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Sixth annual Global Game Jam kicks off around the world

From Gamasutra: Today marks the first day of the sixth annual Global Game Jam, in which thousands of developers from over fifty countries are expected to participate in a 48-hour design challenge over the coming weekend.

At 5 PM in each time zone, Global Game Jam participants will be given a theme for this year’s challenge. Past years’ themes have included “the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” (2010) and an image of Ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail (2012). Participation has surged in the last several years, growing from 6,500 participants in 2011 to an expected 17,000 participants from 66 countries in this year’s jam. It remains one of the most popular game jams in the world.

Global Game Jam co-founder and president Susan Gold will be in attendance at the jam’s Northeastern University location, where Gold serves as a professor in game design. A former leader of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and present member of the SIGGRAPH Education Committee, Gold’s goals when co-founding the jam in 2009 (alongside fellow game design educators Ian Schreiber and Gorm Lai) were to create an environment where “any idea has merit,” according to a university representative.

“The GGJ is truly an event where students have the opportunity to gain real-life experience,” continued the Northeastern representative. “The event [has grown] into an international phenomenon that encourages game development, creativity, and collaboration, and connects game enthusiasts of all levels — from professionals to novices.”

This year’s video keynote addresses will be delivered by Jenova Chen (developer, Journey), Kaho Abe (educator, NYU-Poly) and Richard Lemarchand (educator, University of Southern California). You can find out more about this year’s speakers from the GGJ website.

Lastly, while it’s too late to register your own chapter, if you’re interested in participating in this year’s Global Game Jam there is a good chance you can find a location among the 489 globally registered jam sites. And be sure to follow the jam’s official Twitter hashtag, #GGJ14.

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