The Global Game Jam is a global event taking place over a weekend in January where thousands of participants come together to make games.
In 2020 there were 934 sites, 118 countries, 48,753 registered participants, and 9601 games.
The Institute of Digital Games has had the pleasure of organising this event since 2013, but the 2021 edition was held online due to COVID-19. Nonetheless, jammers still came together and made some very interesting games.
The event included the participation of some incredible keynote speakers who shared their expertise that ranged from AAA (Triple-A video games) to indie games.
On the AAA side, the jammers attended a keynote by Marc Hudgins, Project Art Director of ZeniMax Online Studios, best known for his work on Elder Scrolls Online, but also for classics such as Sid Meier’s Pirates! (among many other Sid Meier games) and King’s Quest. Marc offered some words of wisdom for the game design and development process, drawing analogies between the process of game production and art production.
On the indie games side, the jammers received a closing keynote from Jupiter Hadley, games journalist and co-founder of indiegamesplus.com. At the end of the jam, she offered the participants advice and recommendations on what to do with their game as well as how to approach games journalists and get their attention when trying to market their games.
University of Malta’s experts were also visible internationally with Dr Iro Voulgari, postdoctoral research at the Institute of Digital Games presenting as invited speaker at the Athens Global Game Jam where she spoke about the power of games used in education.
“How do I get into the games industry?” is a question that was frequently addressed to the industry guests and the recommendation is usually simply, to “make a game.” The game jam process gives people the opportunity to finish a game (as that is the target) as well as experience the entire game development process in a condensed fashion. Often including the frantic cutting of features as the deadline approaches.
The Malta Global Game Jam is held annually and is open to everyone with an interest in making games. The Institute also organises a Global Game Jam NEXT for younger participants.
The theme for this year’s game jam was ‘Lost and Found’ and the winner of the popular vote was Forg, a puzzle platformer where a frog familiar needs to balance out the positive and negative side effects of their spells to find their way back to their witch. You can download and play the games on the Global Game Jam website.
An overview of the online jam as well as the games created by some of the jammers is available below: