Written by Robert Leitch.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and Super Mario wasn’t created in one weekend – but that’s exactly the challenge accepted by Global Game Jam participants in Cincinnati, Ohio.
On Jan. 23, a group of nearly 30 designers, coders and creatives put Cincinnati on the world’s gaming map as they took part in the city’s first Global Game Jam, hosted by ChoreMonster. Participants split into teams and created a slew of new games over the course of two days at The Brandery in Over-the-Rhine. This was one of 514 Global Game Jams hosted on the same weekend in 80 different countries.
Each year, all teams build their game around one common prompt, and this year’s was “what do we do now?” Each team was responsible for producing, writing, developing, designing and creating the narrative and art for their final product. While there was no official “winner,” everyone who participated found the sense of community rewarding enough.
“There’s a whole group of professionals in Cincinnati who are passionate about game development,” said Chris Bergman, CEO of ChoreMonster. “With this event, we wanted to connect people, get them together and build something creative.”
ChoreMonster, a suite of web and mobile apps that aims to make chores fun for kids and parents, is a direct result of Cincinnati’s collaborative community. The company is a graduate of The Brandery, an accelerator that helps startups identify their unique brand identity through mentorships with some of Cincinnati’s top branding companies. Funding for startups in the Brandery comes from CincyTech, the regional partner for the Ohio Third Frontier.
Bergman compares today’s Cincinnati game development community to its tech community six years ago. What has become a thriving technological startup hub used to be a group of entrepreneurs with big ideas who weren’t communicating. He hopes to break down these barriers for game designers using tools like Global Game Jam.
“Cincinnati has so many talented designers in such a high concentration,” said Bergman. “You have an opportunity to build a family within the creative and entrepreneurial community. We all want to collaborate and help guide each other.”
Fueled by creativity and caffeine, many of the game design teams worked around-the-clock with no sleep for 48 hours. When the moment came to unveil their masterpieces, the teams presented party games, board games and virtual reality games with names like “The Quick and The Dead” and “Purgatory Puzzler.”
To check out the games for yourself, click here for the Cincinnati Game Jam website.