Global Game Jam Turnout Points To A Growing Twin Cities Gaming Scene

by Guest


Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 2.31.56 PMBy Beth Korth,

Each January, game developers and enthusiasts gather at sites around the world to develop an entire game in 48 hours during the Global Game Jam.

Minnesota had one jam site this year, titled GameCraft, co-hosted by GLITCH, and IGDATC, at the University of Minnesota.

Boasting 83 registered “jammers” who uploaded 28 games to the Global Game Jam site, participation doubled from the previous year. The event is designed to stimulate collaboration and learning over competition and winning.

The event kicked off with a group viewing of the official Global Game Jam keynote video, giving participants advice and inspiration from leading game developers.

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Following the keynote video, the organizers for each jam site announce the secret theme and diversifiers; all sites worldwide use the same constraints in developing their games, so until the final jam site has announced the theme, jammers must maintain social media silence.

This year’s theme was “What do we do now?”  The 2015 diversifiers included some options allowing jammers to code for a cause, or give their game a local spin. Novice jammers are encouraged only to add in additional diversifiers if they are confident they can work with the additional constraints and still make the deadline. Games must be completed and uploaded to the Global Game Jam site by Sunday afternoon. After the theme announcement, there are 48 hours before final submissions. That may sound like a long time, but jammers must also find time to eat and sleep as well as make a complete game.

This collaborative event gives the local gaming community the opportunity to get together and share not only ideas, but also technology that they may normally never get the chance to try. This year, there was an Oculus Rift, used by the Po Ta To VR team, an L3D cube used by the Match-L3D team, as well as some custom hardware. The Marionette Bird Puppet team used a custom controller from a modified Razer Hydra. The Virtual Reality Design Lab also had some custom equipment at the event which was utilized by the VRidDL team.

Many creations from Global Game Jams of the past have gone on to be released, and/or nominated for awards. One such game is the critically acclaimed Surgeon Simulator. As the local participation grows, perhaps one of the games from GameCraft will achieve such accolades.

Watch the project update video for some summaries from that weekend and visit the Global Game Jam site for a full list of games from around the globe.