Ready to test your game development chops? If you’re a newbie or experienced game developer, or game enthusiast across the world, the Global Game Jam shouldn’t be news to you. If it is news to you, then you’d want to fasten your seatbelts for this.
Every year, since 2009, the Global Game Jam has happened over three days during the last weekend of January.
What’s the Global Game Jam?
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 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.
This year, the jam is happening from January 25 – 27.
2019 Global Game Jam Theme
Every game jam is guided by a theme. 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.
Last year’s theme was Transmission and the year before, Waves. Other themes in the past were:
- 2009 – “As long as we have each other, we will never run out of problems”
- 2010 – “Deception” (plus extra timezone-specific themes, including “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”)
- 2011 – “Extinction”
- 2012 – An image of Ouroboros.
- 2013 – Sound of a Heartbeat
- 2014 – “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- 2015 – “What do we do now?
- 2016 – “Ritual”
- 2017 – “Waves”
- 2018 – “Transmission”
Keynote speakers for this year’s jam are Limpho Moeti (Free Lives, A-MAZE), Brie Code (TRU LUV), Eve Thomas (TRU LUV) and Rami Ismail (Vlambeer). Diversifiers, fun, optional challenges to add to the theme of GGJ19 are available at this page.
Global Game Jam 2019 Locations in Africa
This year, the Global Game Jam is happening in 18 countries over 33 jam sites. Each location has specific rules governing them so be sure to click on locations close to you to read them. Below are the jam sites across the continent.
- Africa School of Technology and LearnWebAnim – Durban
- EMENDY Multimedia Technology Institute
- GGJ19: Capetown Varsity
- Microsoft Headquarters: Bryanston
- Creative Digital Lab
- Factory 619
- Global Game Jam Isamm
- Global Games Jam Mahdia
- Global Game Jam Sousse
- Tek Jam
- Global Game Jam Harare
It’s gonna be a long weekend so go prepared. Some venues offer free snacks while others sell them. Again, read the rules and descriptions of each location to get a sense of what’s in store for you. Pack some toiletries, water and your own snacks for comfort.
That’s it! Have fun with thousands of game enthusiasts across the world creating something beautiful.
GGJ19 is sponsored by Unreal Engine (headliner), Mixer (headliner), Facebook, CRYENGINE, GitHub, GameMaker Stuido 2, in partnership with Houdini, Media Molecule, Soundsnap, Oculus, Plan of Attack. It is supported by Red Bull Mind Gamers, Overclocked Legal, iThrive Games, AirConsole, Origin Access, Valve and Owlchemy Labs