More Fun Than Your Everyday Hackathon – GameHackDay NYC

This past weekend Tokbox was at Game Hack Day in NYC and we must say it was more fun than we expected. The organizers had a great set of API presentations which included Foursquare, Twilio, OMGPOP, Aviary, and of course OpenTok. We also had the pleasure of learning more about some pretty cool libraries and hardware to hack with. They really went all out, even procuring Parot AR Drones and Microsoft Kinect devices to entice the participants and spark some creativity.

AR Drone (photo cred johndbritton via flickr)

Kinect (photo cred johndbritton via flickr)

Needless to say, when everyone in the room is making a game, presentations at the end of the weekend are a ton of fun. We’ve seen a lot of hackathons where the presenters were nervous and trying to convince the crowd of the value of what they created and who was going to use. That was out the door, it seems universal to grab the amusement of a game, which is probably the reason games do so well in marketplaces and app stores.

We were really excited by the fact that 11 out of 23 hacks presented were actually completely open source. This fit right in with the fact that the libraries, and even some of the hardware, at this event was developed completely open source. Bravo NYC hacker community, this truly brought some great innovation to the table and we are certain it will spark more down the road.

Congratulations to all the participants and especially the winners. Here’s our chance to tell you a little more about some of our favorites.

  • HadoKAM takes your friends and putting them on street fighter characters, so you can kick their butt! This was a pretty serious game mode with mapping 2d images as textures for the characters in everyones favorite fighting game. (First Place Winner)
  • World of Fourcraft is like playing Risk over a map of NYC using foursquare checkins. The five boroughs (and one extra presumably for NJians) are the factions competing to own the map. Sounds like one global fun game. (Second Place Winner, Best Location Hack)
  • Twetris is one of my personal favorites. This app is hilarious and makes fun of the ramification of increasing your following numbers on twitter. (Third Place Winner)
  • Your Face is another fun and silly game. Shoot your friends in the face before they shoot you down, using live video from their webcam (Best Video hack – OpenTok)
  • uchoos is a phone based choose your own adventure game. Mad props to to Brian for recording his own voice (which was happened to sound robotic to at least one individual) and crafting what sounded like a funny and engaging story. Call 917.338.3991 to play. (Best Voice/SMS hack – Twilio)
  • Just a Flesh Wound – Kinect operated game about chopping your opponent down to size before they get you. Its always fun to watch people contort their bodies in weird ways and lower their inhibitions for the sheer enjoyment of the crowd. I even think this would be a good party game at home. (Spirit of Riot Award – Riot Games)
  • Turnflict takes the Advance Wars game to a turn based model to make the game way more convenient for avid players.
  • Musiroids is a game of Asteroids that gets harder proportionally to the music’s tempo. It was really cool to see the pace of the game speed up not only with the music but also with the difficulty.
  • Courier is a charming love story based game in which a Prince is trying to ensure his message is delivered to his beloved by sending 100 carrier pigeons. You can help him by flying those pigeons one-by-one thru the 2d world with obstacles.
  • Beehive lets you fly an AR Drone (even if you don’t have one) through a maze using your web browser and compete with friends. Is designed to be a four player game with an interesting cooperative team dynamic.
  • Project Baldur – the Riot Games folks had at it and made this awesome 2d top-down shooter with “skills.” The gameplay seemed fast -aced and fun. It seemed like dozens of (unmentionably shaped) enemies seemed to be floating towards you and it had you on the edge trying to maneuver away.
  • SchadenFreude – hilarious game where you take your favorite trainwreck celeb and help them find run away from twitter and find love.
  • Filter Feeder is a 2d scroller with great underwater artwork themed around cleaning the ocean. If you liked the underwear levels in Mario, and want simple one button control, this game will keep you entertained.

Thanks to all the participants that made it out to the event! It was a pleasure meeting so many of you and seeing you flex your creative and technical muscles to make people laugh, strategize, dance, and hack with each other. Also a very warm thanks to the organizers, volunteers, and fellow sponsors that made this event happen. May your thumbs rest from being sore and pressing those game controller buttons.