Spreading Virtual Jam: Highlights from the S21 Game Jam

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

From June 23rd to 27th, 2021, the Games Institute (GI) held its third virtual GI Game Jam event. Run independently from the Global Game Jam, the Spring’s 2021 GI Jam brought in 26 participants for a total of 8 teams and 8 games presented on the final day. Alongside the participants themselves, the Jam organizers welcomed exploring new ways to facilitate discussions, voting, and celebration of submissions. They did this in collaboration with start-up Quickscope, a platform focused on bringing game developers, employers, and researchers together.

The Jam’s theme this term was “It Spreads” which resulted in a lot of “quirky and fun games, including a cleverly designed zombie platformer and a conga-line creation game” said co-captain Ekaterina Durmanova when asked about their experience this semester. And although participation in this term’s Jam was smaller in comparison to previous years, those who attended the Jam were active, enthusiastic, and “felt really closely knit … this may have been one of the most wholesome Jams to date,” Ekaterina fondly described. Arielle Grinberg, GI Jam co-captain summed it up best: “People just had a heckin' good time.”

Due to the on-going pandemic, the GI Jam once again was completely virtual. While core Jam activities were hosted on the GI’s Discord Server, Keynotes were hosted on Quickscope. Keynotes included: Renee Gittins, Executive Director of the International Game Development Association (IGDA), and Francisco, Jake and Vishal, developers at award-winning indie gaming studio HitGrab, developer of Clan O’Conall.

As with the previous two digital Jams, if you missed out on the event itself, you can find all previous GI Jam Showcases on the GI's Discord under “Our Collections, or find previous showcases on our website here. The GI Game Jam is run per term by GI member volunteers and welcomes participants of all ages and experience levels. For more information of future Game Jams and how to get involved, please see our webpage, which is updated on a termly basis.

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