In the past 15 months I had the unique opportunity to travel to four different cities all across the world to organize game jams with local people. Art Games is a project organized by the Goethe-Institute. For this project the Goethe-Institute partnered with my company Maschinen-Mensch because of our game development and game jam experience. The whole project is including 8 locations, but Riad and I split the traveling between us.
My travels took me to Mexico City, Jakarta, Novosibirsk and Athens. Today I am returning from my last Art Games game jam. Of course I am sad that my time of travels for the Art Games project has now come to an end. But I have been able to collect many invaluable memories.
There is one question that I get asked many times: what is the biggest difference between the participants from each country? It took me a while, but I can now give a good answer. There is no difference. Of course the people look and speak different, and they have wildly different living conditions, but in general I was surprised how similar the participants were. Independent from their country, the jammers shared the same passion for creation and creativity. I experienced the same typical phases of a game jam; the initial chaos, tense concentration, anxiety, enthusiasm, exhaustion and the final pride and pure joy of witnessing their own creations.
There is one last game jam happening in Bangkok, which Riad will visit. Then, as a final event we’ll be able to welcome a selection of the participants of each location in Berlin during this years A MAZE festival. I can’t wait to see these people from 8 different countries coming together to present their created games alongside each other. It will be a true testimony to the cultural variety but also the sameness that we all share.
I feel extremely privileged that I was able to guide and help so many people in these intense and personal 48 hours of their game jam. The memories I have collected during these game jams will stay with me for the rest of my life, participating in this project truly has been a life changing experience for me. I am happy and thankful to have found many new friends, and I hope that I’ll have the opportunity to see as many of them as possible in my future.
Image credits Goethe Institute Jakarta