Global Game Jam

Global Game Jam

Chris Volpe

Feb 4th, 2019

A Global Experience

Every year in January, a special event comes around. This event is a time for our community to bunker down in our office and spend a full weekend using their skills to create. It’s a chance to meet new people, share new ideas, and develop new gaming experiences, all under the unrelenting stress of a 48 hour deadline. And the coolest part? This experience is shared by tens of thousands of people across the world at the same time. This is Global Game Jam weekend!

In Their Own Words - About Global Game Jam

Innovation - Experimentation - Collaboration

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 2018, we had 803 locations in 108 countries create 8,606 games in one weekend! GGJ 2019 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 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.

Another 48 Hours

Global Game Jam is a Not For Profit that strives to break boundaries and bring people together around a shared passion. The weekend starts at 6pm Friday of the timezone you’re in, and goes straight through until Sunday afternoon. Many of our community treat it like a test of endurance, working as hard as they can for as long as they can, stay in the office to sleep, eat, and develop. Others take a more moderate approach, working until it’s time to head for a quick nights rest until it’s time to start again. Regardless of how people approach the weekend, it’s all about high energy, supporting each other, and going with whatever crazy idea can be done in two days. It’s truly amazing to see the camaraderie and dedication that our community exudes throughout the weekend. And at the end of it all, teams upload their games to the website for anyone in the world to download and play.

Why Jam Globally?

We’ve hosted Global Game Jam almost every year since Multivarious started. Inviting everyone to our office (Thanks to Idea Foundry for helping us make a great event), we work with our partners and sponsors to provide food (donatos pizza and homemade sloppy joes), drinks (Red Bull and Land Grant Beers), and a fun time. But perhaps more importantly, this gives us a chance to be a part of a global community of game creators from all across the world, doing what we love at the same time. Global Game Jam helps to bring people together in places around the world that have low availability to technology, differing levels of education, different languages, religions, beliefs, and so much more. But for one weekend each year, we get to come together, share our ideas, and play games created by people all across the world.

We’re proud to be the place in Columbus to host this event. In fact, it appears that with 50 people participating we are the largest onsite location for GGJ 2019!

I’d also like to thank our sponsors and partners for 2019, as they make this event as awesome as it is.

Land Grant Brewing Company

Red Bull


Global Game Jam

Check out more from Chris Volpe and discuss the future of gaming & creative technology on his blog.