Game Jam Central: Calendar of Upcoming Events

What's a Game Jam?

Every jam is a little different, but in general, it's an opportunity for a diverse set of game developers to come together in one place and make game prototypes during a 24-48 hour time window. Most jams cater to all skill levels. Teams of 4-6 members are usually randomly chosen at the start of the jam in a way that insures that each team has at least one experienced programmer and one artist.

In general, you can choose the development environment you want to work with (Flash, C#, Unity, C++, Java,...) and game ideas are constrained by a theme that's usually announced the day of the competition to prevent participants from planning too much in advance. While some jams will give awards for the favorite games, you shouldn't think of a jam as a competition. It's an environment where everyone wants everyone else to succeed.

In short, if you want to participate, there's no need to do any advance planning. In fact, it's discouraged. Just show up with a computer and get ready to have some fun.

Can you really build a game in 24-48 hours? There are dozens of game jams every year, collectively producing thousands of prototypes. If you get a motivated team, you'd be shocked at what you can do in such a short time.

With such strict time constraints, there may be times when a game engine just doesn't come together during the alloted time. But of the 20+ teams that I've seen in the past, everyone always at least had something to show at the end of the weekend. And if you do fail, it can still be a valuable learning experience. It's far better to learn a harsh lesson about team dynamics, time management or game engine construction during a 48-hour jam than it is to learn the same tragic lesson after months or years of development.

Upcoming game jams

Regularly scheduled jams

Other major events

Previous game jams

Is something missing our out of date? If you know of an upcoming game jam that isn't listed here, send me details at This website is run by Rob Jagnow of Lazy 8 Studios, one of the guys behind Cogs and Extrasolar.
Game Jam Central: Calendar of Upcoming Events
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