The Train Jam, and Cerebellar

Because you are here, you may have such questions on your mind as:

  • “What is Ghost Pattern?”
  • “Who are Jason and Russell?”
  • “Why did I click this link in the first place?”

Instead of answering any of those questions, I’m going to write about the game we made for Train Jam – a 52-hour game jam that took place on the California Zephyr from Chicago, Illinois to Emeryville, California.

When posting on the internet, begin with a shot of a sunset.
When posting on the internet, begin with a shot of the sunset.

The game is called Cerebellar1, and it is an interactive fiction where you and a friend each play as characters on an Earth that has reached its maximum capacity of humans. You are both about to undergo a procedure in which you will be ‘merged’ – you will still be two people, but you will occupy one space, and your physical being will be perfectly synchronized with your counterpart for the rest of your life.


We were excited about making something narrative and text-based, and we planned to use Inkle’s Ink compiler and Unity plugin to get some experience using it to craft a narrative. As we passed through small towns or vast landscapes, we discussed our characters and their arcs in between getting distracted by the scenery.

Laptop vs. view. No competition.

After writing a couple of exploratory scenes and sleeping on it, we woke in the morning and figured out an overall structure, as well as determining the tone we wanted to express across the game.

Russell did not spend half an hour getting this picture.
Russell did not spend half an hour getting this picture.

Somewhere between the Southern Rockies, the Sierra Nevada, and our complete lack of internet, we managed to write around ten thousand words from our characters’ two different perspectives across six scenes that take place roughly over the course of a year.


I don’t think either of us really knew what to expect out of participating in Train Jam, but in hindsight it feels like it was the perfect environment for allowing us to experiment with narrative form, as well as just getting a whole heap of words down in service of creating a complete story.

You can download Cerebellar from the page – just remember it is a 2-player experience, so you’ll need a friend! All the other Train Jam games are available at the Train Jam site.

We’d like to thank our third team member, Tomás Batista, who battled through a pretty severe sickness to get us some beautiful audio for Cerebellar, as well as the tireless Train Jam organizers Adriel Wallick, John Z Lindvay and Rami Ismail.



  1. The adjective for ‘cerebellum’, but it also is suggestive of ‘cerebella’, which would presumably be the plural.