Every two weeks Media Molecule issues a Gamejam. There are no real prizes, other than to have your level stamped with a Winner, Top 10 or Top 25% sticker. The idea I believe is to get everyone creative, and also to fill the Dreamiverse up with a variety of things. All in all I think it is a great idea, and as long as people do not take it too seriously and get worked up about who won and who didn’t then it is a welcome addition to Dreams.
Except, people are of course interested in who won, and have their own opinions on it. The latest Gamejam has shown up something that was always the case, but as we get more and more assets available in the Dreamiverse, the more this will happen. The second place winner did not make anything in their level. It consists of 4 assets, placed to create a moving artwork.The artwork looks superb. However, a large part of their level (a ship at sea) was in fact an entry by another creator, who did not get such a high ranking in the Gamejam. It would have taken less than a minute to set it up. So do they deserve their place? Was enough done to justify calling this a new artwork?
When you vote on the gamejam you do not see the level name, creators name, assets used, whether it is a remix, or even a description. A really good sculpt from months ago could be entered into a Gamejam by a random person who did not make it, and did not change it in any way to call it a “remix”. The people voting have no idea who has posted it and is judging it on its merits. Is it fair then that the “thief” (emotive word I know, okay I will say “acquirer”) gets their name in the Hall of Fame? Should we care? No money is exchanging hands. Does it matter?
It will depend entirely on whether this sort of thing becomes the norm. If remixes become top 10 finishers consistently then something will probably need to be done, because it is a little off-putting for original creators – and it may prevent them from entering in the first place. Also it may stop creators from sharing their objects as assets, instead sharing playable Dreams instead.
My personal bugbear with the Gamejam is that people totally ignore the theme and post any old thing up. Luckily it appears that Media Molecule remove those from the running. Should they then remove levels where everything is an asset from someone else? Well, no, many amazing levels are made from using assets from the Dreamiverse, a blanket ban on that would be proposterous (unless of course that was the rules of the Gamejam). I think we will have to put up with it. Be careful with your voting is all I can say. If you recognise a lot of assets from multiple creators and that puts you off then dont vote for it – but be aware that most people wont know, and this level could very well win. Maybe creators can feel proud that their work is represented in a winning level, but I can understand why they might be mightily annoyed.