Notch and Other Notables from Ludum Dare 28

The 48 Ludum Dare game jam has ended. Here are some notable examples from the participants of the compo and jam.

The Ludum Dare is a 48 hour game jam held three times a year — once in April, August and December. The jam and its accompanying competition started in 2002, though it gained more notoriety in 2011 due to the participation of Notch, designer of Minecraft

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In the week preceding the jam, participants vote on which theme they’d like to work with. This years theme was “You Only Get One,” and won out over other options like “Bieber 4ever” and “No Kill.” Particpants are divided into two groups “jam” and “compo.” Compo developers work alone, have 48 hours and must produce all of the content in their game, while jam participants can work in groups, have a day more to work on their project and can create 

There were many different games made by developers with a variety of skills, and right now all of them are featured on the Ludum Dare site. For the next three weeks, contestants will vote on their favorite games to see who “wins.” 

Here are some of the stand outs from this Ludum Dare 28. 

Note: Some of these games will require downloads of executable files and some of them will require Unity Web Player. I have yet to encounter any malicious files on the Ludum Dare site. 

You Only Get One Wish: Calciumtrice 

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Twine games, but this is a game that is a combination of being rather lovely to look at and quite funny. For those unfamiliar with Twine, it’s a text-based interactive fiction creator. 

There are ten possible endings (I went with bendy straw) and it was one of the better written Twine games in the compo. 

You can play it on the web here at the Ludum Dare website

System Control: conormn 

“System Control” was one of the first games to catch my eye. Not only is it incredibly polished, but it manages to play up the “you only get one” theme in a really smart way. In this game, you only get one test subject and you have to keep them alive by controlling their heart, lungs and digestion. 

I never managed to keep my test subject alive, but the game has a lot of polish for 48 hours and is quite a bit of fun. 

You can play the game at the Ludum Dare website here

You Only Get 1!: Danman9914

If you’re a fan of the insanity of Japanese game shows, then this fun little game is just the right fit. You have to choose an object that will complete all three tasks, but in the spirit of the theme, you can only pick one object. 

What makes this game really fantastic is the way the developer really captured the Japanese game show spirit, and the announcers expressions are fantastic. 

You can play this game on the web at the Ludum Dare website

1-2-3-Ban : Draknek

This game is by Alan Hazelden, the creator of the Pax 10 chemistry puzzle game Sokobond. This jam game is a fantastic puzzler with a domino style match mechanic. 

It’s a bit short, but it’s so well done and simple that it makes you keep thinking through the puzzles until you have gotten all of them right. 

You can play this web game at the Ludum Dare website


“Cor” is a beautiful, sad gloomy game that absolutely captures a mood and holds onto it. It’s experimental, but the mechanics really work with what the game is trying to capture. 

You can play the game on the Ludum Dare site, though you will need to download it. 

Smooth Operator: pjchardt

“Smooth Operator” is a 2D fighting game where you have three moves, but you can only use these moves once. With a mechanic that sort of reminds me of the school yard strategies of Rock, Paper, Scissors, you have to make sure you land your blow before your opponent does, or everyone dies. 

The game has some cartoon gore, but that is part of its pulpy charm. 

You can play the web version here, or download it on Mac, Linux or Windows at the Ludum Dare site. 

Alone/Awake: PaperBlurt 

 A fantastic, thoughtful piece of IF featuring animations, Alone/Awake is the type of experimental game that often thrives in a Ludum Dare environment. A seriously great game to check you. 

You can play it here at the Ludum Dare website

Last Minute Christmas Chopping: Notch

No Ludum Dare list would be complete without a nod to the Minecraft developer. “Last Minute Christmas Chopping” is a Christmas themed game about chopping down trees so that Santa can create presents in time to give them to all the little boys and girls. 

The game is mindlessly fun, and you can play it on the Ludum Dare website


What do you think? What are your favorite games from the Ludum Dare? 

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Amanda Wallace
Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.