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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Participants in the Global Game Jam at UW-Madison split into teams and work out ideas for their video game, which they have 48 hours to complete, in the UW-Madison Game Lab. The theme for the 2023 Global Game Jam was “roots.”

UW-Madison students compete in 2023 Global Game Jam

Students in small groups worked together for 48 hours to develop their own video games for a worldwide competition.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Game Lab hosted a group of students who competed in the 2023 Global Game Jam this weekend.

The 2023 Global Game Jam allows students with an interest in game design to come together for one weekend to work toward creating a video game based on the theme “Roots,” as in the part of a plant that keeps it grounded.

A group of video game developers released this year's theme; participants then had 48 hours to complete their game and prepare a presentation. The winners of the competition, soon to be announced, get to have their game released for the public to play. 

During the competition participants developed their design skills, time management skills and were able to create new friends along the way.

Roughly 13 students from UW-Madison participated this year, but there were thousands of participants worldwide, according to Krista-Lee Malone, the coordinator of UW-Madison’s Game Lab.

Jeremy Ryan, a software developer at Epic, is the individual responsible for bringing the Global Game Jam to UW-Madison. He brought the idea to Malone because of the positive experiences he had competing. Together, they created a space on campus for students to participate in the Game Jam.

“I credit my ability to make software under pressure to Game Jam experiences,” Ryan said, reflecting back on his own experiences of past Game Jams.

Malone compared the Game Jam to “a crash course in teamwork, communication organization and constrained creativity.” She explained that the competition “creates an intense but fruitful learning experience.”

“Many of the students here are pursuing a game design certificate, so this is great practice for them,” Malone said.

David Li, a junior at UW-Madison, sought out this opportunity to meet others with a similar interest, among other factors. 

“I wanted game design experience and to meet people who are interested in game design as well,” said Li. “There is a low risk and the possibility of a large reward for a small time commitment.” 

Participants worked in small groups to develop their games.

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“I made new friends, gained experience in game design and made a new project for my portfolio,” Li said.

While it has not been confirmed that the Global Game Jam will become an annual gathering at the university, this year's event was considered a success according to students and staff involved.

Students interested in game design can check out UW-Madison’s Game Lab website for more information about how to get involved. 

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