Two decades of game jams

Gorm Lai, Annakaisa Kultima, Foaad Khosmood, Johanna Pirker, Allan Fowler, Ilaria Vecchi, William Latham, Frederic Fol Leymarie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


In less than a year's time, March 2022 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the first documented game jam, the Indie Game Jam, which took place in Oakland, California in 2002. Initially, game jams were widely seen as frivolous activities. Since then, they have taken the world by storm. Game jams have not only become part of the day-to-day process of many game developers, but jams are also used for activist purposes, for learning and teaching, as part of the experience economy, for making commercial prototypes that gamers can vote on, and more. Beyond only surveying game jams and the relevant published scientific literature from the last two decades, this paper has several additional contributions. It builds a history of game jams, and proposes two different taxonomies of game jams - a historical and a categorical. In addition, it discusses the definition of game jam and identifies the most active research areas within the game jam community such as the interplay and development with local communities, the study and analysis of game jammers and organisers, and works that bring a critical look on game jams.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events, ICGJ 2021
PublisherAssociation of Computing Machinery
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384179
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2021
Event6th International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events : ICGJ 2021 - Virtual, Online, Canada
Duration: 2 Aug 2021 → …


Conference6th International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events
Abbreviated titleICGJ 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period2/08/21 → …


  • Game development
  • Game jams
  • Global game jam
  • Hackathons
  • Participatory design
  • Review
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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