This. Is. Important.

A soothing occult rhythm game and Judge's Choice at Pittsburgh's Global Game Jam 2016

February 2016

An early iteration of the environment art

A demonstration of a success and a failure in the first level

Successful completion of all three levels results in a very serious tea party

  • Guide the friendly cultists safely through their summoning ritual by moving the power orb to the correct runes. Keep the beat or accept the consequences.
  • This game was created in collaboration with Patrick Jalbert and Ben Lapid over the course of three days.
  • We built and submitted this game during the Pittsburgh's 2016 Global Game Jam and won the Judge's Choice Award.

The darkened room that the player sees right before beginning the ritual

Concepts for game props

Concepts for the cultists' summoning pillars

Summoning circle concept sketch

Summoning circle concept sketch



The Team


  • Use gamepad joystick or mouse to move energy orb around the summoning circle.
  • The cultists' dancing is mapped to the relative position of the energy orb.
  • Summoning runes appear around the circle on beat with the music; the music increases in tempo as the game progresses.
  • Failure to stay on beat results in the grisly death of a cultist. The player loses the game if all five cultists are dragged into the abyss.
  • If the player successfully navigates through all of the levels, the cultists successfully complete their summoning ceremony. A tea service appears in front of the head cultist for all of the surviving dancers to enjoy.
  • The prompt for 2016's Global Game Jam was "ritual".
  • Everyone on the team wanted to work on something that subverted expectations through mechanic or story.
  • While all team members contributed in some way to all aspects of the project, there were some loosely defined team roles:
    • Marlena: created environment art, designed UI, fine-tuned gameplay, located music/sound effects
    • Patrick: modeled and animated characters, programmed visual hookups
    • Ben: programmed core gameplay, refined beat mechanic
  • We spent the first evening of the game jam brainstorming and finding common points of interest for the team.
  • The focus on the second day was getting a solid game loop up and running: the movement of the orb, the beat of the music, the rough animation of the character.
  • The third day was mostly art polish and last-minute tweaks to the game balance.

Rough sketch of runic UI elements

Early brainstorming points from Friday evening