Nevada County gamers get their jam on at Global Game Jam | TheUnion.com

Nevada County gamers get their jam on at Global Game Jam

The Union staff

Local video game designers spent 48 hours this weekend designing and coding in a 48-hour Global Game Jam session hosted by Connected Community Academy in Nevada City.

During the weekend-long event, groups of game enthusiasts got together at physical locations around the world to make a new video game in only 48 hours. Last year, gamers at 700 locations in 95 countries created more than 7,000 games in one weekend.

This year, Nevada City joined in, thanks to organizers Garritt Dorland and Dillon Lankenau.

Dorland said the idea to become part of Global Game Jam was sparked because he was frustrated because he didn't have enough time to dedicate to his favorite hobby — making video games. After being introduced to the concept of the 48-hour marathon in Chico, he and Lankenau decided to host their own Jam, with support from local tech companies AJA Video and Traitware.

The event is a marathon of innovation, experimentation and collaboration, they said. Participants found groups to work with when they showed up at 5 p.m. Friday. Some planned to end up working all the way through, while others took breaks for sleeping and eating.

Creating a game in 48 hours is easier than you think, Dorland said, adding, "It's not 1980 anymore, where you need to know how the computer functions."

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Participants were not required to have any coding experience to attend, just an interest in playing games. The event was not just about video games; some participants create card games or board games.

Dorland said he brought the event to Nevada City to get techies together.

"I wanted to create something for young people who are interested in the game industry to get together and pursue this interest locally," he said.

He also wants to make sure people know about tech career opportunities in Nevada County. Dorland grew up in Grass Valley, but didn't realize he would be able to pursue a career in his home town until the year before he graduated from college. He now works as a software engineer at AJA.