Phoenix Game Jam Breaks Record with 127 Developers, Winners Going to GDC
We did it again! Arizona game developers gathered for another Global Game Jam, Jan 20-22, to unite under one theme (This year the theme was "Waves") and make a record number of games in 48 hours.
This was the fourth Phoenix Global Game Jam that we've hosted and definitely our largest. In 2014 we had 47 jammers and 9 games, 2015 we had 64 jammers and 12 games, 2016 we had 91 jammers and 21 games, and this year we had 127 jammers and 29 games made! It sure is getting increasingly more difficult to judge the games.
Our theory that game jams are awesome engines of growth for our local game industry is clearly demonstrated with the increasing number of game developers showing up (and the return of regulars), the increasing number of games being made (and being brought to market after refinement), and the increasing number of friendships being made (and companies being founded).
Over the years, jammers have included students from all Phoenix universities with game degrees such as the University of Advancing Technology, Arizona State University, DeVry University and the former Collins College. We also have plenty of professionals and amateur developers, offering great mentoring, networking and talent development/acquisition opportunities.
We encourage everyone from around Arizona and beyond to come and join us for our game jams. This is the second year in a row that Natalie and David from Fancy Fish Games drove down from Flagstaff to make games with fellow Arizonans. We are a supportive and growing community and we welcome all!
The growth of the game jams wouldn't be possible without awesome sponsors. We're super grateful for this year's sponsors, for their monetary and in-kind donations. If you are interested in sponsoring future game jams, or know someone who might be, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's generous sponsors included Clique API, the University of Advancing Technology (UAT), Tobii, the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET), Houdini, Red Bull, and Virtuix.
Jammers developed games for mobile, PC and the HTC Vive virtual reality system. Several of the games incorporated Tobii's eye tracking and Clique's voice technologies. All the games made during the jam can be downloaded and played here: http://globalgamejam.org/2017/jam-sites/phoenix-global-game-jam-2017/games.
Judges for this year's jam included David Boleman, Provost at UAT, Robert Simyar, Founder of ToHeroes Game Studios, and Aby Moore, Co-Founder of Broken Window Studios. With so many fun and engaging games the judging was difficult and close. The winners for this year's jam awards are the following:
The Houdini Award for Best Art went to LIGO Chess
Prize: 1-year indie license to Houdini Indie for each team member
Play the game here (warning, it's a multiplayer virtual reality game for the HTC Vive): http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/ligo-chess
Best Use of Tech by Tobii went to Starsea
Prize: Tobii EyeX hardware
Play the game here (best experienced with a Tobii EyeX eye tracker): http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/starsea
Grand Prize Package from Clique API went to Whiskered Away
Prize: Presence at a GDC Play booth and 2 Expo Passes
Play the game here (you'll need 4 controllers for this game since it's a local multiplayer game for PC): http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/whiskered-away
Whiskered Away will be featured at our booth at GDC Play this March 1st-3rd. If you're planning on attending the Game Developer Conference (GDC) this year, make sure to stop by, say hi and give it a play. :)
Over 36,000 jammers in 702 sites across 95 countries created over 7,000 games, making the Global Game Jam 2017 (#GGJ17) the Biggest Game Jam Ever, and Arizona played it's part. We'll be back again next year with the Phoenix Global Game Jam 2018 running from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 January 2018.
Make sure to put those dates on your calendar and join us to #GetIntoGames!
We're encouraging all Arizona game developers to demo their games at our upcoming Southwest Video Game Showcase. If you're interested in meeting them, or showing off your own games make sure to sign up!
Finally, don't forget that you can support local independent developers by buying their games through our Store page or snagging some awesome gear through our Merch page. ;) #PlayAZ!