Let the Games Begin! Global Game Jam Comes to Volta

Has there ever been a developer or designer who didn’t want to go into the game industry at some point? Global Game Jam is a worldwide event that encourages the gamer in all of us, allowing teams to create video games, card games and board games in a single weekend. The Game Jam takes place annually, beginning in New Zealand and finishing in Hawaii.

Starting Friday, January 24 at 2:00 p.m. and running until Sunday, January 26 at 3:00 p.m., Volta hosted the Global Game Jam for Halifax. 18 teams participated in game creation, and Halifax had one of the highest participant turnouts at a Game Jam location, landing the Volta Game Jam within the top ten in Canada.

Before the event commenced, ModestTree and UpMyGame presented their open positions to the participants, as both companies are currently seeking to add to their teams. At 5:00 p.m. the Game Jam keynote video was played, highlighting the event’s guidelines and challenges, and featuring advice from game industry professionals. After the video, the global theme for the event was unveiled. This year’s theme focused on individual experience and perception: “We don’t see things as they are; We see them as we are.”

Teams were formed, and the participants planned their game ideas until 8:00 p.m., at which time game creation began. Resources for participants, such as open source engines and toolsets, were available on the Game Jam website. Game building continued throughout the weekend until Sunday, at which time teams were required to upload their game to the Global Game Jam website. Although there were no card games or board games created at Volta’s Game Jam this year, participants and guests were treated to a wide variety of video game presentations on Sunday.

Games ranged from first person adventure to games with changing land and underwater environments to traditional side-scrollers. Participants were excited to receive door prizes, based on a random draw, including a Nexus 7 and gift certificates to iTunes and FutureShop.

Volta would like to thank Saint Mary’s University, which provided ten Raspberry Pi’s for the Game Jam participants to use. Thanks also go to ModestTree and UpMyGame for their contributions.

Thank you to all who participated in Global Game Jam 2014! After an entire weekend of hard work and little sleep, participants had few remaining lives yet were still eager to cross the finish line. Dedication and enthusiasm scores major points here at Volta. We can’t wait to roll the dice next year and see what new games will be created.

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