Video game creation contest to be held this weekend


Game Jam 2023 will take place in the Student Innovation Center Jan. 27 to 29. Graphic designed by Annie Gulick.

Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to develop a video game in a weekend-long Game Jam competition from Jan. 27 to 29 at the Student Innovation Center (SIC).

The event will begin at 5 p.m. Friday and carry on until noon Sunday.

Game Jam 2023 is an annual event held by Game2Work, a multi-disciplinary research community on campus centered around gaming.

“Game Jams are an event where students can come together to design games,” stated Michael Brown, the event leader and an assistant professor for the School of Education at Iowa State. “They can be in-person, virtual, multi-day or an afternoon. There is no limit to who can attend. We encourage people of all majors to participate.”

Participants are required to register ahead of time either online or at the Student Innovation Center before 6 p.m. Students can sign up in groups or attend individually to be teamed up with others before the event begins.

Working in groups helps participants build team skills and new friendships throughout the event. Each team must work together to make a proposal, and the top proposal will receive funding for further game development.

“We hope students can learn about game mechanics, collaborative design skills and make new connections with peers from across the campus,” Brown stated.

Brown is not the only professor who has a hand in how to work and plan Game Jam. Michael Dorneich, an associate professor for the department of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, and Mitchell Talyat, a junior in software engineering, help with the development of the event.

“We want to help students focus on more educational video games for the campus,” Talyat stated in an email. “It can also be something that gets students interested in playing it and sharing its popularity.”

While some students may be a little disappointed not being able to develop a game similar to popular ones such as “Halo” or “Fallout,” the event is still an opportunity to showcase their skills and share their ideas.

“We have a team of judges with experience in game design and collaborative design,” Dorniech stated. “Students will present their work on Sunday and the winner will be announced Feb. 3.”

Iowa State is not the only spot where Game Jams take place. Other schools, such as Staffordshire University and Taylor University, have also held a Game Jam every year.

“It’s one of most popular events held at universities around the world,” Brown stated. “We did a virtual one in 2021 and got a lot of interest, so we’re excited to offer the program again for students.”

For more information on Game Jam 2023, visit the Game2work website