Challenge accepted: 48-hour video game making marathon wraps up in Victoria

Challenge accepted: 48-hour video game making marathon wraps up in Victoria

WATCH: Local game developers accept the ultimate challenge at a video game making marathon. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

Lining an entire block on Fort Street in Victoria on Friday night were dozens of tech fanatics who share a common interest.

“We’re engineering students at UVIC and in our spare time we like making games,” said one participant.

Among the crowd are game developers, digital artists, programmers, engineers and musicians from across the province.

They’ve been tasked with creating an entire video game from scratch – in only 48 hours.

“The whole idea behind a game jam is to get together with the whole community,” said Eric Jordan of Codename Entertainment.

“They spend the weekend making games. Not necessarily getting an awesome game done, but getting it done because that can be hard to do.”

The game-making marathon is called Orcajam, and took place in the Techtoria office building this weekend.

Over the last few years, the event has exploded in popularity.

“I like the challenge,” explained Ben Cracknell of DoubleJump Games. “I want to force myself to learn some new things. The pressure makes you really focus.”

“In a game jam, you only have 48 hours,” said colleague Joshua Manton. “It’s always like ‘go, go, go’ and you have to yank it together.”

Organizers say the marathon helps participants learn valuable skills and make connections in the industry.

They say the event also helps boost the profile of Victoria’s $3-billion tech sector, showcasing the possibilities of a high-tech career to incoming talent.

“The video game industry is a sub-sector of the tech industry,” explained Jordan. “In Victoria, there are about 250 people working full-time making video games.”

Armed with their computers and creative minds, participants are grouped into teams.

Adding to the difficulty of the challenge is this year’s surprise video game theme – ‘destination 1980’s.’

“The idea of [our] game is that it’s two players that are trying to hit each other,” said Michael Monast as he explains his game.

“It doesn’t matter if the game that I’m building here never gets a look or a download, it’s about trying something and seeing what you can put together.”

The public is invited to see the completed video games at Techtoria (777 Fort St, Victoria) at their exhibit on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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