GGJ Archives 2009-2012

GGJ talk at American University in Cairo


I recently gave a talk on Global Game Jam at AUCin Egypt. Their School of Science and Engineering facilities are located at their brand new Campus in New Cairo. The campus, which opened only in 2008 has breathtakingly beautiful architecture. Their Computer Science and Engineering program is one of only two such ABET accredited programs in Africa. I talked to the department head, as well as a couple of professors before giving the talk.

It's clear they have the talent in the department as evident by their many high placements in international programming competitions. However, the whole idea of game programming was rather new to them. Like many CS departments, they have no classes specifically on games (in the sense of entertainment). As can be expected though, many of the students play games and are knowledgable about latest titles and releases. The students who showed up to the talk were fascinated with the whole idea of a Game Jam and asked very good questions. I urged them to form a local jam and join us, which they are thinking about. The faculty were also excited about the sheer scale of the GGJ 2010.

I fear, however, this may have been too overwhelming for a department with little gaming experience. We barely had 75 Jam Sites when I gave the talk and we are at 118 at the moment. This was the same vibe I got when I contacted several other Middle Eastern and African Universities, inviting them to participate. Even though GGJ is not a competition, and not meant to be one, people can't help but feel some pressure to "get it right," especially the ones new to game programming. In any case, I hope they do join us for this invaluable experience. It's certainly not too late to sign up right now.

Hat tip to AUC alumnus Professor Magy Seif El-Nasr of SFU who helped me set up the meeting.


Global Game Jam is about fun and collaboration

We have similar challenges in our region as it is our first year. We are not representing one campus but rather a community of several universities/post secondary institutions who offer training directly or indirectly related to media and gaming. As well, we have quite a number of independent game developers who build games but mostly because they love it but aren't always given kudos or rewards.

Our event is not connected to any academic programs, more just getting the community to find each other.

That's the beauty of this event; Bringing people together for creativity and experimentation.


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