Global Game Jam is a yearly, worldwide event that focuses on interacting with others to create a board or video game based on the given prompt and theme for the year. As a site, Stevenson held its Jam from Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2020, in the Brown School of Business and Leadership.
The event can take place in any type of location. Megan Nyland, senior lecturer in English and one who helps run the event, said, “The idea is to keep increasing the number of people who want to attend this event.” Every year the Global Game Jam grows nationwide. In 2019, there were around 55,000 participants in over 800 locations, in more than 100 countries, from Japan to Australia to Scotland. This event often takes place in early September, but can be held any time at the convenience of the host site.
The goal of Global Game Jam is not related to the specific location, but rather focuses on participants coming together and working on a common goal. According to Stevenson’s Global Game Jam’s site, “Students, community members, and professionals from all majors, backgrounds, and skill levels” are welcome.” Many participants are novices to the event, and high school students are welcome with a parent or guardian.
The event helps people understand how to work with others, simulating an actual real-life work experience. Stevenson has been hosting this event for four years, and Nyland relies on a few other faculty and staff members to help as hosts. This past year, the theme of the Jam was the environment. Players who attended had cease from communicating about the event online and had 48 hours to come up with a game — either a board or video game.
This 48-hour period is broken up during a long weekend, Friday through Sunday, and at the end of the event everyone at the location comes together and explains their games before sharing and playing.
The schedule during the three days is as follows, according to the Stevenson Global Game Jam site:
On Friday, the site was open from 5-11 p.m.
5 p.m.: Introductions and Sign-in
6 p.m.: Keynote Speaker & Theme Announcement
6:30 p.m.: Dinner & Brainstorming (Dinner will be provided.)
7:45 p.m.: Idea Sharing & Team Forming
8 p.m.: Planning & Creating
On Saturday, the site was open most of the day, and the time is dedicated to working on game development in groups with the help of mentors. Lunch and snacks were provided.
Sunday saw the teams begin coming together to work on the final parts of their games. By 4 p.m., all games were uploaded, and a half hour later, presentations began in front of participants, friends and family members.
According to the Global Game Jam blogspot, the benefits of participation are significant: “Students who participate get a first hand immersive experience in a whole host of important career building and creative skills, regardless of their major. Students will network while boosting time management, collaboration, and leadership skills and improving their more specialized skills in writing, design, art, programming, acting, film, editing, musical scoring, and managing.”