Global Game Jam challenges students in Halifax to design video game in 48 hours

Click to play video: 'Global Game Jam competition in Halifax challenges gaming developers'
Global Game Jam competition in Halifax challenges gaming developers
The world’s largest game creation event finished off its last day in Halifax. Global Game Jam hosted its first ever event in Atlantic Canada this year. Vanessa Wright has the story – Feb 5, 2023

Global Game Jam, the world’s largest game creation event, wrapped up its first-ever event in Atlantic Canada this weekend.

The 48-hour event is an ultimate challenge that puts computer skills to the test. Students of all ages are tasked with designing and developing a video game from scratch.

“It’s really a test of what it is that you’re capable of, and what it is that you’re able to inspire with other people and make things work,” said Christopher Edgett, a Dalhousie University computer science student, who took part in the challenge.

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The event was hosted at Dalhousie University in Halifax by the computer science facility. The goal was to help students build skills they never knew they had, through educational opportunities to learn computer design.

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“It’s really about opening the doors to them about pursuing computer science as a possibility for them,” said Emily Fenton of Shiftkey Labs, which partnered with Dalhousie to put on the event.

“Gaming is one of the things that they’re pretty much all familiar with,” Fenton said. “Giving them the tools so they can build those games themselves is a really cool introduction into computer science, … into coding and programming.”

Click to play video: 'STEM Apprenticeship Program'
STEM Apprenticeship Program

The event was also used as a way to promote diversity and inclusion by encouraging students of all groups to learn more about their capabilities.

“A lot of the time, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or STEM, doesn’t have the best parity between multiple genders and across different races,” said Rina Wehbe, an assistant professor at Dalhousie.

“We want people to know that no matter who you are, where you are, you can come out here and jam with us. It’s supposed to be an inclusive and safe space.”

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Mellat Mafei, a participant in the event, said the challenge definitely ignited interest in game development.

“I guess I thought people who do game development look like a specific way, so it never felt like something that I think I connected myself to, but from the first Game Jam that I went to, I realized like that’s not the case,” Mafei said.

Organizers hope to return next year with an even larger competition.

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