Two Decades of Game Jams

Lai, Gorm; Kultima, Annakaisa; Khosmood, Foaad; Pirker, Johanna; Fowler, Allan; Vecchi, Ilaria; Latham, William and Leymarie, Frederic Fol. 2021. 'Two Decades of Game Jams'. In: ICGJ 2021: Sixth Annual International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons, and Game Creation Events. Montreal, Canada 2 August 2021. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

In less than a year's time, March 2022 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the first documented game jam, the Indie Game Jam, which took place in Oakland, California in 2002. Initially, game jams were widely seen as frivolous activities. Since then, they have taken the world by storm. Game jams have not only become part of the day-to-day process of many game developers, but jams are also used for activist purposes, for learning and teaching, as part of the experience economy, for making commercial prototypes that gamers can vote on, and more. Beyond surveying game jams and the relevant published scientific literature from the last two decades, this paper has several additional contributions. It builds a history of game jams, and proposes two different taxonomies of game jams - a historical and a categorical. In addition, it discusses the definition of game jam and identifies the most active research areas within the game jam community such as the interplay and development with local communities, the study and analysis of game jammers and organisers, and works that bring a critical look on game jams.

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Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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This work was funded in part by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games & Game Intelligence (IGGI) EP/L015846/1.


game jams, global game jam, game development, review, taxonomy, participatory design, hackathons

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23 June 2021Accepted
2 August 2021Published

Event Location:

Montreal, Canada

Date range:

2 August 2021

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Date Deposited:

28 Oct 2021 09:17

Last Modified:

29 Oct 2021 13:54


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