Photo By: Florian Olivo from Unsplash

Students and alumni of game design programs are gearing up for this year’s Global Game Jam, a 48-hour game production competition hosted virtually by Niagara College.

The Global Game Jam brings together individuals from all around the world to create games in response to a single challenge. This year, around 160 sites from over 100 countries are expected to participate. Niagara College will be an official site for Global Game Jam for the seventh year in a row. 

Prior to the pandemic, the event would invite students and alumni to the College’s Welland Campus to develop a video game over the course of one weekend (48 hours). However, the 2022 event, like the one held last year, will be held virtually. This year’s theme of the competition is duality.

This year’s Game Jam will last three days, from Jan. 28 to 30, and will be hosted on Discord, a gaming-focused instant messaging and digital distribution platform. The first day will include introductions, an explanation keynote, and the start of some of the creative processes. The next day, production will officially begin, and the majority of the game should be finished by the end of the day. If teams need more time to finish their games, they can do so in the hours before the final presentation on the following day, Jan. 30. Participants will upload their games to the Game Jam website on the third and final day, followed by final presentations of the games by their developers to close the competition. As the competition is done in the spirit of collaboration, no winner will be announced.

Registration for the event is free and will take place through Eventbrite. Upon registration, a link to the Discord server will be sent to each participant. Each team will have its own Discord text and voice channel, but because the competition is about cooperation, no channels will be private, allowing teams to communicate and collaborate. If there is a problem, there will be a volunteer channel where competitors may seek assistance or report any misuse of the online format.

Beyond the competition, there is potential for students to engage with game design in a more expansive way. Niagara College, in collaboration with Brock University, provides two dual-credential game programs for students interested in studying game design academically. 

The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Game Design offers a four-year Bachelor of Arts-Game Design degree from Brock as well as a three-year Advanced Diploma in game development from Niagara College, and the Bachelor of Science (Honours) in game programming program offers a four-year degree from Brock as well as a three-year Advanced Diploma in game development from Niagara College.

Students who desire to participate in this year’s competition are encouraged to get their tickets on Eventbrite as early as possible. Questions about the event can also be directed to the event organizers through Eventbrite. Those who are interested in volunteering, sponsoring, or otherwise assisting in the event are encouraged to reach out via email at [email protected].