of VR is even more of a thrill to witness.

I break away from the pixelated acid-trip and give Raxter a very well deserved atomic high-five. From there, Jem and I make our way through to Miao to join in on what’s left of the week’s Modern Alchemists meetup. I’m introduced to someone called Matt, actively working on a game that centers around a city modeled through procedural generation. More MGSA friends pull through. I have an impromptu meeting with my friend/client Ivo about a logo I’m making for his company Mexicanopiumdog. Beer is drunk. Fun is had.

At the end of the evening, Ivo gives me a lift back to my place. As I head home, I feel pretty damn stoked and greatful to be a part of a community as vibrant, active and welcoming as The Cape Town contingent of MGSA. Here’s hoping I can make the next meetup, and many more to follow!

Super Friends in Miao


sfa-bannerThe Super Friendship Arcade doesn’t come together very often, but when it does, Cape Town becomes about 9000 times better. This night is about bringing friends and strangers together, presenting them with some of the most exciting games that South Africa and The World has to offer. It’s about experiencing games in a new light. It’s about making games accessible to a wider audience in an atmosphere that’s welcoming, creative and exciting. It’s about changing the way people see games and each other and it’s quite likely the most beautiful social event I’ve ever experienced.

I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say this; The Super Friendship Arcade changed my life.

I could spend ages writing about these nights. And I will. For now, I’ll simply add that these nights are pure magic, in it’s most pure, righteous form.

Thanks to my enthusiasm for the nights, my experience in putting events together and the runaway success of a certain musical puzzle game, I was recently pulled into the circle of friends behind these nights.

And so, we began making plans for the next party.

And so, we started making plans for the next jam.

And so, this past Saturday, I found myself in my favourite new spot in Cape Town, surrounded by some of my favourite humans.


Assembled to make things for the next SFA party, twenty or so friends made their ways in and out of Miao on Saturday. We drew and composed and coded and soldered. We made plans and drank beer and laughed at collections of people playing flutes along to pop songs. We listened to girls screaming and boys rapping and it was grand.


Some very exciting projects were born at this jam. Richard unveiled Quadra-Butt; a 4 player, single-button, top down cabinet. I think it’s safe to say we’ll see some awesome games made for this thing.


Raxter and Anja were the first to make this happen, teaming up on Gung Ho Hippos. This is basically a trippy, digital re-imagining of Hungry Hungry Hippos featuring awesome art, severed heads and so much screenshake.



Richard and I also made some early steps in making a Quadra-Butt title. The plan is to make a cooperative first person runner in a fantasy world. We’re calling it “Run Stepdad! Run!”. It will be our first game to feature giant slugs.


Adoné started what may have been the most exciting new project of the day; a home-made lazer-tag system!  She hasn’t given it a name yet. I’m calling it SFAzer-tag for now.

Rodain, Matt, Jason, Mona and I all started building foundations for Pug Stacking, a cooperative platform runner about the power of friendship and dog biscuits.


Those are 4 big ones you can look forward to playing yourself at the next Super Friendship Arcade. We had a bunch more friends by working on interesting stuff or just hanging out. Morne was working on emulating a micro-console we’re trying to build. Peter was working on Cadence. Patrick was studying Unity. Ben was making magic blocks jump around a screen and shoot tiny blocks at each other.


All in all, this made for a most excellent way to spend a Saturday with friends. Miao were incredibly gracious in opening up especially for us and their awesome establishment made for the coolest clubhouse we could have asked for. Now, I just can’t wait till the night comes where people get to play with all the fun stuff that was born at this jam!

Here we go magic.


And it starts like…

It’s strange seeing the first words of this new blog manifesting in front of me. Twenty. Twenty Two. Twenty four.

I wrote thousands upon thousands of words on my old blog; So Many Animal Calls. This happened between sometime in 2007 and October last year. That blog was, primarily, about music (or rather, adventures around music). Bands from Pretoria and DJs from Joburg and so many of the best moments of my life. Somewhere on that ugly blogspot, between those thousands of words, there are stories and pictures and comics about making robot suits with my friends, animating visuals for shows, performing visuals with keytars, playing other people’s songs for packed dancefloors, playing short animations for half-full cinemas, drawing heaps of kittens, traveling South Africa with some dear friends and other bits of The World with others.

This blog won’t be about any of those sorts of things. This blog is going to be about the one thing that, for years and years, I’ve found more exciting than anything else. This blog is going to be about games.

At the time of writing this, I’m a little over 31 years old. Ever since the first time I saw a Double Dragon arcade cabinet, I’ve dreamt of making my own games. I estimate that as at least 25 years worth of wishing. Now, in 2015, making games is no longer just a dream. At long last it’s becoming a reality.

I’ll surely ramble in detail about how this came to pass. For now, let me just say I’m so happy that the stars aligned. I was led to a tribe of incredible humans already making fantastic realities of their own dreams. They welcomed me into their chaotic, extended family. With a rotating cast of various family members, I worked on 10 game projects last year.  These times were some of the greatest creative experiences of my life. The best part is knowing there’s so very much more to come.
I’m so looking forward to writing about the things I’m going to make. I am just as enthused to write about the amazing things other people are making around me. I’m surrounded by a small army, comprised of some of the most creative, friendly, motivated, kind and brilliant people that I have ever met. It’s not going to suddenly happen with one game, but together, collectively, I’ve no doubt this gang is going to change this world. Imagining our own little realities and bringing them to life. Game by game, transform this world into a better place than it was when we got here. Thread by thread, reweave the fabric of The Universe.

No magic; just magic.