There are plenty of Game jams to pick and choose from in the Nordic. GameChangerGameJam (GCGJ) isn’t quite like the rest, though, and for Jonas Klemmensen, the facilitator and founder of the event, it was important that the theme of GCGJ 2014 would break with the comfort zone of traditional game jams.
2014 marked the first year for the Aarhus-based Game Changer Game Jam. It was kicked off on May 2nd in a room full of 65 excited students, indie developers, game companies, and other people just wanting to connect with game design, and when the game jam ended on May 4th, 12 game changing games had been created.
Justice was the theme that the 65 game developers had to dive into, and it clearly illustrates the serious, yet playful, question that surrounded this year’s GCGJ: What type of games would Gandhi or Einstein have created if they had been game developers – as Jonas Klemmensen explains to NordicGameBits: ” We wanted to challenge people not on their design choices or storytelling skills but on their believes, and that’s what sets GCGJ apart from other game jams”.
A good Game Jam theme is concrete enough that it gives you ideas, but abstract enough that it is open to as many varied interpretations as possible.
While imagining Gandhi and Einstein as game developers might be an idea for a game in its own right, Klemmensen went on to explain that “Games are snap shots of our creative spirits in a specific time when we choose to engage with it and by such there is no answer to the question about what games Gandhi or Einstein would have created, however interesting it is.”.
When the 48 game-jamming-hours had passed, all 12 games were evaluated by a jury consisting of Mikkel Lodahl from Dania Games, and Ryan Green, creator of “That Dragon Cancer“. While the jury had their favorite, every game received a written feedback, as learning and knowledge-sharing was at the very core of GCGJ 2014 “winning a game jam shouldn’t be the goal even though it might seem like it is. The journey and experience is the real treasure since quality is always subjective.”, Jonas explains.
As a final note, Jonas Klemmensen revealed that a 2015-version of the Game Jam is indeed in the making, and as 2015 is still a long way down the road, he recommended watching the GCGJ 2014 documentary to ease the waiting time.