Let’s (game) jam!

Posted by: Julie Ryu


The Playable Innovative Technologies Lab and Northeastern University hosted the Global Game Jam on the weekend of January 25th at the Digital Media Commons in Snell Library. The Global Game Jam, an annual game creation event that fosters the creation and development of innovative game concepts while encouraging collaboration between game makers, brought together more than 30 students to showcase their original work. With a goal of uniting game makers to create original video and non-digital games unified by a single theme, the Game Jam challenged participants to experiment and think creatively during the brief time span of 48 hours to create a game.

The Global Game Jam at Northeastern was organized by Casper Harteveld, Assistant Professor of Game Design.

At the opening of the event on Friday, the theme of “heartbeat” was introduced to the participants. Teams brainstormed games with PLAIT faculty on Friday evening, worked on creating the game on Saturday and Sunday, and presented their final products on Sunday evening.

Created games included Jarheart, created by Noah Senzle, Chris O’Grady, Nate Hahn, Matthew Coleman, Noah Manning, Will Herbert, and Colby Dame, an action game that puts the player in control of a character with a lantern with the objective to find and eliminate enemies on the map. Although the action games with similar objectives have been created before, Jarheart’s unique twist is that the character’s lantern is the only light source for the player.

Other games included Heart of the Mountain, a stealth game created by Brett Apitz, Jessie Contour, Elliot Franford, and Jesse Stern, with the objective to collect acorns before the sunrise; Thrall, in which the goal is to navigate through villages without killing the inhabitants and ultimately defeat the head monster; and The Witching Meow-er, created by Harrison Lanvin and Luke Berry, a 2D game in which the player is a cat with nine lives with the objective to rescue the witch, the cat’s owner.

On Sunday evening, Game Jam presented the game makers with awards for Best Game Design and Most Innovative Game, judged by PLAIT faculty, Magy Seif El-Nasr, Anders Drachen, Alessadnro Canossa, and Gillian Smith. The Most Innovative Game Award was presented to Thrall and its creator Reed Lockwood, a junior Computer Science and Game Design student. He utilized the theme of “heartbeat” by making it a key component in the character’s life level. Lockwood also used the characters “@”, “%”, and “i” to represent the main player, the wrath, and the villagers, respectively.

The jury awarded Best Game Design to DunGenerations by Brian Soulliard, a game that centers around a village terrorized by an evil monster that lives in a cave on the outskirts of the village. The player plays as a member of an old family, going through the cave to defeat the dark creature, evading monsters that attack in each of the rooms in the cave. The underlying theme of the game involved parental sacrifice and the intimidate relationship between generations, especially between a mother and child. Brian was unfazed with the process of working alone and believed that working alone allowed him to fully develop his vision.

In addition to being available online, some of the games will be available to play on a computer in the Hub in Snell Library later this term, watch here for an update, and get playing some games–it’s for schoolwork!!


Posted in: Library News and Events

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