NextGen Jam 2020 - The New Normal

Introducing the winners and runners-up of this year's lockdown NextGen Jam

The annual NextGen Jam is a highlight of our academic year, it sees students working together to complete a game, animation, or other creative piece in just seven days. There are no restrictions or formal guidance, just a theme and the student’s creativity. This year’s jam theme and entries reflect the times in which it was held, in the middle of lockdown with all students working and completing their pieces remotely. The theme was ‘The New Normal’ and the students produced some incredibly accomplished, creative, fun, and insightful work.

There were three prize categories, Best Game, Best Animation, and recognising that not all students would have access to technology, Best Traditional Media. The entries were judged by Creative Assembly, Blue Zoo Animation, and NextGen. Watch the video below to find out the winners of the NextGen Jam 2020, and scroll down to hear from the students and judges.

Thank you to all of the students who entered this year's jam, we received 23 entries which showcased your creativity, dedication, and technical skills. It was an inspiration to see the amount and quality of work produced remotely during exceptional circumstances. Thank you also to Creative Assembly and Blue Zoo for their input, feedback, prizes, and support.

Best Game - Winner

Artery Attack - Built by Daniel Lewis Chapman of Hartlepool Sixth Form College

Daniel said: When making this game, I was inspired by the current pandemic to create a game about a possible way to treat viral illnesses in the far future. You play as a robot injected into the arteries of a patient, with the goal of destroying all of the viruses and bacteria in the patient's body.

Comments from judges at Creative Assembly: This was an all-round fantastic experience! The art, audio and gameplay worked really well together, and we were really impressed by how different combinations kept coming. Our highest score was 7,690!

Best Traditional Media - Winner

The New Norm (Comic - WIP) - Created by Greta Sirvinskaite of Uxbridge College

Greta said: Though I didn’t get to finish the comic the message would end with, “Why don’t we keep the good deeds as our ‘New Norm’?” During this week, I learned a lot, and the Game Jam truly helped me out with keeping myself busy during the pandemic.

Comments from judges at NextGen: Greta’s comic was emotionally charged and contained some biting social commentary. She kept the work relevant to the brief and the pandemic. What really lifted her work to the next level was the document she created that breaks down her whole creative process. Being able to communicate your creative choices is absolutely key in these industries, and Greta did this fantastically.

Best Animation - Winner

It's Quiet - Created by Harry Tombs of Hartlepool Sixth Form College

Harry said: I made this short animation showing an empty city and representing my feelings on the current situation we’re in and how life has changed, in terms of impact and how the streets look currently. No piece of art is ever finished just not being worked on, and given the amount of time I had I'm happy with what I've made.

Comments from judges at Blue Zoo Animation: Harry’s short video displays excellent creativity and technique. The story it tells is quirky and humorous and also relevant to The New Normal. The story is told in comedy timing which adds to the appeal. I was particularly impressed with the newspaper simulation at the beginning

Best Game - First Runner Up

Your Childhood Home - Built by Calum Pallister, Matthew Nixon, Taylor Galhagher, Tyler Dobson of Sunderland College

Comments from judges at Creative Assembly: Genuinely creepy. Clever use of visual tech, great use of sound and great art all round.

Best Game - Second Runner Up

VR HORSEWOOSH - Built by Jake Williams, Josh Robinson and Matthew Keily of Hartlepool Sixth Form College

The students said: Our motivation when we made this game was inspired by our current normal of just playing the same old games, we wanted to do something else that others may benefit from, and that may help them get through this difficult time.

Comments from judges at Creative Assembly: It’s great to see a working VR game in a game jam! The visuals were great, the music, feel of the drive, and SFX feedback were also really good.