The annual Global Game Jam is on again, an amazing and free worldwide event.
Once again, the Global Game Jam is on at the end of January. The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is the world's largest game jam event. 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. Although the event is heavily focused on programming, there are many other areas where people who don’t code can contribute to a game.
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 2012, we had 242 location in 47 countries created over 2000 games in one weekend and became a Guinness World Record! GGJ 2013 is January 25-27 at a location near you… if not you can make one of your own. The jam is known for helping foster new friendship, 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.
GGJ is organized by the Global Game Jam, Inc., an international non-profit corporation based in San Luis Obispo, California, with a mission to foster game design and game education through innovative events. The GGJ depends on the generous work and support of many other people including sponsors, jam site organizers, and volunteers. Please see the credits page for a more comprehensive list of contributors.
The Global Game Jam was the brainchild of Susan Gold, in collaboration with Gorm Lai and Ian Schreiber. GGJ was founded in 2008, inspired by the many game jams before it, such as the Indie Game Jam, Ludum Dare and Nordic Game Jam. GGJ was a project of the International Game Developer's Association (IGDA) from 2009-2012. Starting with GGJ 2013, the event is managed by Global Game Jam, Inc.
The first annual Global Game Jam was held January 30-February 1, 2009 to much critical acclaim and success. With over 1600 participants in 23 countries, and a theme of "As long as we have each other, we will never run out of problems," the GGJ produced 370 games. In 2010, the number of participants increased to over 4300 with 900 finished games on the theme of "Deception" (see the 2010 recap). In 2011 there were 6500 participants in 44 countries, who created over 1500 games, and in 2012 the numbers soared to over 10,000 participants in 46 countries, with over 2100 games made in a single weekend!
GGJ is a volunteer-run organization, built upon the very hard work of its leadership, site organizers and of course the participants.
GGJ Themes throughout the years:
2009: "As long as we have each other, we will never run out of problems"
2012: An image of "Ouroboros"