Game on: KAUST and Sandsoft Brings Saudi Gaming Innovation Front-and-Center

Game on: KAUST and Sandsoft Brings Saudi Gaming Innovation Front-and-Center

KAUSTxSandsoft Game Jam is a wrap—but the creativity and innovation emerging from this exciting event continue to build momentum.

Last week, over 250 designers, developers, engineers, and gaming enthusiasts dove into the ultimate challenge: the KAUSTxSandsoft Game Jam. For 48 hours participants strategized, designed, tested, and reimagined their way to an original video game centered on a single theme, time.

“KAUSTxSandsoft Game Jam gave talented Saudi gamers a chance to flex their creative muscles,” says Hattan Ahmed, Head of KAUST Entrepreneurship Center. “We were thrilled with the level of commitment and innovation these individuals and teams brought to the challenge. The games they launched truly speak to these next-generation innovators and the ecosystem organizations like KAUST and Sandsoft are helping create and foster.”

Abdulrahman Aljiffry, Accelerator & Partnership Manager at KAUST Entrepreneurship Center, also said, “It was an amazing experience to initiate our first Game Jam in partnership with Sandsoft. We witnessed many creative ideas revolving around time. The game development industry is ripe for rapid growth in Saudi Arabia, and this event was an excellent mechanism to help catalyze that kind of engagement.”

While countless games wowed our experts and judges, in the end just five were selected as top performers. Those winners:

Excellence in Narrative: Re-Train
In a post-nuclear war landscape, the few remaining inhabitants race against time to find innovative new ways to clean up the planet—before it’s too late. This survival-based game was created by a diverse team including an artist, writer, developer, engineer, and project manager, from age 13 into their 30s.

Excellence in Audio: Time Tamers
Fifty years ago the “time transcendent” landed on Earth and, since, have been stealing time from humans. Now, a single hero journeys to defeat these time thieves and restore our remaining time.

Excellence in Art: Time is Running Out
It’s an all-too-common problem—telling yourself you’ll get to something tomorrow. But what happens when time runs out? In this game, players race against the clock, overcoming increasingly-challenging obstacles along the way.

Best use of Theme: Awan
Time is faster—faster than us, even. Another race-against-the-clock game, Awan challenges players to avoid the buzzer as long as possible by collecting “Power-Ups” to increase their chance of continuing.

Best of Jams: Time to Dine Customers are hungry—and it’s a player’s job to heat up each dish… without burning the food. The goal? Become the best microwave chef.

“We have been positively impressed by the outcomes of the teams as well as the vibe we felt about it when engaging with the participants,” says David Fernández, Chief Executive Office of Sandsoft. “It’s been great to collaborate with KAUST in putting together this initiative and we would be glad to work on more initiatives that can help us fostering education in games as well as driving the gaming ecosystem from bottom to top. I would like to thank participants, speakers, mentors and organizers for such a wonderful event!”