What Is a Game Jam

by Arya Wirendra Published January 14, 2024
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Game jams are excellent platform to connect with fellow game-makers, get inspired and learn how to be creative under pressure.

In this post, we’ll discuss what game jams are, what happens at game jams, why you should consider participating in one, some successful games that started at game jams, and where and when to participate.

Read on to learn more about game jams.

What is a Game Jam?

A game jam is an event where participants engage in a time-limited game development competition, creating games based on a specific theme. The event encourages creativity by announcing the theme just before the competition, which prevents pre-planning and repurposing of previous work. The result is exciting new game ideas and creative expression.

  • Need help brainstorming a game jam theme?:
    You can use our game jam theme generator to quickly brainstorm new game ideas for your upcoming game jam.

What Happens at Game Jams?

It’s a perfect mix of creativity, hard work, sleepless nights, and a little bit of chaos. These game jams can take place either online or offline, but the offline ones are even more thrilling.

Participants gather at jam sites, working collaboratively in a shared space to bring their ideas to life. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with like-minded people, learn new skills, and create unique gaming experiences.

Why You Should Participate in a Game Jam?

Game jams are a fantastic way to boost your creativity and improve your game development skills. They give this unique opportunity to work under pressure in limited time, which is a great practice to generate fresh game ideas and innovation.

This fast-paced, collaborative environment encourages you to think outside the box and push the boundaries of what you thought was possible, leading to exciting breakthroughs and unexpected solutions. Additionally, game jams are a great way to network with other developers and showcase your talents to a wider audience.

Which Games Started at Game Jams?

These three games are great examples of how game jams can lead to successful games that inspire and educate game developers all around the world.

Moonleap

Moonleap was created during the #NoticeMe Game Jam in 2022 and won the competition. This puzzle-platformer game became a rallying point for the Brazilian indie game dev community and helped to shine a light on their work.

The developer later lectured at the Gamers of the Future event in Brazil in 2023, inspiring and educating the next generation of Brazilian game devs.

Inscryption

Inscryption was created during the Ludum Dare 43 game jam in 2018. The theme of the jam was “Sacrifices must be made.” Originally, the game was a short card game called “Sacrifices Must Be Made,” which forced players to sacrifice cards they’ve already played to bring stronger ones to the board.

The game received positive feedback when it was published to itch.io, and the developer expanded it into the game we know today. In its first year, Inscryption sold a shade under one and a half million copies and is largely recognized as one of the greatest deck-builders on the market today.

SUPERHOT

SUPERHOT was created during the 7DFPS Challenge in 2013. The theme of the challenge was “Create a first-person shooter.” The concept behind SUPERHOT was simple but brilliant: kill all the enemies in the room before they kill you, but time only moves when you do.

The original prototype exploded in popularity and became the fastest game to pass through the Steam Greenlight program. Within three years of the full release, SUPERHOT had sold over two million copies worldwide.

Where to Participate in a Game Jam?

Platforms like Itch.io and Indie Game Jams are great places to start participating in game jams. You can also instantly create and host a jam, connecting with a global community of game-makers.

When is the next Game Jam?

The fun of game jams is that they’re always happening everywhere at anytime. So keep an eye on organizers’ web pages for updated schedules.

Conclusion

To sum up, game jams are an excellent way to showcase your skills, learn new techniques, and network with other like-minded game developers. They provide a unique opportunity to work under pressure and bring your ideas to life in a short amount of time. By participating in game jams, you can gain valuable experience and make a name for yourself in the industry.

So, if you’re a game developer or interested in game development, consider participating in a game jam and see where it takes you. Your next game could turn out to be the next big thing!

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