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Bloomfield College Hosts Teams in Global Game Jam 2018

Global Jam at Bloomfield College

By Alicia Cook

The last weekend of January marked Bloomfield College’s third annual participation in the Global Game Jam (GGJ) event, which sees contestants attempt to create a stand-alone game in just 48 hours. Bloomfield College first hosted Global Jam in 2016.

According to the Global Game Jam website, the Global Game Jam is the world's largest game jam event (game creation) and takes place around the world at physical locations. The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time explores the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration, or artistic expression. It is 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 GGJ stimulates collaboration and is not a competition.

42,792 people registered in 804 jam sites located in 109 countries this year. Bloomfield College was New Jersey’s second largest jam site, with 67 participants who made 19 games in under 48 hours. Compared to last year, this is twice the number of people and three times as many games.

“Hosting the event at Bloomfield College is far more valuable because it builds community here, making lasting connections between students, alumni, faculty, and local professionals,” said GJ Lee, Assistant Professor. “Our students meet and collaborate with alumni and professionals. This goes beyond networking; it fosters meaningful and lasting relationships. Alumni share their professional/post-grad experiences with our students and further their own professional development. Local creatives see the Center for Technology+Creativity as an accessible resource and facility. The community that forms from events like GGJ create opportunities for everyone.”

In the first hour of the event, a theme is revealed. This year, the theme was ‘transmission.’ Participants, also known as “jammers,” are then challenged to make games based on that same theme, with games to be completed by Sunday afternoon.

Some created digital games (video games, mobile games, virtual reality, augmented reality) or non-digital games (board games, card games, physical games, escape room games).

The Center for Technology+Creativity was open to “jammers” for 48 hours to support a diverse range of approaches to the 48-hour constraint. Faculty within the Creative Arts and Technology Division actively promoted healthy resting, eating, and self-care to the participants, many of whom were Bloomfield College students.

On Sunday, the event was open to the public, who were encouraged to play many of the games created in the last 48 hours.

“The values of Global Game Jam are innovation, experimentation, and collaboration, which lines up perfectly with our approach in the Creative Arts & Technology Division,” continued Professor Lee. “Working together to create something out of nothing provides a unique shared experience: barriers between students, alumni, faculty, and local industry professionals are broken, as they all become equals, form teams, and make games within the same highly challenging controls as everyone else around the entire globe.”

For example, CAT faculty member Alyssa Menes created 10 music compositions for 10 different teams, a meaningful accomplishment for her, and a wonderful opportunity for Bloomfield College students to work side-by-side with an experienced professional and faculty member.

This event was made possible by the support of the Creative Arts & Technology Division, CSLE, the student-run Game Development Club, the College’s local event sponsor: The Sheep's Meow, and the Global Game Jam organization.