Welcome to the Jam
Calgary developers get ready for the world’s biggest game creation event
Bigoa Machar, Arts Editor
Here in Calgary, designers and writers will meet on the Mount Royal University campus to work together and brainstorm ideas and concepts for new video games. Craig Pfau, one of the leaders of Calgary’s Global Game Jam group, says that he’s excited to see what creative aspects are brought to the table this year.
“It’s not a competition at all. Some sites do have prizes, but the Calgary group doesn’t,” says Pfau. “It’s more formal than other game creation events like Ludumdare.”
Every year the Global Game Jam has a certain theme, which isn’t revealed until the day of the event. Because of time zone restrictions, Pfau says he and the rest of the gamers try their best to avoid spoilers.
“We find out what the theme is at 7:00 PM in our local time zone,” Pfau says. “When we find out here, we don’t want to post on social media here or else we’ll ruin it for those in Hawaii.”
No time is wasted once the theme is announced across the world.
“When the theme is revealed, we have people form groups and try to form ideas and then form new groups to build on those ideas,” says Pfau. “We have representatives from those groups explain what their idea is.”
Pfau says after this explanation, members can shuffle around and find a new group that they think has the best idea.
“Each group goes to a different study room and they have all their stuff in there and start working away,” says Pfau. “Some groups even choose to sleep in their given area.”
Pfau says that the event serves as a good way for those passionate about video games to come together and do what they love to do.
“Really anyone can participate. It doesn’t matter what kind of skills you have. We get lots of artists from ACAD and programmers from U of C and Mount Royal,” says Pfau. “Really, all of the schools are involved. The only requirement we have is that you be over 18.”
Giselle Rosman, executive producer of Global Game Jam 2016, says she hopes the event can promote creativity in indie gaming.
“We hope that Global Game Jam (GGJ) 2016 inspires people to get involved with their local GGJ sites,” says Rosman.
With the continued growth of the video game industry here in Calgary, Pfau says that it’s important to harness that growth and turn it into something positive.
“Everyone has ideas. If you have an idea you’re willing to share, feel free to come out.”
To find out more about Global Game Jam Calgary or about Calgary’s indie video game scene, visit www.calgarygamedevelopers.com.