Game Jam brings together Game Design Students from RIT and University of Paderborn
On Friday, September 18 a group of German students visiting from the University of Paderborn in Germany joined IGM students for a game jam to make games to "help people learn to read so they can read to learn." IGM Professors Gordon Goodman, David Simkins, Ian Schreiber, and Stephen Jacobs organized the game jam and were joined by content experts Eric Glockman-Tondreau from CuriousLearning.org (a global literacy project using tablet technology to provide digital games and apps that help children learn to read in places with no schools or teachers) and Bruce Howlett from Mind4Learning (which is developing games that help adults who are illiterate become proficient readers). Four student teams spent 24 hours making prototype games that ranged from finding words for rap song rhymes to Tetris for words.
Anthony Zalar, a current Game Design and Development student in the combined BS/MS program said that he was very lucky to work with a very talented team with a variety of skills. Zalar stated, “The game jam went beyond my expectations, with us laying out a solid base for a great game. My favorite experience came from working with my team to come up with fun ways we could implement rap/hip hop culture into our game. The idea of the game was to use lyrical battles against famous rappers to teach literacy to young adults.” David Amata, a 4th year Game Design & Development student also added, “This was my first Game Jam that I have taken part in and because of that I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I thought I might be able to take a more advisory role in coming up with game ideas but I soon learned that wouldn't work because all hands are needed on deck to complete a game in that short amount of time. My favorite moment was towards the end when my group's project started to come together and I realized that it was possible to make a game in only 13 hours even if it meant really narrowing one's scope.”
The game jam was part of a larger study abroad program organized by IGM Professor Stephen Jacobs and University of Paderborn faculty member Prof. Jorg Muller-Lietzkow. In the program RIT students also go to Germany for two weeks as part of a class being offered again this spring semester “Seminar in the German Game Industry.” After the game jam the group traveled throughout New York State visiting tourist sites and gaming and interactive media companies including: Rochester based companies Darkwind Media and Workin’man, Albany based companies Vicarious Visions and 1st Playable, and Sesame Workshop and The Natural Museum of American History in-house game design team in New York City.