With an unlimited supply of coffee at the ready, participants in the first New Hampshire Game Jam will have 36 hours to develop a game — from scratch.
“It’s a blast of creativity based around gaming,” said Mike Taylor, the lead organizer for the event.
The ABI Innovation Hub and the Manchester-based board game and app developer Games By Play Date are inviting regional game developers, designers, artists and anyone who wants to tap into their creative side to the state’s first Game Jam. Taylor and Glenn Given, founder of Games By Play Date and HippoPress production manager, said participants will compete for 36 straight hours to build the best game beginning Friday, May 10, at 6 p.m. at the ABI in Manchester.
Given and Taylor are essentially taking the same approach as New Hampshire’s 48-Hour Film Project, in which participants have 48 hours to produce a film. It is technically a competition, but Given and Taylor said they are hoping more to just get the creative juices flowing in the Queen City. Participants, who will be given a theme to work with, are encouraged to create analog games, such as board and card games, as well as digital games.
“I think we’re more interested in the process than the result,” Taylor said.
After the 36 hours, participants will be judged by a panel, with winners to be announced Sunday, May 12. Game prototypes of all participating analog games will be printed by Hippo Prints.
The variety of games on the market is staggering. There are games involving shooting demons and there are games involving criss-crossing train tracks, as well as a plethora of farming games, Given and Taylor said.
Given said he believes Manchester has a creative core that just needs to be exposed. Many times, people have ideas but they think they don’t have the resources to do anything with them. This competition is providing a venue and an environment to turn ideas into realities.
“Everybody has an idea,” Given said. “It’s time to do it.”
Building a game is a form of expression, similar to writing a book or creating a work of art, Given said.
“There’s something unique going on when you make a game,” Given said.
Taylor said there are tool suites that make it possible for people with little knowledge of how to build games to get involved in the design process.
Taylor said participants are going to be with other creative folks who are going to want to work with others. While Taylor said he’s sure his game will be better than Given’s, he’s also sure they’ll be helping each other during the process. It’s a chance for people to come together, exchange ideas, exchange expertise, and probably share a cup of coffee.
So far, the Game Jam has drawn a good bit of interest.
“People seem to think it’s a universally neat idea and they want to take part,” Given said.