Global Game Jam, co-sponsored with University Partners, coming January 20-22 to Bird Library

game jam logo

Syracuse University’s Bird Library will serve as a location for Global Game Jam® (#SUGGJ17), the world’s largest game jam (game creation) event, taking place on the weekend of January 20- 22, 2017. University and community members are invited to collaborate, create and present new game ideas to the global community. Participants will generate ideas for digital and analog games, pitch those ideas to one another, and form teams to work on a project, all in the course of a single weekend. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development.  Details and registration at

#SUGGJ17 begins Friday, January 20 at 4 p.m. in the Blackstone LaunchPad on the first floor of Bird Library, which is serving as the hospitality site.  The kick-off will include a short video keynote at 5 p.m. and the announcement of this year’s theme. All sites worldwide are then challenged to create games based on that theme, to be completed over the weekend.  In last year’s jam, over 600 locations in 93 countries created 6,866 games.  Syracuse University game presentations will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 22 in Bird Library.

Jammers who are interested in games—whether video, mobile, web-based, iOS/Android, board, card, tabletop, or other types—are invited to attend, and compete to design innovative game concepts over a fun and food-fueled weekend. The goal is to make a game in 48 hours.  Event hours will be Friday, January 20 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, January 21 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, January 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Game teams will work through the weekend in break-out rooms around Bird Library.

Development software and other tools like 3D printing will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their laptops and other development devices. No coding or game design or development skills are required to participate and the event is open to those from all levels of experience from absolute beginner to seasoned developer. The event is designed to be a creative meetup to connect with like-minded game jammers, find tech talent for student startup ventures, and build teams. Jammers are invited to encourage their friends to participate in the jam, and all attendees will need to register through

There is a nominal registration fee, which includes a t-shirt (while supplies last) and seating is limited, so participants should register early.  Jammers must be over 18 or accompanied by a parent or guardian.

#SUGGJ17 at Bird Library is being organized and coordinated by Syracuse University’s Games Studies Research Group and brings together two new SU Libraries programs, The Digital Scholarship Space (DSS) and the Blackstone LaunchPad.

The DSS is a pilot project by Syracuse University ITS that provides students and faculty access to a variety of technologies for software design, gaming, data visualization, digital humanities projects, and digital mapping.  DSS is now located in Bird Library, to better reach and serve its audiences of students and scholars, and has already been used by instructors and students for courses in multiple departments. It features a computer lab to facilitate the development of interactive, immersive, and mobile applications, projects, and games on emerging technologies and systems including virtual, mixed, and augmented reality platforms.  Placing it in Bird Library makes it accessible and available to faculty, students, and staff from all departments, colleges, and schools across Syracuse University campus.


AJ Damiano, founder, Power-Spike, a Syracuse University game-sector student venture, has won a number of business plan competitions and represented SU last year at the ACC Venture Innovation Challenge at Georgia Tech, as well as the Blackstone Charitable Foundation-sponsored LaunchPad Student Showcase at the recent Forbes 30 Under 30 conference in Boston.

The Blackstone LaunchPad, located on the first floor of Bird Library, is an experiential learning service, connecting Syracuse University’s innovation ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs.  Supported through seed funding from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the LaunchPad offers one-stop connections to the university’s robust network of entrepreneurial resources, programs and activities, along with specialized applications, tools and training to help get startups off the ground and scale.  It can be used for ideation workshops, team and mentor meetings, co-working, networking events, coaching and training sessions, venture demos and product launches, as well as other collaborative activities.  There are a number of student game development ventures that are part of the portfolio.

The Game Studies group has hosted the SU site for the GGJ several times before, and there have been some brilliant games made by teams which included folks with no game development experience,” says  Assistant Professor of English Chris Hanson, who has used the DSS to teach ETS 444: Theories of Game Studies.  “The GGJ is a lot of fun and a great opportunity to try out making a game. If you like playing games, you will love making them!”

#SUGGJ17 is sponsored by the Computer Art and Animation program in the Department of Transmedia (VPA), the Department of English (CAS), SU ITS, the iSchool and the Syracuse University Libraries.

Learn more about the event and register at:  More information about the global activities can be found at