2021 - Game Jam 2021

Students are game for saving the planet

Tue, 26 Oct 2021 10:17:00 BST

A series of videogames will be created this weekend during a 48-hour development marathon in a bid to educate players about climate issues and possible solutions.

The Game Jam event has been organised by Glasgow Caledonian University as part of the institution’s COP 26 activity and will take place between 5pm October 29 and 5pm October 31. The best games created during this period will be displayed on campus for visitors to play during a daylong event on November 5.

Students from GCU’s game programmes (BSc Computer Games, BSc Computer Games (Art and Animation), BSc Computer Games (Design) and BSc Computer Games (Software Development) will participate, with a brief to create games that raise awareness of climate change and its effects, or highlight possible solutions to solving or acting on climate change.

They will be joined by students and game enthusiasts from the UK and across the world.

A panel of videogame developers and experts from GCU’s Centre for Climate Justice will join the public and participants to decide the best games.

Game Jams are traditionally held in the Sir Alex Ferguson Library but, due to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, it will take place remotely this time, using a Discord server.

Hamid Homatash, a lecturer across GCU’s games programmes, is organising the event. He said:The Game Jam is needed to show a creative perspective to an issue that is difficult to visual or imagine. It is easy for activists and scientists to state what will happen if we don’t change or act, but it’s very difficult to imagine what that world could look like or feel like.

“Videogames allow us to explore these ideas in a visual and interactive way, provoking emotional experiences in those who play them. These emotional experiences then have a direct impact on those people, and this raises awareness of the possible difficult realities ahead.

“Hopefully, this would help change people’s attitudes that normally wouldn’t be influenced by traditional forms of media. It is also a chance for a younger generation, the students, to think about how the world will change if we do not act, and for them to express their own opinions through this medium.”

Full details of the Game Jam can be found here:  https://itch.io/jam/cop-26-game-jam

Hamid also led a Game Jam for Planeta Debug, an initiative launched by the Sustainable Fashion Employability Skills project. One of the games developed for this project will also be showcased at GCU on November 5.