Carnegie Mellon University

Global Game Jam


Global Game Jam

More than a thousand video game enthusiasts scattered across 14 time zones, including a contingent at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), will spend 48 hours building games as part of the first Global Game Jam, Jan. 30 through Feb. 1.

ETCGame-building marathons, known as game jams, have grown in popularity in recent years, but this is the first time that anyone has attempted to use the Internet and its streaming video capabilities to tie together simultaneous jams around the globe. Each jam will begin at 5 p.m. local time Friday Jan. 30, beginning in Dunedin, New Zealand, and continue through 5 p.m. Sunday Feb. 1. Game design themes, constraints and mechanics will be announced at the beginning of the jam, with constraints altered for each time zone to mitigate any advantage of global location.

ETC alumnus Kyle Gabler, developer of the award-winning “World of Goo” game, will be the global event’s keynote speaker. “The next big transformation in gaming won't come from a large game studio with million-dollar teams and marketing budgets,” Gabler said. “It will come from some kid in their bedroom with a few pieces of free software and a never-ending supply of caffeine and motivation. I can't wait to see the scraggly, brilliantly hacked together, beginnings of some of the next great games crawl out of these 48 hours.”

The ETC, at 700 Technology Drive, and the Pittsburgh chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) have partnered to host one of the venues, which is open to any and all comers. Participants from as far away as Cleveland already are confirmed. There is a $10 fee to reserve a seat and defer food costs. For information, see the event’s Web site. The Global Game Jam is an initiative of the IGDA Education Special Interest Group.

Byron Spice