BY MAIRE O’NEILL
When James Wernicke told the Los Alamos Reporter that he was preparing for the Coder Dojo Los Alamos Girls Game Jam this coming weekend, he had to explain the whole thing! Apparently, a “game jam” is an event where individuals or teams come together to create videos within a set time frame, and this weekend Coder Dojo Los Alamos will host a rare all-girls event.
“It’s a fantastic way to explore creativity, build skills, and gain valuable experience. We came up with the idea to have a Girls Game Jam to provide an opportunity for girls aged 8-18, regardless of their skill levels, to come together and have a blast developing their own video games,” Wernicke said. “The Girls Game Jam will provide a weekend-long event filled with creativity, teamwork and fun.”
This weekend’s event may be the first all girls Game Jam ever in Northern New Mexico.
Participants can either join as individuals or form teams of 2 to 4 people.
“During the weekend, each team will be tasked with designing a game based on a theme and a secret ingredient. These elements unveiled right at the start of the event to keep things exciting,” Wernicke said.
There will be an overall prize for the best game as well as specific categories that participants can win based on votes from their peers and the public.
The Game Jam is open to participants from throughout Northern New Mexico and registration is very simple. Participants can join in the fun in-person or online through Discord.
Go to https://itch.io/jam/girls-game-jam to sign up and be a part of the event.
The Discord link is https://discord.gg/pmxE4tZ.
The event will commence on Friday, Aug. 18 at 5:00 p.m. MDT.
“At that time, we’ll announce the theme and secret ingredient that teams will be working with. Participants are welcome to join us in person at Los Alamos Makers, 3540 Orange Street, throughout the event. We’ve got all the coding resources they’ll need, plus snacks, drinks, and pizza from 5 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.,” Wernicke said. “The Girls Game Jam wraps up on Sunday, Aug. 20, right before midnight, at 11:59:59 PM. Participants need to submit their completed games on our itch.io page before the clock strikes twelve.”
The excitement for the girls will continue following the event with a week-ling period for public voting on the submissions, and finally the winners will be announced on Monday, Aug. 28.
“Game jams encourage teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. They provide a chance to push creative boundaries, experiment, and learn new skills. Participants also get to network with industry professionals and fellow enthusiasts, all while building confidence and showcasing their talents,” Wernicke said.
His advice for girls who are considering joining the game jam is to to embrace the challenge, unleash their creativity and dive in with enthusiasm.
“Game jams are an ideal platform for your potential and gaining invaluable experiences,” Wernicke said.
He said people often ask how they can support the Coder Dojo initiative.
“We’re always grateful for support. People can volunteer or donate to our fundraisers to help us continue organizing events like the Girls Game Jam,” he said.