Rae Knowler
28 May 2018, 10:47 p.m.

This January, I volunteered to help out at the Zürich Swiss Game Jam/Global Game Jam location. In between setting up the room (a huge art space filled with various strange displays), making coffee and slicing pizza, I had about 24 hours to make a game. It was pretty good, but now I've added a lot more content and Numbers is finally what I hoped it would be. What's more, David Stark made a whole soundtrack for it!

The theme for Global Game Jam 2018 was Transmission. As soon as I saw the video, I knew I wanted to make a game about numbers stations. I've been fascinated by them ever since I first heard about them: eerie, robotic voices chanting numbers over shortwave radio, ephemeral yet systematic. The hidden machinations they point to are no less interesting than the civilians who follow them with their own shortwave equipment, nicknaming the stations and updating one another when they switch schedule or broadcast frequency.

With Numbers, I hoped to capture the feeling I had first listening to the Conet Project recordings in a dark room, but also some of the wider environment of the stations. I had already planned to make a Twine game during the jam, if I got a chance, and I found that the format worked wonderfully for what I wanted to do.

At the end of the weekend, I had a more-or-less functional game uploaded to the GGJ site, albeit rough around the edges and with an ending I'd intended to be ambiguous, but which was interpreted as a bug. I told my partner, David, that I wanted to finish it up, and he offered to make a soundtrack for it if I did.

We've been working on the game and music off-and-on since then and finally finished it yesterday. David's soundtrack—made up of the sounds of radios, telephones and trains, plus some unexpected poetry—really complements the different moods of the game. (He also created the splash image and was a great discussion partner for plot development!) I'm very proud of the whole thing and hope you enjoy it.