The Global Game Jam kicks off today. The theme has not yet be announced, I will update this post once it has. I think at this point in time the game jam concept should be pretty familiar to everyone... theres a theme, a time limit and a set of rules and people run off, develop games and they are judged, prizes are awarded and there is much rejoicing. The GGJ is special mostly because it’s the biggest Game Jam of them all, with events all across the globe. If you are looking to participate locally, you can check for a site near you using this form. If you want more details, the FAQ is probably the place to start.
If I’ve done a pretty poor job of explaining the whole thing, here is the GGJ’s description in their own words:
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 2015, we had over 500 locations in 78 countries create 5439 games in one weekend! GGJ 2016 is January 29-31 at a location near you… if not you can make one of your own. The jam is known for helping foster new friendships, increase confidence and opportunities within the community. The jam is always an intellectual challenge. People are invited to explore new technology tools, trying on new roles in development and testing their skills to do something that requires them to design, develop create, test and make a new game in the time span of 48 hours.
The GGJ stimulates collaboration and is not a competition.
The whole being a parent thing makes these things pretty much impossible for me to participate in unfortunately. Perhaps one of these days I will curry enough favors that I can disappear for a weekend and binge code during one of these.