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Morrisville State College jammers create video games under the clock

Chapman, Kenneth P

Chapman, Kenneth P

Franci Valenzano, Public Relations

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Sorcery, monsters, witches, demons, and a main character who had to stop a horrible ritual from happening, set the scene for a team of Morrisville State College students who participated in this year’s Global Game Jam.

The seven-member “Rite of Passage” team was among 40 students, alumni, staff, and students from the Lafayette Big Picture School who joined 36,000 participants from all over the world for this year’s massive event, recognized as the largest in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Morrisville State College was one of only a handful of sites in New York State to host the event, which provided a chance for gamers throughout the world to collaborate, explore creativity, tout inventiveness and let their imaginations roam as they created playable video and board games in the course of one weekend.

All sites worldwide were challenged with making games based on the same theme, “ritual,” which was revealed at the beginning of the event.

Participants met at the college on Friday, Jan. 29, formed teams, then spent the next 48 hours brainstorming and designing a new game from scratch without any outside help.

Ryan Dennerlein, of North Babylon, a computer science student and member of the “Right of Passage” team, was focusing on map making and concepts while teammate Christian Morris, an information technology-application software development student from Mount Upton, was writing the storyboard and conjuring up ideas for their game. For the second year, Courtney Mooney, an information technology student from Middleburgh, was the team’s artist.

Building on the experience of five veteran jammers, their team strategy was to get more sleep during the event and to stay small. “We decided to go small this year and work our way out,” said Jake Crawford, a residential construction student from Munnsville. “We got a lot farther this year with our ideas and we were more organized,” he said.

They also balanced their team with members who had varying skills including a programmer, artist and storyboard writer.

Participants brought music, food, energy drinks and candy to help fuel their minds throughout the weekend.

Team “Optionate” decided to spend the night in sleeping bags on the floor to conserve time.

“Our team is focusing on the story rather than the game play because we don’t have a large team and we don’t have a programmer or an artist,” said Johann DeWolf, an information technology-end user support student from Syracuse.

All finished GGJ games get archived onto a Game Jam website for everyone to play. For a database of downloadable games, photos and video from the events and more, visit:

The GGJ began in 2009 with 1,650 participants at 53 different sites in 23 countries. This year approximately 36,000 jammers across 93 countries created almost 6,800 games. Eight new countries joined the massive game development event this year; Estonia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nepal, Palestinian Territories, Paraguay, Ukraine and Vietnam.

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Morrisville State College
Morrisville State College jammers create video games under the clock