Global Game Jam Umeå 2015

48  hours. That’s what people got. Much like the action flick from the 1980s with the same title as the first sentence it was intense, sweaty, sleep deprived and dense with frustrated curse words. I’m talking about Umeå’s participation in the Global Game Jam 2015, between the 23rd to the 25th of January.  This is how the creator of the GGJ explains it:

“The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is the world’s largest game jam event (game creation) taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games – it is very universal. The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. It is all condensed into a 48-hour development cycle. The GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.

The structure of a jam is usually that everyone gathers on Friday late afternoon, watches a short video keynote with advice from leading game developers, and then a secret theme is announced. All sites worldwide are then challenged to make games based on that same theme, with games to be completed by Sunday afternoon. In January 2014, we had 488 location in 72 countries create over 4000 games in one weekend…The GGJ stimulates collaboration and is not a competition.”

In 2015 Umeå was part of a movement including 77 countries and something around 524 locations, with around 40 local developers participating. This years theme was a question; “What do we do now?”

The result was everything from a co-op dinosaur “survive the Cretaceous apocalypse” game to “I lost my ticket on train and the conductor is getting angrier and angrier” game where the player got 2 minutes to find the ticket. There were even participants that brought with them an Oculus rift and created a game around the idea that the player was thrown into the role of an alien in a soon to crash UFO, trying to figure out the weird controls scattered all around you.

Overall the event was a huge success and we look forward to next years Global Game Jam!

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