For another year running, Northeastern University served as an official Global Game Jam site, bringing a weekend of video game development to Curry Student Center. The Global Game Jam (GGJ), the world’s largest game jam event, took place on the weekend of January 31 at over 930 locations within 113 countries around the globe. This year, Northeastern’s location for the annual event achieved the top attendance in the Northeast and 11th in the Western Hemisphere. Participants were granted 48 hours to develop a game around the surprise theme of “repair,” which was announced on the first night of the event. At Northeastern, the result was a total of 21 games, including VR, AR, board games and more, all of which were presented in the jam’s culmination on Sunday.
Focusing on “collaboration over competition,” the Global Game Jam serves as a celebration of game development, bringing together thousands of designers, developers and even composers to create alongside one another. It provides a low-stakes and resource-rich environment for creators to make a product without fear of metrics, grading or professional critiques.
“Artists and designers can so easily get caught up in the work of it all and lose sight of why we enjoy this work, and the Jam is a great way to ameliorate that,” said Northeastern’s Games Program Coordinator, Brandon Sichling, who is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Art + Design. This collaborative and enjoyable environment fostered a gathering of 196 passionate students from Northeastern, Berklee, Emerson, Mass Art and Olin College.
The broad range of attendance was notably reflected in the diversity of the developed games and the creative ways groups explored the “repair” theme. Standouts included the comedic approach taken in the the fruit character maze game, Re-Pear, the sentimental memory search game titled Recollection and Sanctuary of Symphony, which uses natural elements and song to “repair the palace as well as your mind.” All of these games and more can be searched by name and are available to play on the Global Game Jam website. Be sure to check them out and support the community’s student creators!
List of games created at the Northeastern location during Global Game Jam 2020 (trailers available here):
Game Machine Broke
Fix My Mess
Sanctuary of Symphony
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