January 28th marks the start of the Global Game Jam 2011, a 48-hour event about developing a new video/board/card game. Having participated in Global Game Jam 2010, and a local game jam back in college–which incidentally, were 8 hours long–I expect the usual drill: a sleep-deprived, idea-trashing, heated competition to make the best game. To put it into business words, it’s an extremely agile, nay, experimental software development process where a typical 6-month project is made within 2-days.
I’ll let that sink in.
So why participate at all? For one, this year, board games and card games are now accepted, and will be judged equally with video games. This means you are no longer bounded by your limited knowledge about programming or technology. The bar is set low enough: there’s no reason you can’t participate. Second, it’s an excellent opportunity to network, to meet and befriend all kinds of people who take the same interest as you. It’s always refreshing to see gamers who aren’t snobby World of Warcraft players or loud, profane Online players to First-person shooters. The people who gather in these events are genuinely creative, ambitious, and unselfish about their trade–whether it be art, programming, music, design, etc.
To me, however, the greatest reason to participate is the end products. Not the games, mind you, but the immense sense of accomplishment and shared experience between all the participants.
I could write a book about that last part, but Ste Curran (creative director of Zoe Mode game company) explained it within 10 minutes at 2010’s keynote.
Good luck to all the Jammers for 2011!
P.S. And make sure you check out my game, Trip Trap I made (by myself) in Global Game Jam 2011!