The Ludum Dare international game jam is probably the largest event of its kind — and the longest running, at over 12 years. Three times a year, game developers are challenged to build and share a new game within 48 hours, often documenting their process and making source code available. Each time, the community votes to agree on a theme.
This year's is 'Entire Game On One Screen.' Which sounds simple, like, 'okay, no iPad companion app,' but it's actually a real design challenge — just think about how many games have menu screens, inventory screens, y'know, different levels, little things like that.
The submission phase is over, and anyone who wants to dive in can play and rate the 2,637 games, with 1,365 in actual competition (here's a cool entry browser if the website itself is overwhelming). It's fun to get involved, not only to learn more about the rapid prototyping process, but to see the seeds of game design's next wave of inspiration. The winner of the competition is always a creator to watch.
There's often a lot of brilliant weirdness — like this 'hot n cold' maze game led by staring animals. Or this — what is this? And there's something about this simple but beautifully-drawn dragon game that takes me back to the interactive net art domains I used to visit in the 90s.