Global Game Jam 2012

I hosted Global Game Jam 2012 this past weekend! The event entails a race against a 48-hour clock, where teams of game developers must make a game based on a universal theme by the end of the period. This one’s “global” because 11,247 people participated in 244 locations around the world on the same weekend and following the same prompt! Our local Portland event hosted 41 participants, who formed 9 teams and created 6 playable games! Everyone had a great time, as is expected (/required) of any Jam, and I’m looking forward to GGJ13 as well as a Portland Indie Game Jam I hope to host in April!

The weekend went as follows:

  • Introductions/Icebreaker Activity/Team Formation/Keynote Video
  • Prompt Delivery
  • Brainstorming/Concept
  • Design
  • Playable Version
  • Polish
  • Upload

The later steps had recommended deadlines, which all of the teams more or less followed, but everyone had to go through a similar process to be able to get a cohesive, complete, and working game by the end of these 48 hours of madness (which was honestly cut a bit short due to my being late and the IGDA’s requirement that people upload a bit earlier).

The prompt ^^^

An interpretation of the prompt ^^^ (thumbs fucking up)

My personal experience of the Jam was great. The past month or so was a little cray because I had to do my best to pump us up to our 50 person capacity, coordinate building dealz with the Art Institute and volunteers with the ACM SIGGRAPH, and sift through not-so-efficient communication methods that were provided by the International Game Developers Association, but everything worked out very well during the actual event. I guess my only huge complaint about that last ordeal was the promise that GGJ hosts would receive the keynote video as well as the prompt the Sunday before the Jam (five days), and, after frantically searching for it in the organization’s communication board, I realized it hadn’t even been sent out until 10:30pm the night before. So that was a relief.

But yeah, what a great weekend. I always get super inspired when I’m around a large group of people who pride themselves in creativity and problem solving, and I was completely immersed in these great minds’ entire weekend – a few people asked me about what I actually did, since I wasn’t allowed to make a game due to seeing the prompt ahead of time, and I had ended up just walking around and hanging out with teams the whole time (minus a few alonetimes on the intarwebs). By the time I had spent 15 minutes with each team, it had been an hour and a half since visiting the first one, so I’d start the cycle over again. It was so great to see art, gameplay, code, music, teams, and ideas grow, and knowing that at least 20 people were awake and working at any given time makes a Jam like this so communal and enveloping. I can’t wait for some of my other projects to start getting off the ground, because working with some of these people is half the fun.

So there’s having a good time with everyone, getting swarmed with ideas, and having had the honor to host the Global Gatdam Game Jam, but I honestly couldn’t really name any special milestones that happened at any specific time… I know I cheated and got six hours of sleep on the first “night” and four on the second, I beat my high score in Super Crate Box, we went out for sushi after everything was over, one team fell apart/tears fell hard/they got back together and made a game, SIGGRAPH came in for interviews and brought food, I had a great idea for a video blog, I worked on some Space Eulogy stuff, we went out for pizza at one point, a game developer from Norway stopped by, and… some other stuff. I’m not necessarily sure as to the order in which this took place, but here’s to Game Jams!


Please click on some of the image links to see what they’re all about! You can also view all of the game projects produced at the Portland site by looking under “Game Projects” on the right-hand side of our site’s page, and we’ll be hosting an official, open-to-the-public post-mortem event at the Art Institute sometime in the near future. Show these games some love!

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One Comment on “Global Game Jam 2012”


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