you'd get some great graphics with this one for sure
lots of puzzle and movement possibilities....
I vote 'building'.
how about one about surreal planets
VCR (could be Video Cassette Recorder or Very Cool Retro, or anything else you can invent...)
"Recursive" It is abstract enough to invite different interpretations, and like I always say, ""Recursive" It is abstract enough to invite..."
I vote "Build and Destroy."
Well, you're not starved for choice, at any rate....hmmm...choices....
No, actually my suggestion would be 'flight'. Possibilities I can see : flights of fancy, space battles, adventure games, stunt pilot, platforming, GROWing a bird...
From your own article, "Back to Basics." A wealth of options there for developers, and it shouldn't take anyone out of their comfort zone.
stealth. something sneaky. like ninjas. gotta be ninjas.
I also like "meta," but too many of those at once could get annoying. Here are a few others: Loom, Spaces, Turn, Rank, Roll, Offense, Wrong.
Or, fitting to today....money.
Aww, yes! This means that there's going to be a contest soon! I've been waiting forever for these!
Hmm... a theme?
I'd have to say....
It's such a simple concept that I'm sure it will be made into many good games...
Another theme would be....
This one is a bit more complicated. It must be a very simple core idea, that can be turned into a fantastic game.
I'd have to say "Flip."
First, I just like the sound of the word, but second, there are a ton of practical applications for the idea.
Or even better, "loop".
Unoriginal (but not really)
A New Twist
You Have To Lose The Game
The Game Is A Lie
War (from a storyline plot to a shooting game, so the options are not too limited)
Community (could be anything from an town creator, to multiplayer game or one with a level editor)
How about history games like combing major events in a comical and fun way like war games or such
"Hats" inspired me to suggest "Trains." Come on guys, trains are awesome, you know it.
Does anyone remember those three vikings (think a ways back)? They each had specific "use" and the dynamic was the puzzle to coordinate the vikings to escape the level. That's relatively simple and specific enough to follow with a creative twist, yes?
I guess in a word: Teamwork.
"Indirect control" - that games are so rare and that theme will stimulate developers to make games with unique gameplay for the competition and everybody will be glad to play something original.
I apologize if these have been mentioned already. There's already too many entries for me to look at.
Match-3 (or 4, or 5)? Only no direct Bejeweled clones...
Humor (make me laugh, whether with an absurd setting, or what I have to do)
Breaking Preconceptions (gameplay conventions, cliched storylines, etc). Actually this isn't totally different from Humor.
I second War. But get creative, I'm not a strategy expert, nor a good twitch gamer (I'm looking at you, 1066). Oh, and give me a good story.
I noticed a lot of people (well, guys) repeating their favorite game cliches. Ninjas and zombies are story elements, not gameplay genres... but then, maybe a creative programmer could change that
I also like the idea of "manipulation" where the protagonist has the ability to manipulate people/ the environment, such as in "Parasite," or coincidentally, "The Manipulator."
Lost Vikings! One of my favorites...
Here is a port to flash:
i like the chains idea. some ideas of the top of my head:
~dinosaurs? (or is that done to death?)
Mabye "orbit" or "revolve"?
I would have to go with Grow style or evolution. Another would be sandbox style or simulation
GIANT FLAMING MONKEYS 
Nearly every flash games, especially puzzle ones, use a time limit. I think it would be interesting to see how designers can reimagine a use for them.
But i also vote for failure
Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I think the answer to this is pretty darn easy. It's in almost every good game and plays an important role, I'd like to see it take center stage.
The theme should be MUSIC
Musically inclined games could lead to so much, including games incorporating different genres of music, games with varying music tempos, maybe even a game that incorporates sharp and flat notes with tuning. This just sounds like too interesting of an idea to pass by. Can't Wait!
I think it would be a great way for authors to look at the ways we use deception in games to heighten tension or make sure the player is always guessing.
I really enjoy games with a compelling micro-economy. Specifically, I like it when a game gives you a limited supply of resources, a demand that typically exceeds them somehow, and a somewhat costly method of replenishment. The addition of scarcity among the more beneficial or powerful resources is great, too.
This could take the form of:
a WarCraft/StarCraft/Breaking the Tower type of simulation,
a transportation/work vessel that needs to be refueled/upgraded to advance the scenario (Motherload accomplished this beautifully), or
build something from a small number of component parts (perhaps without a seemingly critical component).
"Giant flaming monkeys" fit the micro-economy theme nicely. The monkey itself is a non-renewable resource, although the species could certainly provide a new one after the flames consume it. :)
I especially like the "game over/ death/ failure" idea, and I always love "achievements".
LOL @ Dr Steel., "The game is a lie".
Sorry for this horribly unoriginal idea, but... "multitasking". I'm usually horrible at those games, but it might be interesting.
I vote for either "achievements", "failure/death" or "giant flaming monkeys", just to see how they incorporate that.
Meester Man: Ooh, I like Evil! Like Pandemic, where the goal is to wipe out the entire human race! Games like that are twisted, but rewarding.
Really like the suggestions of:
- "Alternatives" --> freedom / choice
- "Explore" --> space exploration would be nice, with planets, galaxies, stars,...!!
Please, for the love of all that is holy:
(there are simply not enough giraffe themed games out there) :oP
'Failure' sounds awesome! As does 'up'.
I think a kind of ambiguous word which can be interpreted in different ways would be cool, like 'flash'.
Also can I suggest 'box'? Just because there are so many things you could do with that..
hmmmm here some ideas:
-some specific number, e.g. five. or seven.
Jay (or Psychotronic),
can we know about how the winner suggestion is going to be picked?
Just curious :)
I definitely would like to see what the creative minds that participate in these contests come up with. Too many games out there praised for their "story" which only have a story compared to the cliches.
Some more of the single-word themes:
I noticed a lot of people are posting "escape". We already do an escape game once (or more) a week. I don't think we need more. And now to the suggestions.
"Once More(With Feeling!)"
bioLarzen: We wanted to see what kind of response we got before picking a method, but the idea here is to let the JIG readers dictate where this goes as much as possible. We'll just organize things so it's not total chaos. Just how we can have a vote between all these suggestions remains to be seen, but we'll figure out something.
With games like "Achievement Unlocked" and "Amorphous+," I think there should be an "Achievement" theme. Who doesn't like trying get those little buggers, smashing the computer because of it, but therefore loving the game?
How about 'opposites', to see how games on the basis of Shift can be re-interpreted
I really like the ideas of Music and Intelligent Avatar too.
Please don't do escape. Don't get me wrong, I like escape games, I'm just kind of tired of them.
(Exercise(s) in) Futility
That's the one I want.
You want to take it back to the basics, eh? How about "Building Blocks"?
I like the idea of exploration but a slightly broader theme could be "Discovery". The interpretations of that to me are very interesting.
One more that has been a staple for games forever: "Self-preservation"
and here a few more ideas:
I would love to play games with puzzles and mysteries that require actual logic and deductions! I'm tired of having to hunt for a list of random items like a lemon slice and a hangnail in order to "unravel a mystery". And no more pixel hunting!
other themes I'd like to see:
I say musical physics (like in auditorium) or achievements (like in achievement unlocked)those games , when done right, are always great
Resource management. A RTS combine with Simulation. Like Westward but less aethetics and more gameplay.
How about Language?
It allows for people to do word games if they want to, but a good developer could create and amazing game out of the idea
I'm thinking something along the lines of inverted relationships. As in, instead of a game where you try to escape a room, you have to build the room and keep people inside.
My first thought:
"Platforming for Beginners" -- no time limit; Flash, not download; and I don't mind dying a bunch of times, but nobody likes going back to Level 1
Then I thought:
"Platforming with Puzzles" -- Jayisgamers love puzzles, right?
Finally, I came up with:
"Escape the Platform!"
or, are you looking for one simple word? How about:
"THERE" (I envision cosmic possibilities with that word.)
My vote for other ideas: "Hide 'N' Seek" and "Back to Basics"
Asking for suggestions is such a wonderful idea, so inspiring, even us fans deep in the gaming closet are coming out. Thank you, Jayisgames Team.
"Clash" - lots of potential for creative interpretations in any genre.
Blue Nina, I think your "escape the platform" idea could be pretty interesting. Maybe not for this competition (because it so narrowly defines a genre), but it's a concept I'd definitely like to see fleshed out. Somebody, make it happen?
(One could argue that Metroidvanias sort of embody this, by putting the find-items-to-unlock-new-areas mechanic of escape games into a platformy context. But there's certainly room to make that implementation more literal, no?)
Platform - beyond the obvious gameplay genre, it has a wide range of application.
Evolution - this could include the enemy changing over time to better adapt to your attacks, or perhaps a platforming level becoming progressively harder.
Cycle - less similar to Replay than Grow is to Upgrade. The game maker could choose to end the game similarly to how it started, or the game could cycle through the same 5 levels adding new and interesting gameplay factors each game, or you could even control a mushroom with successive 'fungus' and 'spore' stages - all those could apply.
How about "nothing"? That could really inspire alot of different ideas. perhaps a puzzle where you need to get everythng to disapear? Or an adventure game where you need to escape the nothing-ness?
How about "improvised solutions"? This could work a couple of different ways:
-You've got one solution to the problem which is relatively straightforward, but there might be other, better (and possibly not necessary intended) solutions you might be able to come up with
-Dealing with Good old-fashioned duct tape and bailing wire stuff.
-A game that can be played one way, but really most people are just going to mess around with the stuff anyway (kind of a sandbox game, but not quite.)
I'm not thinking 'educational games' here! But I can think of a few interesting things to do around this idea. :]
I agree with Jalim and Neko, as I really don't like the "escape" theme just because I can imagine people submitting tons of room escape games, with no variety whatsoever.
As for suggestions:
-"Negative space" (hopefully using concepts other then "Shift")
-"Paper" (think of the possibilities)
-my previous suggestions ("One Key," "Manipulation")
-"Music/Rhythm" (already mentioned)
-"4th Wall Breaking" (also already mentioned)
Omnipetence sounds great, how about "sim"?
Sandbox. Procedural. Survival. Are my picks.
Or all of the above.
A procedural sandbox survival, if you will. Maybe in the zombie horror, kung fu musical genre.
Simple Idea with a TWIST
1) Mouse click only. I love games where you don't have to use a keyboard. 1 click mouse games are so elegant.
2) No penalty. Games which do not penalize you. You can only advance forward and build up. They don't make you start over, or lose upgrades, or fall back.
How about Hybrid
As in, games pulling gameplay mechanics from 2 or more genres. It's fairly open-ended, but I think it could lead to some interesting results.. (room-escape platformer? puzzle roguelike?)
However, that could also just create another spate of __/RPG games..
Another thing I'm thinking of is procedural generation.. I haven't seen nearly enough games out there using procedural generation.
They all seem like they could work.
How about "melting"? There could be interesting physics involved, and it would be open to alot of interpretation.
And think of all the things that can melt! Lava, ice, lead, ice cream, chocolate...
"So it is written..."
(kind of an homage to Nethack and implying an emphasis on text-based or text-driven games, yet with great potential for shmups)
(inspired by great retro titles like Loderunner or DigDug, but very open to creative interpretation)
(challenge of course is to make sure you don't get a host of generic stacking/toppling games)
I had a lot of other ideas that have already been given by others... should be fun to see how you decide!
I had to scan through quite a few and only saw it once - no comments either.. It is simple and can have broad interpretations--
I was thinking about this a while ago, and my two favourites are:
The each can be literally or figuratively, which I think it's a huge plus. Other thoughts off the top of my head:
"Once upon a time..."
And who says we can't reuse a theme? The first comp produced several amazing innovations, so: "No Instructions"
Havent bothered to read all the comments
just want to say it should be
escape - leaves it open to both room escape games, and a myriad of other types from puzzles, to platformers
Dr. Worm beat me to it, but I've always been a fan of open-ended...
or, you could simply go with CUSTOM and that would be a lot more open-ended. You could take it in the direction of foreign customs, or about customers.
Back and Forth
"Little Black Box"