Eldon Building transformed into a video games haven for our annual University GameJam on Monday 17 – Friday 21 June 2019, hosted by the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries.

Teams of 120 students, staff, alumni and industry visitors had a week to make a computer game based on a choice of three topics randomly generated from Wikipedia: the Mexican beach town Yelapa, historic Virginian attorney Vernon Meredith Geddy Sr., and African-American author, educator and librarian Lillian B. Horace. From board and card games to virtual reality, they developed playable titles for a chance to win awards. Guest teams from Fareham College and Chichester College also took part.

On the final day, the teams presented their games at a play-testing event before the awards ceremony. A judging panel of industry experts, special guests and members of public crowned winners in various categories, including the much-coveted Best Overall.

The winning teams were:

  • Team Horsehead (Best Adaptation of the Theme(s))
  • Fireforge (Best Use of Technology)
  • Chum Labs (Most Ambitious Idea)
  • Nutz & Voltz (Best-Looking Game, People's Choice and Best Overall)
  • The Spirit of Game Jam (Best Audio)
  • Coppertop Games (Best Design)

This year's sponsor was Portsmouth-based retro-gaming café Game Over, who set up an arcade stall in Eldon foyer throughout the week for everyone to play classics from the likes of Nintendo, ZX Spectrum and Sega. There were also post-event guest talks from women in games, motion capture specialists and a writer who creates interactive stories with open-source storytelling tool Twine.

University GameJam is more than just a chance for our students to put their knowledge, skills and talents to rewarding use. It teaches them how to work efficiently, with sensible working hours and mandatory lunch breaks to avoid the 'crunch culture' that's common in the games industry. It's also a great networking opportunity for both them and our staff, as they can meet local employers and sharpen their career prospects.

Moreover, our collaboration with local colleges adds to our overall engagement with both potential students and alumni.

You can download and play any of the games from University GameJam on itch.io.