Lutes @ Finnish Game Jam 2015

During the fourth weekend of January, the game event ”Finnish Game Jam” was organized for the sixth time as a part of the international Global Game Jam. The main point of this event is to gather people who are interested in game development from around the world to participate in a challenge to develop  games around a given theme within 48 hours. It is allowed to participate alone or in a team (you can come with a team or form one at the venue). In Finland this event was organized in 15 different venues which included the basement of the Student Union house in Lappeenranta. In Lappeenranta there were approximately 50 participants this year.  LUTES visited this event to see what is really going on…

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It all started on Friday the 23rd at approximately 5.30 PM with introduction videos provided by the organizers of both Finnish and Global Game Jams. These videos included motivational speeches from people who had successfully attempted these events during previous years and all kinds of ideas to be taken in consideration while creating these games. The most important thing at this point –however- was the revealing of this years theme. The theme of the global game jam 2015 was something as cryptic as ”What do we do now?” which gave the participants rather free hands to design pretty much anything they wanted. As the theme was revealed and the videos ended, people immediately started to intensively work on their games and as someone who is not really familiar I found keeping up with the process really challenging.

On Saturday  afternoon, we came back to see the progress of the teams and to interview some of the teams. We were positively surprised to see that people really open heartedly told us about the ideas of their games and their backgrounds. It appeared that most of the participants had an IT background (naturally) and most of them studied IT in LUT.  We were surprised to see that even some freshmen teams participated the event. Some of the participants also had been coding as a hobby or job long before studying  it in university.

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We interviewed the teams about the theme of the year and found out that people actually enjoyed the freedom to invent a lot but also found it somewhat challenging. The theme ensured that the scope of different games would be really large and it was. The format, nature, ideas and the graphics of these games were really variable.

As LUTES members we were naturally interested to see whether the participants were also interested about entrepreneurship in gaming business and fortunately we may say that most of them were more or less interested about it and some of them already had their own business.

On Sunday at approximately 5 pm. the creation process ended and it was time to present the results of this 48 hour marathon. It was astonishing to see how much the teams were actually able to do within such a short period of time. The games varied from puzzle type of games to snake games, sidescrollers and even a tamagochi-like game about taking care of a ”nerd” as he is coding were presented to us. As people who are not so keen on the technical part of games but who however play them actively, we can say that atleast some of the games presented to us have potential to become the next Angry Birds or Supercell’s Clash of Clans. What is the difference between the games that remain as ”underground projects” and the ones that become famous cash cows such as those Angry Birds, still remains a mystery for us in LUTES to find out…

As a whole, Finnish Game Jam 2015 left a really positive picture for us and during the times we visited the basement, the ambiance was relaxed but intense and co-operative. Hopefully next year we will see even more of these awesome games and perhaps even some board games which this were absent this year (yes, it is actually possible to participate with a board game).

-Jennika & Artturi

 

More about the event:

Global Game Jam –official page: http://globalgamejam.org/

Finnish Game Jam: http://www.finnishgamejam.com/

FGJ Lappeenranta ’15: You can try the games here:
http://globalgamejam.org/2015/jam-sites/fgj-lappeenranta/games