The 2011 ARIS Global Game Jam is now officially in the books. Your new high score: 50 new games developed in 50 hours.
That's how many mobile-based games Madison-based participants in last week's event, organized by grad students with the UW School of Education's Games Learning and Society group, created using the GLS-developed ARIS Mobile Editor. Developers at other sites around the world kicked in an additional 77 games, bringing the grand total to 127.
"Storytellers, activists, game designers, government, industry, and education-based participants came together and experimented with a vengeance," says Chris Blakesley, one of the GLS grad students who did the heavy organizational lifting for the event. "This is a new technology that poses a good problem: How do we take advantage of mobile for learning?"
The jam, says Blakesley, is one way to answer the question: "growing an open-source community around mobile location-based games to find out what's possible with the medium."
If the event is any indication, the answer is "a lot." Developers from around the globe used their allotted development time to come up with everything from a Spanish-based botany game to a series of movie/game hybrids. Here in Madtown, a group of Oregon middle-school students put together a game called Henry Vilas Virus, a place-based game in which users use smartphones to scour the Vilas Zoo to determine what's been making the animals sick
Original plans for the jam called for judges at each site to crown a winner and best of show at each jam site, but once organizers realized that not every participant was able to stay around to play and evaluate everyone else's game, organizers opted to just focus on game creation rather than competition.
Several of the games developed this week are posted and available for download at ARIS' website, but the majority still need some refinement before they're fully playable, says Blakesley. Look for the opportunity to test-drive the polished versions at the 2011 Games Learning and Society Conference in Madison, coming up on June 15-17.