From the 31st of January until the 2nd of February 2020, several officially designated locations across Wales will be taking part in the worlds biggest game jam known as the annual Global Game Jam or GGJ2020. A game jam is typically a 24-72 hour physical event where games developers of all levels of abilities and ages may meet up, socialise and make video games based on a given theme. Some events allow you to stay over night while others will have you go home and come back the following morning, depending on the rules of the venue.
The Global Game Jam is the biggest game jam event in the world, with 860 locations across 113 countries taking part last year over a 48 hour period creating 9,010 games world wide. Games range from paper based card games and character or world design art, to quickly created digital games made using your code of choice. Some people use game jams as a way to test their own skill, as the time frame can take you out of your comfort zone, and you may end up taking on new skills along the way. You will also meet new people with a common interest, and mingle with local professionals keen on taking part.
In the past we have seen games such as Surgeon Simulator, Goat Simulator and Super Hot start as a game jam idea, so who knows, you could end up making something that could go on to sell millions.
In Wales this year, Wrexham Glyndŵr University returns with a GGJ site, based at the university’s Centre for Creative Industries in Wrexham LL12 2AW. There will be plenty of experience here, as I have already seen professional games developers say they are attending, as well as the lecturers and students of the university. Wrexham Glyndŵr University has also won several awards in the past for games development, and this year allows ANYONE to join in (under 18s must be accompanied by an adult) with free entry. Out of the locations available, I would think this to be the best equipped for this event. Click here for more info and to contact the organisers.
University of South Wales is also taking part in the Global Game Jam 2020 while hosted at The Arcade Vaults, a retro barcade with a creative space on the third floor for games developers and parties (we have hosted a couple of events there for 50+ people). This will be based in Cardiff in the High Street Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BB. As this is based in the capital city of Wales, expect to see many local developers from across South Wales in attendance, as well as members of the Games Wales (collection of Welsh game developers) meet ups which happen every month at the same location so there will be plenty of experience to go around and people to socialise with. The only downside to this is you will need to bring your own equipment. There will be food and drink available at the premises and it is strictly an 18+ entry, with £12 entry fee to cover staffing costs. This is a great location as it is based in the heart of Cardiff near Cardiff Castle. For more info and contact the organisers, click here.
The third location is being held at Aberystwyth University, in the Llandinam Extension, Department of Computer Science in Aberystwyth SY23 3DB. This location is unfortunately only available for university students registered on IMPACs courses with an age restriction of 18+, and you must bring your own food and drink. There is no entry fee and you will have access to the computers used at the university. For more info and contact the organisers, click here.
Thinking about taking part in the Global Game Jam 2020? Let us know on the Welsh Gaming Network Discord and maybe you can meet up with members already signed up!