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The Emotional Core of Elephantopus

Earlier this year, we entered our first Global Game Jam, held at the SAE Institute in London. Game designers, developers, illustrators and sound artists in over 70 countries got together to create games, in just one weekend.

Joe, Leonie, and I, met up at the Institute on Friday evening, and excitedly walked into a crowded room where we were instantly hit by the unique fragrance of a hundred game designers. Also, there were hardly any girls there, so we really stood out! We were given a theme: "We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are"

We found this was oddly profound for a Friday night, and started to brainstorm ideas in teams. A sound artist, Douglas Hunter Pennant, joined our team, and we wandered off to the nearest pub. Coming up with ideas together was really fun, although it was tricky thinking of ones that were simple enough to create the graphics, animation and code for in 48 hours.

Our first feasible idea involved seeing the world from a spider’s perspective - it’s goal being to escape a house and get beamed up by it's alien friends. A simpler one was ‘Bye Bye Bubbles’, a game about a suicidal goldfish, who tries to kill itself but keeps forgetting that it’s suicidal. Unfortunately it was deemed a bit too dark. After a few hours we walked back to the college, and carried on thinking of ideas. I started doodling some of them, and after mishearing something someone had said, I drew an octopus with the head of an elephant: an Elephantopus. The others liked it’s naive, slightly confused look, and Joe came up with the name ‘The Emotional Core of Elephantopus’.

We decided that it was on a mission to find it’s soul-mate, in the perilous depths of the ocean. When I was younger I was obsessed with programmes about the sea, so felt perfectly content spending Friday night drawing healer sea piglets and hostile jellyfish. Leonie and I designed creatures with different powers, whilst Joe created the source code for how the game would work.

Many of the Global Game Jam participants were from outside of London, so they brought sleeping bags with them - some of them even pulling all-nighters to get their game finished. When Douglas asked us to describe the music we wanted on Saturday, we had a two minute discussion, then gave him some keywords - mysterious, underwatery, eerie. He came up with an awesome soundtrack a few hours later, which we all felt was true to the spirit of Elephantopus’s journey. It was exciting to see the game progress so quickly, and we added sound effects (making strange noises in a microphone for ten minutes), for the finishing touch.

The Emotional Core of Elephantopus - Play it now!

Use the W, A, S & D keys to control elephantopus!

Soon to be released on PS1.