By Gina Hara
Last weekend, we gathered around a fake fireplace to create, code, knit, pet pets, share knowledge and support each other in making games. This was the fourth year of the game-making marathon we like to call GAMERella.
48 people made a game this year – more than ever. In addition, 81% of the participants identified as women or non-binary and over half of them made their very first game at GAMERella. This is important to us because GAMERella’s main goal is to create change on a foundational level, for people whose stories have not yet been heard through the medium of games.
As always, the jam was preceded by a series of workshops on some basic game making tools to empower people and allow them to meet other like-minded folks, as well as to teach them entry-level game making skills. The workshops were given by members of the TAG Research Centre and other generous volunteer game makers. Some of these workshops are available online!
Fourteen games were made at the Montreal location and several more by people who jammed from home or in Poitiers, France at our sattelite location. Many of the games created can be seen and/or played here.
Gina Hara and Desirée de Jesus organizers wrapped up the jam with a raffle instead of a stress-inducing jury process. Prizes were donated by a variety of artists, schools and game companies. Nobody left empty-handed!
TAG and the organizers would like to extend a warm thank-you to everyone who helped make this year’s GAMERella come true. We especially appreciate the support of ReFIG and the generosity of all 19 mentors, who donated hours and hours of their time to help participants in their game-making quest.
WHAT IS NEXT?
Gina and Desirée are currently finishing a manual introducing in detail how GAMERella is organized. It will be available to the public and they hope that it will help others make jams in their own cities to empower people who are traditionally pushed out of game spaces.