The countdown begins at 5 p.m. Friday and ticks until 5 p.m. Sunday. It’s 48 hours filled with collaboration and creation while team members work to develop a game of any sort under a common theme during Global Game Jam.

There are more than 100 countries participating in Global Game Jam, and more than 800 sites around the world where the event will be held, including Room 355 in the Robert Bell Building at Ball State University.

From Egypt to America, people of all skill levels who are passionate about games are encouraged to form teams, create a game and post it onto the Global Game Jam website for anyone to play.  

Register prior to the event on the Global Game Jam website.

“Our aim is to get people working together, creating interesting, inspiring games and to try and open up the community globally as much as possible,” said Jo Summers, executive producer of Global Game Jam. “We want to get people to have an insight into other communities or cultures through the language of games.” 

Participants can create any variety of game, from board games to card games or choose-your-own-adventure books, but Global Game Jam primarily promotes digital and video games. 

Some games, such as “Resonance,” “A Normal Lost Phone” and “Pentagrab,” have even reached commercial success and recognition.

Last year, Paul Gestwicki, associate professor of computer science, was the site organizer for Ball State’s participation in the event, and this year will be Ball State’s second time hosting.

“I see Global Game Jam as a great way for me to help promote this idea that games are important, that they’re important cultural artifacts, just like books, movies and music,” Gestwicki said. “It’s something we make that represents us.”

The night begins with a prerecorded opening keynote, and then participants break into teams of their choosing to brainstorm. The rest of the event is dedicated to the creation of the game.

Participants may either leave and return the next day or stay throughout the night in the Robert Bell Building to continue work on their games, and the event will conclude with a pizza party and presentation of the newly-created games. 

The theme that games must be related to will not be announced until the opening keynote, but during the event participants will be able to use software made specially for Game Jam participants or use free trials of software to enhance their games. 

There is also a list of diversifiers and restrictions that jammers can attempt to apply to their game to add a challenge, like creating a game playable for those who are colorblind or only using graphics from the '90s. 

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s work you have complete creative control over so it’s very motivating,” Gestwicki said. “You can make whatever you want.” 

Contact Melissa Kraman with comments at mmkraman@bsu.edu