Global Game Jam 2009: A Worldwide Report
February 25, 2009 Page 1 of 5
The dust has cleared, the games are online, and the 1650 jammers have caught up on their lost sleep, and The First Annual Global Game Jam has been completed.
Visitors to the GGJ site will find a searchable archive of 370 games churned by teams at 53 locations around the world waiting to be downloaded and played. Since they're all, in theory, designed to be played in five minutes or less, you might actually be able to play them all if you have a spare 30 hours.
The Global Game Jam started when Susan Gold, head of the IGDA's Education SIG, came up with the idea while at the Gotland Game Awards in Sweden.
There, she met Gorm Lai, one of the co-founders of the Nordic Game Jam (NGJ) and pitched him the idea of a worldwide jam.
There was some initial skepticism from the NGJ, but they soon agreed to be the flagship event for the Global Game Jam. Gold then pinged her network about the idea, and the event began take on a life of its own.
Ian Schreiber, co-author of Challenges for Game Designers, developer, professor, and student outreach coordinator for the Education SIG, became the third collaborator.
Since the NGJ was the flagship site, and was an established annual event with set dates, the team had just four short months to do the planning and cover all the logistics efforts.
Despite this, the first Annual Global Game Jam sprang to life on January 30th as the clock struck 5 pm in time zone GMT +13.
First, the Big Picture
For the Ed SIG, the GGJ offered them the opportunity to address several of their goals; encouraging collaboration across educational institutions and with industry, extending outreach beyond North America and mixing students with pros.
Even better, they would meet these goals by encouraging the making of games via a unique experiment in creativity.
Roughly two thirds of the site organizers turned out to be academics; the remainder were game industry professionals. Locations that were able to have a mix of students and pros working together in teams and/or had pros participating as mentors offered a great opportunity for everyone during the GGJ.
While most of the sites were on college campuses, some jams were held in game studios and commercial buildings. One jam was even held in the middle of the International Comics Festival in Angoulême, France -- the primary comic convention in all of Europe.
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