The University of Southampton

Southampton lab becomes video games creation hub for Global Game Jam

Published: 17 February 2020
Developers from Team Zepler Studios demonstrate their egg-pairing platformer, Re:Pair.

Creative teams generated over 20 action-packed games at the University of Southampton as part of the world’s largest game jam.

Around 80 students, alumni and professionals from game studios gathered at Electronics and Computer Science’s (ECS) David Barron Computing Laboratory at the start of February as they joined close to 50,000 developers in over 100 countries taking part in the Global Game Jam.

The teams planned, built and showcased series of video and board games in just 48 hours, with their creations now available to download and play on the Global Game Jam website.

Dr Tom Blount, ECS Research Fellow and Southampton Game Jam co-organiser, says: “The jam is a chance for people to meet, work together, learn new skills and have fun creating something. It isn’t a competition and one of its biggest draws is taking pride and joy in building something to share with others.

“There’s always an interesting mix of games created as a result of the jam but frantic, multiplayer games are always a very popular choice. We had an amazing 23 games submitted this month, which brings our grand total to 156 across the event’s six years.”

This year’s global theme was ‘repair’ and Southampton entries included airship action strategy game Isle of Sky, platformer puzzle Larry the Worm and World War I arcade title Medic!. Point and click special Nuclear BopIt! was voted the 2020 Southampton People’s Choice for its playful take on twisting, tapping and entering passwords to halt a nuclear reactor explosion.

Participants watched a video of keynote speakers from the Global Game Jam on the Friday evening before groups were formed to discuss ideas that could be programmed at pace in the computer labs. Some teams worked through the nights before a Sunday afternoon showcase when everyone could try each other’s games and vote for their favourite.

This year’s teams largely consisted of Southampton Electronics and Computer Science students but also included visitors from the universities of Portsmouth and Bournemouth along with professionals from Climax Studio. In previous years, experts from the Bitmap Bureau, Boss Alien, Freejam and Studio Gobo have also attended.

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