New Zealand to kick off the Global Game Jam 2012
20 December 2011

The Global Game Jam is a 48-hour event where artists, video game developers and programmers create a video game over just one weekend in January. Held in over 120 locations worldwide including New Zealand, it’s creative, cooperative, chaotic and huge fun.

New Zealand gamers will be the first in the world to kickoff, when the theme for the games is unveiled at 5pm on Friday 27 January 2012 and the teams work flat out until Sunday night.

Game Jams inspire upcoming generations of developers and enthusiasts to come up with new game ideas in small teams in an intense jam session.

Global Game Jam is open to anyone interested in making games including programmers, 2D and 3D artists, designers, animators, sound artists, musicians and board gamers. Experience is not necessary. Local gamers will gather at the Media Design School in Auckland, the University of Waikato in Hamilton and in the office of Digital Confectioners in Christchurch.

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New Zealand Game Developers Association Chairperson Stephen Knightly says you don’t have to be an expert to join in. “Innovation comes from having a mix of people and ideas. There are roles for artists, musicians, writers and game players to layout levels or playtest.”

“It helps if you know games and have some basic knowledge of game development, but the only rule is a willingness to join a team on the night and contribute ideas.”

“On the Friday night you’re given a theme and some constraints and then dive straight in. Sure it’s a tight time frame, but it’s amazing what crazy and surprisingly fun ideas can come out of it.”

The event is now in its fourth year. At the 2011 Jam, 75 local developers produced 15 games around the theme of extinction, ranging from shooters and platformers to role-playing and god games.

The global games industry is worth $90 billion dollars and is the fastest-growing entertainment sector. New Zealand’s games industry grew 46% in the last year and now employs over 360 full time game developers.

The event is organized globally by the International Game Developers Association, the New Zealand Game Developers Association and local volunteers.