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Gamers "jammed" at Miami, creating new video games

02/11/2010

Video game creators around the world united to spend one intense weekend Jan. 29-31 designing games that may potentially become free downloads for game lovers everywhere. Known as Global Game Jam, it took place at locations throughout 35 countries, including at Miami University, which was the only site in the region.

Five teams - each with at least one team member from Miami - consisted of designers, developers, high school students and post-graduate gamers from around the tri-state. Their only guidelines were to use “deception” as the theme and incorporate rain, plains or Spain.

“We had a higher turnout and more diversity than most first-year locations,” said Lindsay Grace, event organizer and Miami assistant professor at the Armstrong Institute of Interactive Media Studies (AIMS). “The participants built computer games from paper prototype to finished marvel in less than 48 hours and didn’t even know the game theme until the event started.”

Miami recently expanded its game studies faculty, offering a major in interactive media and a minor in game studies (co-facilitated by AIMS and computer science faculty). AIMS also sponsors a game design club.

While Game Jam is not a competition, Best in Show at Miami went to “Spaniard in Space,” where the main hero must “scale a large mountain on the icy planet of Pluto and claim it for Spain.” Drew Ritcher, a software engineering major at Miami, was a member of the team. To see all five games, click on games.

Other Miami students who participated are Coolie Callahan, senior architecture major; Daniel Capaccio, senior computer science and interactive media studies major; Brittany Moncrease, senior international studies major and interactive media studies minor; Doug Rice, junior computer science major; Nyawade Sidigu, freshman mechanical engineering major; Scott Spalding, graduate student in computational science and engineering; and Isaac Walker, a sophomore art major.

Miami’s Global Game Jam was sponsored by AIMS, with IT support and the facilities provided by the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

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