Today marks the first day of the sixth annual Global Game Jam, in which thou­sands of devel­opers from over fifty coun­tries are expected to par­tic­i­pate in a 48-​​hour design chal­lenge over the coming weekend.

At 5 PM in each time zone, Global Game Jam par­tic­i­pants will be given a theme for this year’s chal­lenge. Past years’ themes have included “the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” (2010) and an image of Ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail (2012). Par­tic­i­pa­tion has surged in the last sev­eral years, growing from 6,500 par­tic­i­pants in 2011 to an expected 17,000 par­tic­i­pants from 66 coun­tries in this year’s jam. It remains one of the most pop­ular game jams in the world.

Global Game Jam co-​​founder and pres­i­dent Susan Gold will be in atten­dance at the jam’s North­eastern Uni­ver­sity loca­tion, where Gold serves as a pro­fessor in game design. A former leader of the Inter­na­tional Game Devel­opers Asso­ci­a­tion (IGDA) and present member of the SIGGRAPH Edu­ca­tion Com­mittee, Gold’s goals when co-​​founding the jam in 2009 (along­side fellow game design edu­ca­tors Ian Schreiber and Gorm Lai) were to create an envi­ron­ment where “any idea has merit,” according to a uni­ver­sity representative.

The GGJ is truly an event where stu­dents have the oppor­tu­nity to gain real-​​life expe­ri­ence,” con­tinued the North­eastern rep­re­sen­ta­tive. “The event [has grown] into an inter­na­tional phe­nom­enon that encour­ages game devel­op­ment, cre­ativity, and col­lab­o­ra­tion, and con­nects game enthu­si­asts of all levels — from pro­fes­sionals to novices.”

Read the article at Gamasutra →