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Creative Arts & Technology Division Hosts Global Game Jam 2016

By:  Office of Institutional Advancement                                              communications@bloomfield.edu

Bloomfield College was an official site for Global Game Jam 2016, an international event where locations all over the world make games within only 48 hours. On Friday, January 29, participants around the world respectively gathered at 5pm local time for the annual revelation of the surprise theme. This year’s prompt was to create something that incorporates the idea of “ritual.” Organized by Creative Arts & Technology faculty members Brian S. Chung and GJ Lee, with support from the student-led Game Development Club, participants quickly took over the Library Learning Hub, using whiteboards, laptops, monitors, projectors, and makeshift board game prototypes to brainstorm and communicate their ideas to each other. Teams were formed, largely with participants who have never worked together before.

Chung explained that while the premise may seem daunting to a newcomer at first, it really is about reducing barrier to entry. “Setting such extreme design constraints is one of the best ways to learn to do something that can often be very difficult otherwise. It emphasizes collaboration, and building up a community together.” Chung continued, “Events like this reinforce what we teach in the first place. To design around constraints, take creative risks, and regardless of success or failure, to show and share what you’ve made and what you’ve learned.”

GJ Lee added, “Game jams break misconceptions people may have about games and game creation. It’s not about being specialized, experienced, or technology driven. Game design is inclusive, experimental, and interdisciplinary,” said Lee. “This is why it is so important to bring events like Global Game Jam to the college, not just for students and alumni, but the local creative community.”

The event welcomed almost 40 students, alumni, and members of the public to collaborate and create games over the weekend. For many, this was a first-time experience with making games. “This being my first game jam ever, I was not sure what to expect. I loved how quickly and effortlessly we all came together to work on a single goal. The community was just awesome that way,” said Ray Rivera ’08.  

The event concluded on Sunday, January 31, with teams presenting and showcasing their creations for the public to play. Included were a handmade tabletop game, comprised of balsa wood, wooden dice, fake blood, and a skeleton; a game using hardware that allows people to play with their feet; a basketball-themed rhythm game that featured a handmade controller; and many more unique projects. “It brought me back to why I wanted to break into game design,” said John Landi '17, president of the Game Development Club. “We overcame challenges as a group, I’ll never forget the connections we made during the jam.” Other members of the club agreed, and have begun planning for similar events in the future. For next year’s Global Game Jam, professors Chung and Lee are looking forward to utilizing the collaborative workspaces featured in the new Center for Technology + Creativity.

Click here to see photos from the event.