Feature: 'Global Game Jam 2009: A Worldwide Report'

In this feature, Gamasutra goes behind the scenes at the inaugural Global Game Jam 2009, which saw 1650 developers creating an astounding 370 ga
With so many participants scattered over 53 different locations, extraordinary problems were bound to arise at some of the events, as Ian Schreiber, one of GGJ's organizers, shares: "'In Charlotte, first the number of participants swelled from the pre-registered 21 to 48; then a radioactive fire broke out in the same building during their first night. They were evacuated from the building into the freezing cold outside and then relocated. But it didn't slow them down, they kept pitching in the cold till they made it back inside,' according to Schrieber. 'Ottawa had its registration numbers reduced by almost half due to the combination of inclement weather and a bus strike. In Ankara, a site organizer walked around every few minutes reminding people to save their work in case of power failure.' 'Earlier in the day, someone plugged in a broken kettle and blew the power of the entire building, bringing things to a halt for 15 minutes, but no work was lost,' he says. Despite the extra challenges in some sites, and the effort required of participants and organizers alike, all the GGJ succeeded in producing games." Game writer and designer describes the standout games and experiences from several Global Game Jam locations, providing a glimpse of the overall event from countries such as Ireland, New Zealand, and here, Canada: "Dr. Magy Seif El-Nasr, Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University, was the last site organizer in the last time zone. Her reason for taking up the GGJ administration challenge? '[GGJ organizer Susan Gold] told me to,' she says. 'Seriously, though, I have been trying to get students and industry designers together for some time to have them give talks, etc. But what a better way than to get them together in one event where they all make games!' El-Nasr's location may have helped a novice break into the local industry as well: 'A professional traditional animator (and the only woman participating in our event) came to the jam to learn about the process of game design.' 'She joined a group who were quick to realize her talent and devised the game to maximize the art aspect of it. This relationship grew as the jam progressed, and in the end, she gained a lot of experience and possible job leads and offers.'" You can read the full feature, which looks at the organizational efforts that launched the Global Game Jam, as well as accounts from more GGJ locations like South Africa and Venezuela (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

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