While there are quite a few steadily recurring, deadline–based game creation compos currently in existence, like Ludum Dare, Java4K and PyWeek, one of the longest-running monthly competitions still ongoing is in fact the low-key Monthly Adventure Game Studio contest, or “MAGS” for short. Chris Jones’ engine has spawned a close-knit community that constantly produces periodic communal activities like the adventure series “Reality on the Norm” and a yearly award ceremony.
But why feature MAGS on this particular website, exactly? While we have obviously discussed a plethora of adventures both free and commercial before, doesn’t this begin to dig too deep into hobbyism?
First, whilst the basic idea of the compo may be deviously simple, it comes packaged with a twist every month: Each subsequent contest, as it stands, follows the creative guidelines defined by the previous winner! Such a constantly changing, personalized rule set makes for distinct competitions that always exhibit a different cross-section of genre, style and gameplay. Indeed, many participants seek to broaden their horizons also by battling the perceived limitations and constraints of the adventure-making engine itself.
April’s rule set was defined by Dualnames, who settled on the “One Room One Month” (OROM) format:
I know it may sound silly. But keep it simple, keep it plain. We’ve seen best of AGS games in the OROWs, and I’ve always wondered, if you had to have one room, what could you make more in a month. Keep it two people team MAX! Calin and Ben304 aren’t allowed to team up!
Second, for the very first time in five years, the compo saw no entries at all in March; in fact, this was the first-ever MAGS to not have an entry ever since the activity officially got its start in the June of 2001. April – the month that I have chosen to dissect here – was luckily vastly more successful, and as such raised my interest in addition to its prolific participants. What better moment to discuss the competition than to find it revitalized!
Third, the MAGS website places great emphasis on all voters playing through each and every entry before casting their vote. Therefore, after the jump, I have alphabetically taken a look at all of April’s titles, even if the inherent clashes of style, scope, direction and quality do complicate this task considerably.
Fourth, if Destructoid can report on Ludum Dare (which Nabeel has done on this website in the past), then we can definitely talk about MAGS. Off we go with part one – parts two and three of the article will be posted on the website over the following days.
Each segment has a hyperlink to a download for the entry in question; the general voting page for all entries can be found here. Voting continues until the 17th of May, so you still have some time to familiarize yourself with the entries.