Global Game Jam is the world's largest annual game creation event! We are here to talk about how to get the most out of your jamming experience, whether you are an experienced jammer or a complete beginner, this post will have some great tips you can use. 

What is a Game Jam?

For readers who have never participated in a Game Jam before, here’s a quick explanation: 

Game Jams are events where you are challenged to create a game, either alone or with other people, within a short span of time. This can range from 48 hours to a week or longer. Game Jams also often happen online, meaning you can take part wherever you’re from.

“Game jams are a great way to get your creativity flowing in a safe, zero-consequence environment. They’re also a great way to meet fantastic like-minded people. I can’t recommend joining one enough; especially if you’ve never done one before!” - Katie, Into Games. 

Key Tips from Into Games.

Recently, Tom and Katie from Into Games joined Game Dev London on their podcast and challenged themselves to create a game in ONE HOUR, with the theme provided by the wonderful Nice Games Club!

Here are some key tips and takeaways from Tom’s experience. 

What kind of game did you create? 

Following the brief given by Nice Games Club, we set out to make a real-time card game. Inspired by the 'lawlessness' that we took from the lack of a traditional turn-based mechanic, we decided to theme our game around bank robbers. There was a bit of discussion around whether the game should be PVP or focus on working together, and we eventually settled on designing a cooperative experience.

The core gameplay mechanic is centred around breaking a lock, made of a ring of 8 cards. Players had to work together to draw cards, acting as tumblers for the central cypher, to crack the lock. The main challenge came from having to memorize where cards in the central lock were, as they could only be turned over once, as well as players accidentally picking up 'alarm cards' which could lead to triggering a fail state.

I think we managed to come up with an interesting unique game idea in an hour, based on a difficult brief, so I'm very happy with our result. It's a very strong foundation for a game that we're already talking about taking further and properly developing, which is a great testament to how time pressure can quickly refine an idea!

Anything you wish you had done differently? 

I was initially worried about locking down (pardon the pun) a single idea too early, but realistically since we were working to such a constrained time limit we should probably have chucked an idea out faster and just got stuck in working on it. I also think we should have allocated more time for playtesting the game or implementing some kind of schedule that key pillars needed to be completed by.

Any key tips?

Prioritize coming up with a simple idea and theme quickly, then spend your remaining time testing and iterating on it! Keeping your scope manageable is important when creating a polished piece.

Watch the video version of the podcast Tom took part in here, and check out the GameDev London and Global Game Jam event here

Here are some key tips and takeaways from Katie’s experience. 

What kind of game did you create? 

The theme was ‘Real-time Card Game’! So we made a card game based on old-school RPG characters who have to tell a story using the suit of cards they have. The other players can interrupt at different points to raise their own score!

Anything you wish you had done differently? 

We only had an hour for this jam - if I could do it again I would have quickly played and iterated on the game a few more times to identify what was working and what wasn’t! I would also try to keep the mechanics simple so I didn’t confuse myself.

Any key tips?

If you’re doing a jam - keep it simple! The worst mistake you can make in a small game jam is to over-scope the project. Think about your theme, layout how your player wins and loses, then plan a few clear core mechanics - and stick to that throughout the jam! You can always add more later if there’s time. 

Watch the video version of the podcast Katie took part in here, and check out the GameDev London and Global Game Jam event here

Resources We Recommend:

Excited to get started? Here are some final resources and recommendations: 

  • Miro - A free online brainstorming tool - perfect for team collaboration.

  • Check out’s game jam page for information about game jams taking place! 

  • That isn’t all; check out this amazing resource; an indie game jam calendar displaying all the ongoing and upcoming game jams happening worldwide that you can get involved in.

Check out our previous blog posts about Game Jams for more tips!