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Bloomfield College Designs Most Games in NJ During Global Game Jam

Global Game Jam

By Alicia Cook

The last weekend of January marked Bloomfield College’s fourth annual participation in the Global Game Jam (GGJ) event, which sees contestants attempt to create a stand-alone game in just 48 hours. Bloomfield College first hosted Global Jam in 2016.

In the first hour of the event, a theme is revealed. Participants, also known as “jammers,” are then challenged to make games based on that same theme, with games to be completed by Sunday afternoon. This year’s game theme was “What Home Means to You.”

This year, 47,000 people registered at 860 sites in 113 countries. Bloomfield College was New Jersey’s second largest jam site, with 67 participants, including current students, alumni, faculty, students from other colleges and universities, and local professionals. This year, the Bloomfield College site made the most games out of all the GGJ sites in New jersey, with 19 games total

“Global Game Jam is a shared experience that creates meaningful relationships between participants. Our students gain valuable insight from alumni, professionals, and faculty through the experimental and collaborative spirit of the event,” said GJ Lee, Assistant Professor. “We especially like hosting the event because the Center for Technology+Creativity is an inclusive space that supports our growing community of learners and creators.”

Jammers created digital games (video games, mobile games, virtual reality, augmented reality) or non-digital games (board games, card games, physical games, escape room games).

Alumnus Ray Rivera ’08, founder of SkyTank Labs, collaborated with his team of Bloomfield College interns, John Miele (game programming) and Michael Stoess (game design and expanded media), to create “Drive Home”, a driving game where one aims to avoid obstacles and arrive home safely. Also part of the team was animation major Gabriella Collado and composer Austin Blau.

The Center for Technology+Creativity was open to “jammers” for 48 hours to support a diverse range of approaches to the 48-hour constraint. Faculty within the Creative Arts and Technology Division actively promoted healthy resting, eating, and self-care to the participants, many of whom were Bloomfield College students. On Sunday, the event was open to the public, who were encouraged to play many of the games created in the last 48 hours.

According to the Global Game Jam website, the Global Game Jam is the world's largest game jam event (game creation) and takes place around the world at physical locations. The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time explores the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration, or artistic expression. It is condensed into a 48-hour development cycle.

The GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity. The GGJ stimulates collaboration and is not a competition.

The event was supported by the CAT Division and CSLE, and sponsored in part by game development studio The Sheep's Meow. Special thanks to the Game Dev Club for helping run the event.

Last year The Princeton Review released its ninth annual ranking lists naming the best undergraduate and graduate schools for students to study—and launch a career in—game design. Bloomfield College captured the #2 spot in New Jersey and the #44 spot overall on the undergraduate schools list.

View Photos.