Game (Jam) On!

Windswept freezing rain and snow, flying manhole covers, an underground explosion (or two) – all the environmental factors players look for in an exciting game were happening “in real life” at NJIT just a few hours before the fifth annual Global Game Jam was supposed to start on campus late Friday afternoon, January 25. Without power in the School of Art + Design labs, a new venue had to be quickly found for the more than ninety participants who expected to create games (and not be in one). The opening session and announcement of the 2013 theme was moved to the Ballroom at the Campus Center, and the “jammers” who were going to have 48 (consecutive) hours to create working games, were given exclusive use of a pair of labs in the Guttenberg Information Technologies Center – home to the Information Technology program in the College of Computing Sciences.

For the third consecutive year, NJIT hosted one of the international sites for the 2013 Global Game Jam. The event represents a successful collaboration between the Digital Design program in the School of Art + Design and the Information Technology program in the College of Computing Sciences, as students form multidisciplinary teams at the start of the event to produce games.

NJIT, the 43rd largest site in the world, attracted 93 jammers and was the 15th largest in the United States, and the 6th largest hosted by any public school or university. Included in the group of students were visiting professionals and seven faculty members – five from the School of Art + Design and two from Information Technology. Assistant Professor Andrzej Zarzycki representing the Digital Design program coordinated NJIT’s efforts and was assisted by Lecturer Marc Sequeira of the Information Technology program. Also participating were Adjuncts Brad Chun and Kunal Majmudar from Digital Design and Eric Nersesian from Information Technology. Lecturer Augustus Wendell and Assistant Professor Taro Narahara, both from Digital Design also participated. Logistic support was provided by Associate Provost for Information Services & Technology and CIO David Ullman, and Director of the School of Art + Design Glenn Goldman.

Working with the theme, sound of a heartbeat, NJIT’s teams created 11 games for various platforms and with different typologies. Among the projects were point-and-click sequential, first person shooter, slide-scroller, and platformer games for Windows, Windows Phone, iPad/iPhone, and Android devices. Each team presented its game to the group at the conclusion of the Game Jam. These games included “All-Nighter,” a Windows game created by the three-person team  of Jonathan Martin (Cinnaminson, NJ) and Kenneth Schlatmann (Toms River) of Digital Design and Jacob Moorman (Somerset, NJ) from Information Technology, in which the player kept his or her heart healthy by balancing energy, hunger, thirst, and other bodily functions against the work that had to be done. Other games included “Identity,” a point-and-click game in which players investigate a murder, “Right-Handed Heart,” a top-down shooter game in search of a rare heart, “Heart of the Ship,” a 3D game in which the player has to traverse blood vessels and attack a viral infestation, and others.


Images (from top to bottom):

Third year DD student Elvin Padilla and fourth year DD students Rachel Corres, and Danielle Esmaya (all seated) and with the guitar is IT students Louis Arcilla
Lil Phobias, 2D characters by Rachel Corres
All Nighter Presentation, Jon Martin, Ken Schlattman, Jacob Moorman