How I learned to love game jams

Hi all,

With the Global Game Jam this weekend, I thought I’d mention about how game jams have been incredibly important in developing my skills and in creating networking opportunities. There will be plenty of other articles online telling you why game jams are great to go to so I want to mention about how going to game jams have affected me over a much longer period of time. Each Game Jam I went to, offered key lessons and benefits.

The first game jam I attended was the Global Game Jam in 2012. As a student, the Global Game Jam offered a fantastic excuse to go and network with seasoned veterans of the game development community and it was enlightening to find a much more vibrant gaming community then I initially expected. Working with a team of six, we created a reasonably interesting game called Death Wish Zero and the contacts gained from the event became exceptionally important during the following years and it became much easier to network at subsequent events and the Game Jam was instrumental in gaining me notoriety.

I then attended the Explay Festival Game Jam in the latter quarter of 2012. This Game Jam offered a vastly different main benefit. I worked with an artist and a designer at the games jam and we ended up making a game called Trust Us. The designer and myself particularly enjoyed working together, so much so that we decided to attempt to go in to business together. The business venture ultimately failed when we couldn’t secure the funding for our idea that we needed, but game jams are fantastic opportunities for long term partnerships.

The Global Game Jam in 2013 again offered a vastly different experience. This was the first game jam where I had difficulty in implementing what the team had set out to achieve. Ultimately we ended up having to make a compromised version of what we wanted. There was a great deal of frustration felt afterwards by myself and it gave me fantastic insight about my weaknesses and to allow strategies to be developed to address them.

The last and game jam I went to was the TIGA GameHack that was held last year. It was the first game jam I did with team mates from Opposable Games. What proved really useful with this Game jam is that it allowed each of us to see one another under severe pressure and to fully understand one another skills. From this Game Jam, we made the game jam game I’m probably most proud to have made which was Placenta The Dragon. This offered fantastic validation of both my skills and showed just how skilled everyone else is as well.

Well that’s my story about how game jams have affected me and I hope it inspires others to go to game jams and give it a go! you never know what you’ll get out of it! I should hopefully be doing the game jam this weekend and I hope you do too!

Lukas

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