Gremlin Graphics Re-United - Monty Mole Games Jam
On Friday I headed down to Magna at Sheffield to mentor a group of school children and their teacher on a Monty Mole game jam, as part of Gremlin Reunited at the Games Britannia show.
The kids were really enthusiastic and came up with a brilliant storyline involving a post nuclear apocalypse Monty Jr, trying to get medicine to save the original Monty Mole from radiation sickness, whilst avoiding soldiers and military drones. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Jacob Habgood (SHU) who was overseeing the teams and made sure we knew where we needed to be and looked after us. One of his students Wesley Arthur was on hand to help the kids with the programming side of things and made good use of Game Maker to get Monty moving and help the kids design levels.
Team Utopia designing levels & testing gameplay.
The game jam was being filmed for Blue Peter with CBBC's Barney Harwood. I'm not sure when it will be shown but my own kids were very excited about that! (they really love "Bear Behaving Badly" with Barney)
Gremlin Graphics produced some of my favourite games when I was growing up, especially the Monty Mole series and games like Thing on a Spring, Potty Pigeon and Bounder. I was about 12 when the first Monty game was released in 1984 during the Miners Strikes and I remember seeing it on the local news, I didn't really understand the political side of things, but I really enjoyed the gameplay and the main character Monty.
Through Jacob I was introduced to my gaming heroes Peter Harrap and Tony Crowther, I also got to meet Ben Daglish and had a nice chat with Ian Stewart the original founder of Gremlin Graphics.
Tony Crowther, myself and Peter Harrap!
A massive thanks to the brilliant Mark Hardisty (Games Britannia) and fantastic Jacob Habgood (Sheffield Hallam University) for inviting me along to the jam and being such great hosts. I hope the kids got as much from the experience as I did, and go on to create their own games! It was a great opportunity for me to work on something I loved and I am very proud to have been part of!