The day after AMAZE coincides with a monthly 8-hour game jam called the Berlin Mini-Jam. The place was overflowing as many of the festival goers, including myself, pitched up to make games. Over 30 were produced in total. Personally I really enjoyed jamming with new faces and seeing the different styles of designers that I’ve never seen before.
The game I made is called Triangle Sports; a two player competitive game where you control a triangle with an arm, and attempt to juggle a watermelon through a hole in the roof. I like the control scheme. I think I can do a lot more with these kinds of controls if I focus on the arms more. Joon rocked up just before the end of the jam and quickly helped me hack in some MS Paint art and a couple of other silly features. I made the final build whilst carrying my laptop to the podium for my presentation!
The next two days were spent doing touristy things. I haven’t talked about Berlin
much at all yet, so allow me to fill you in. It’s pretty great yo.
I’ve felt really at home in Berlin. I’m sad to leave and could easily stay there for the rest of my three months if I didn’t have so many other things to see and experiences to have. There’s a lot going on in Berlin. There seems to be a scene and a community for whatever subculture or niche you’re into. It’s also very liberal, progressive and alternative feeling. There’s a strong sense of counter-culture. The place is is teeming with punks and almost every surface is plastered with graffiti, stickers and posters. It makes me happy to see so many people with colourfully dyed hair.
The city is also very functional. I never knew how much South Africa was missing real public transport until now. It adds so much. It’s been such a pleasure to be able to efficiently and cheaply travel anywhere in the city stress free.
Most of my time has been spent in East Berlin, near Urban Spree (the AMAZE venue). It’s trendy area chock full of bars, restaurants, shops and clubs. When I have ventured further west, I’ve found things to feel much older and sport more classical European architecture. Central Berlin has a lot more old stone buildings, domed cathedrals and expansive plazas.
On Sunday I visited the video game museum with Jonathan and Evan. I was impressed by it too, it was nice to see a lot of culture and gaming-adjacent exhibits rather than just old hardware and old games. My favourite display was a set of period recreations of gaming habitats throughout history.
Jonathan and I then decided to do a free walking tour around central Berlin. This turned out to be an excellent idea, and I think I’ll try do one in every major city that I visit. We saw and learned about all the major landmarks in the city center. The Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie etc. Highly recommended.
Joon, Philip and Regina eventually caught up with us halfway through the tour after playing a rather exciting cat and mouse game of follow the GPS pins. The tour finished with a an exceptional retelling of the fall of the Berlin wall, and we set off to wander around Museum Island. Which is exactly what it sounds like; an island full of museums.
We finished the day off with drinks near Hackescher Markt, Ramen dinner at Kreuzberg and then second dinner at a fancy restaurant. Big thanks to Free Lives for fitting the bill at that last place!
I spent most of the next day exploring Tiergarten, a colossal park in central Berlin. I didn’t know how big it was when I started exploring it, but I kept stumbling across marble statues, art pieces, rose gardens and colossal monuments. The park is outrageous. That said, it’s probably better suited to a bicycle, I walked many kilometers that day!
After the park I joined Philip and Joon and we took a stroll past the East Side Gallery; a long stretch of the Berlin wall with artworks on every panel. Joon and I spent some time thawing in the sun and casting rocks into the river before re-joining Philip and some other friends for dinner at a Russian restaurant. I had dumplings, which I’m told are very Russian indeed.
Yesterday was a recovery day where I finally had some down time to do laundry, Skype people, do a bunch of admin and plan the next stages of my trip.
And today, I’m on a bus. In fact I’m currently half-way through a 17 hour ride to Paris. I woke up very early and have a Skype call with the Stugan folks tomorrow. Wish me luck!