RVA Game Jams To Combine The Artistic and Digitally Minded This Weekend

by | Jan 22, 2014 | POLITICS

RVA Game Jams will be hosting a Global Game Jam event this weekend. The Global Game Jam is 48-hour team based competition to develop a new video game based off of a secret theme.

RVA Game Jams will be hosting a Global Game Jam event this weekend. The Global Game Jam is 48-hour team based competition to develop a new video game based off of a secret theme.

“Game Jam is a 48-hour, rapid video game development competition, usually held over the course of a weekend. They are meant to be a creative exercise for people interested in becoming game developers, or are current game developers or programmers,” said Lauren Vincelli, Co-Founder of RVA Game Jams. Lauren Vincelli and Will Blanton created the RVA Game Jam community to facilitate a place for independent and aspiring game developers in the Richmond area to come together.

“Basically, a little over a year ago, I was trying to do more video game stuff, and there wasn’t much of a community in Richmond for it,” said Blanton. “I knew a few people who wanted to do it, a few people who kinda wanted to do it, but there wasn’t really a community. It was everybody on their own.”

Now, RVA Game Jams tries to hold an event at least once a month, but, “sometimes it is just a lecture or a meet-up, probably more educational like classes and workshops” said Vincelli.

This is the second time that RVA has held a Global Game Jam. A Global Game Jams is much like normal Game Jams, but larger and more group oriented. “Some jams are kinda solo events, but this one has a pushed team aspect,” stated Blanton. “For example, if you’re an artist, but you don’t know anything about game development, you can help the team by contributing art or music or whatever. This is a much more friendly and more for non-game-developers.”

RVA Game Jams is in collaboration with VCU Arts for this event due to the high amount of positive reception after the last Global Game Jam. Blanton said “Last year, a lot of VCU students attended Global Game Jams. They took their projects back to their teachers and told them about how this was the greatest thing that had ever done. They were happy about it. So, this year we reached out to Pamela Turner and Matt Wallace, and VCU was pretty keen on helping us get this done.”

Faculty members of VCU are equally excited to working with RVA Game Jams. Matt Wallin, Associate Professor of Communication Arts at VCU, wrote in an e-mail “Richmond and the VCU School of the Arts are host to an incredible talent pool for games, design, computer graphics and interactive experiences. It’s our goal with the Global Game Jam to foster a greater sense of community with people from all walks of life who share a common interest in these emerging technologies.”

Special to this years Game Jam is an appearance from guest speaker Zoe Quinn. Quinn is an independent game developer, most known for her game Depression Quest. Depression Quest was the first Twine game to be hosted on Steam Greenlight, which distributes independent developer’s published games.

Both Vincelli and Blanton encouraged those with little to no experience to attend this event. Vincelli assured, “The point entirely of our Game Jams is to help people who have not made a game or who are interested in participating in building a game development community. What we are really keen to do is share knowledge and resources with people. We absolutely do welcome people from all abilities and experiences.”

The Global Game Jam will be held this Friday, January 24th through January 25th. For more information and a chance to sign up to attend, visit www.rvagamejams.com

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

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