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Meet Bossa Presents, a cross between early access and a game jam

Bossa Studios would like you to help pick its next game, from a choice of three game jam prospects.

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Bossa Presents

Bossa Studios would like you to help pick its next game, from a choice of three game jam prospects.

Bossa Studios, the indie developer and publisher behind Surgeon Simulator and I Am Bread, hosts regular internal game jams. For a couple of days, the studio’s regular workload is cast aside for an exercise in experimentation and inventiveness.

What’s particularly nice about Bossa Jams is that they’re inclusive. (Also, they sound delicious. Mmmm, jam.) That means it’s not just programmers, designers, and artists included. You’ll find marketing, finance, QA and more involved, because if you work at a game developer, you are a game developer. The Bossa crew is split into teams – with a mix of personalities and disciplines – and then they collaboratively create prototype video games.

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Sometimes game jams are just for fun. Other times, jam-created games get released as they are on services like Itch. And sometimes, things that are tested and tinkered with at jams grow into fully-fledged games.

Hoping to harness that third option – and with a history of turning silly prototypes into fully-fledged, hit video games – Bossa is turning the output from its jams into playable prototypes that you, the general public, can play for free. In exchange for that, Bossa would very much like you to vote on which of the Bossa Jam prototypes gets turned into a game next. It’s called Bossa Presents, and it’s a very nice idea.

You may even have seen some of them on social media, or you know, here on Thumbsticks.

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  • First up is Pigeon Simulator, a sort of Ronseal game that does exactly as it says on the tin. You play the game, a simulator, as a pigeon. And much like another bird-based video game, you get to run riot and generally be a bit of a dick.
  • Next is I Am Fish, which follows the established Bossa tradition of taking a fairly inert object – in this instance, a goldfish in a bowl – and having to flop around the environment to get places and complete objectives. Yes, just like I Am Bread. But with fish.
  • The third is Trash Bandits, a co-op garbage collection game with anthropomorphised animals. Like most of our favourite games from E3 2019, it’s a multiplayer game that channels the spirit of Gang Beasts and Human Fall Flat for chaotic, physics-based fun.

Then when you’ve played them all – for free, naturally – Bossa would like you to vote on your favourite, which they’ll then go on to make with the full force of the studio. It has even produced a short video explaining the idea.

This isn’t the first time Bossa has dabbled with an innovative variation on early access. In 2017 it released a free demo of skateboarding-meets-Splatoon game Decksplash, with the promise of developing the game fully if it reached 100,000 players in its free week. It did not, so Bossa moved on.

We’re kind of hoping that Bossa gets to make all three. They all look kind of great, don’t they?

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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