There is a Picture is a rather interesting little game that recently came out of Ludum Dare’s 10th anniversary game jam session. Game jams are events where people get together and rapidly create games over a very short period of time – often twenty four hours, but in this case forty eight. I think game jams are great, really – every one (and there are loads) is a small, messy injection of new ideas into the medium.
This game is, like many games to come out of game jams, a short, minimalistic effort that revolves around a single interesting mechanic. Throughout the twenty minute duration you’re asked to retrieve certain items to give to characters in exchange for help, and each of these items has both a colour and a shape – so you might need a blue cross or a yellow square, for instance. Initially it’s just a matter of finding the right object for the job, but soon the game gives you interesting puzzles where you have to find an object that doesn’t yet exist – requiring you to combine the right objects together in order to progress.
There’s also something quite compelling about the game outside of these brief puzzles. While the minimalistic, blocky art-style and the brief snippets of borderline absurdist writing are generally rather good, it’ s the droning noise and music that really stand out, due in part to the almost hypnotic mood they bring about. Overall, the parts that make up There is a Picture go together in a way that I found extremely satisfying, despite not really being able to really explain why. Maybe you won’t find the enjoyment I did, but give it a try if you have a few minutes to spare: