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Phoenix developers participate in Global Game Jam

Kyle, left, and Alex Uithoven created E.Y.E.R.I.S. during the Phoenix Global Game Jam.

By Alex Ferri

It took developers 15 years to complete Duke Nukem Forever. Last weekend, teams participating in the Phoenix Global Game Jam had just 48 hours.

Global Game Jam is a worldwide gaming event that tasks developers with creating a game in the span of a weekend. More than 4,000 locations participated this year; Ben Reichert, cofounder of GameCoLab, hosted the Phoenix event.

This was the first year for the Phoenix event, held on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus Jan. 24-26. The University of Advancing Technology in Tempe has held Global Game Jams for the past several years, Reichert said.

“I wanted to try and get ASU and others involved by offering another location,” he said.

More than 100 people signed up for the Global Game Jam between the two locations; 89 at UAT and 47 at ASU.

While not all those who signed up attended, “game jammers” put together eight teams for the Phoenix event. Those teams ranged in size from two to six as well as in experience.

Each team had to fill the roles of programmer, designer, artist and more. Reichert said having a dedicated programmer is ideal, but recent rule changes allowed the creation of tabletop as well as digital games.

None of the teams at this year’s event chose that route, but Reichert said it highlighted how anyone could play a role in making a game.

“Each game plays to the strengths of the teams,” he said.

Most groups worked from the space at ASU the entire time; some even slept there, Reichert said.

The theme of this year’s Global Game Jam, announced just before it began, was “perspective.”

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