This is a guest post by Kevin Miklasz, Director of Ideation at Iridescent.
When you hear the phrase “game jam” likely you’re picturing a room full of adults working, hacking, playing through the night to push forward the latest version of a game. A Movable Game Jam is not that.
For starters, a Movable Game Jam is designed for youth, not adults. It’s designed to foster deep learning in design thinking over a short period of time, and to do so by using games. Each Movable Game Jam has (you guessed it) many moving parts—multiple educators, organizations, and individuals coming together to put on an event to introduce youth to game design. The “Initiative” part is these same organizers (and new ones!) coming together multiple times to host different events, in different places (there’s that movability again) with different content (and one more time). Organizers of Movable Game Jams also come together virtually, adding the lessons they’ve learned and the modifications they’ve made to the overall Game Jam Model to a living document, the Movable Game Jam Guide. This document serves as a guide to anyone interested in running a Movable Game Jam, and as the movement grows, it will too.
The idea for the Movable Game Jam Initiative emerged out of Hive network pop-up events, a game jam held at the Museum of the Moving Image run for youth by youth, and Iridescent’s experiences running collaborative game jams. It was clear in all these experiences that a collaborative element added an extra spark to events, making them more valuable not only for the attendees, but for the organizers.
Collaborative game jams are a great way to teach youth about game design, and to give them hands-on experience making and hacking games for themselves, but they’re also a great way for the adults hosting the event to get to know other interested organizations, educators, people and parties—to start developing or strengthening a network. While youth get to learn the principles of game design, design their own games, and play each other’s games, organizers are able to learn from and work with other adults also interested in education, game-based learning, and games. This creates an explosion of all kinds of good stuff, which the organizers share back to the initiative by adding to the live document for other organizers to read and use and comment on, and the learning and the sharing never end.Well. They never end as long as people are interested in this and contributing. So we’re hoping you’re interested and ready to contribute.
What do you need to do or have or know to contribute? Really, the only thing you need to join the Movable Game Jam Initiative is a desire to run game jams. You sign up, you get permission to edit the document, you read the document, and then you put together your own event, you run it, and then you tell us all about it….and then you spread the word!
Who’s a part of this movement anyway? Here’s the current organization list: Iridescent, Institute of Play, MOUSE, Global Kids, Museum of the Moving Image, Eyebeam, Exposure Camp, Brooklyn Community College Partnership, and more soon! Thanks to the Hive NYC and the New York Community Trust for their support and funding to get this initiative off the ground!