Kent State Hosts Global Game Jam

Students participating in the 12 annual Global Game Jam watch a video about what the event intails on Jan. 31, 2020. Students were reminded to have fun, sleep, and take breaks in the video.

Dylan Bowers

Laughter and a lackadaisical vibe, filled the room a sign of comfortability and genuine camaraderie amongst the gamers as each team showed off the game they created in a mere 48 hours.

Kent State hosted its second Global Game Jam Friday through Sunday at the Kent State University Library, where a dozen teams consisting of artists, animators, coders, testers and programmers united to build on the basis of creativity.

“The beauty of Game Jam sites is you’re next to all these other people making games,” said Jeremiah Heck, the vice president of Kent State’s Animation & Game Design Club. “You’re learning from each other and you’re watching other people work. You’re learning how to do your work better.”

Heck added the weekend was a success from his standpoint, seeing the community built with the gamers.

“We made games, some pretty impressive stuff. A lot of people that aren’t used to making games showed up and they made games,” Heck said.

Students feel the best concept that comes from the Global Game Jam is the experience that comes with participating, both good and bad.

“It’s really good for experience; finding out how to make a game and building your confidence level,” said Stephen DiGiacomo, a junior engineering technology major.

DiGiacomo, a Game Jam veteran, hinted that the finished product is a part of the experience that helps boost confidence.

“Being able to make the assets and seeing them all come together,” DiGiacomo said.

Junior engineering technology major Jennifer Na participated in last year’s Game Jam, with similar end results in both years.

“Last year, we made a game but it wasn’t able to function, so I was hoping to make a real game that worked this year,” Na said.

Na’s team dealt with some technical difficulties after the buttons were accidentally deleted from her team’s game, taking away a key element to the functionality of the game.

Na’s team didn’t have a backup saved of their game, so once the buttons were deleted, the team had to patch things up from the setback. 

Students created games as simple as Talk 2 Me, a game where players roll a dice and each number generates a different response, to The Skate Escape, where players can use a Wii Fit balance board to control the skater squirrel’s movements.

According to the Global Game Jam’s official website, there were 71 registered members and the games designed were Alien Go Home, Be-Bo’s Breakdown, Bucky’s Treehouse Repair, CyberBlade, I Cry, You Fix It, Jamphibian, Quick Fix, Stitch, Repair, Revive, System Scrappers, Talk 2 Me, The Handyman, What’s Your Number? and The Skate Escape.

Students were able to use the Global Game Jam as not only a learning experience, but a way to expand their networks as they collaborated with others who share the same passion for digital media, software development and design.

Dylan Bowers covers tech. He can be reached at [email protected].