Game Jams


"The only sounds in the room are soft conversations and the clicks of fingers on keyboards. Someone is curled up in a sleeping bag by the window, another has their head bent over their desk. At this point, some of the people in the room have been present for almost 36 hours, putting every ounce of effort into designing and creating a unique video game... How does a group design a video game in just two days? "
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49er Game Jam

(Spring & Fall Semester)

Creativity - Curiosity - Collaboration

The 49er Game Jam is a semesterly open collaboration event hosted by us, Game Developers at UNC Charlotte much similar to a relaxed "hackathon" environment. Our mission it to challenge students to create a game based on a one or two-word theme picked randomly in a total of 49 hours in a diverse, inclusive, creative, and enjoyable learning environment. Our next game jam (Spring 2022) is from April 8th to April 10th.

The game jam structure composes of students and peer mentors across many different disciplines such as future artists, psychologists, game designers, programmers, storytellers, writers, musicians, researchers, architects. Alumni are welcome to join our event and typically bring in a lot of insight to students who are just starting.

The structure of our game jam starts with introductions of everyone participating, creating teams, and making sure no one is left behind without a collaborative experience in the beginning of our creative journey.

Typically, in our Fall semester, students are exploring and experimenting new ways to approach and learn game development. During the last hour, teams and present and demonstrate their prototype or fully built game for feedback. In spring semester, however, things get a bit more serious as participants & students receive the opportunity to also play their game with children at our NC Science Festival Expo booth for feedback before final presentations [link].

With a growing amount of interdisciplinary collaboration in our student organization in the past couple years at 49er Game Jams, we've seen amazing things created made in Unity, Game Maker, Unreal Engine, and custom built engines: from simple games that make you laugh to innovative games for education & social good, as well as physical games with IoT devices, lasers, nerf darts, and board games.

Best of all, all the prototype games from our Game Jams are available to play and for you to give feedback on!

Featured 49er Game Jam games demos:

Global Game Jam

(Spring Semester)

The Global Game Jam® (GGJ) is the world's largest game jam event (game creation) taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games – it is very universal. The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. It is all condensed into a 48 hour development cycle. The GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.

The structure of a jam is usually that everyone gathers on Friday late afternoon, watches a short video keynote with advice from leading game developers, and then a secret theme is announced. All sites worldwide are then challenged to make games based on that same theme, with games to be completed by Sunday afternoon. In January 2018, we had 803 locations in 108 countries create 8,606 games in one weekend! GGJ 2019 is January 25-27 at a location near you… if not you can make one of your own. The jam is known for helping foster new friendships, increase confidence and opportunities within the community. The jam is always an intellectual challenge. People are invited to explore new technology tools, trying on new roles in development and testing their skills to do something that requires them to design, develop create, test and make a new game in the time span of 48 hours.

The GGJ stimulates collaboration and is not a competition.

Featured Article:


Featured Global Game Jam Demos: