Announcing: Immigration Jam!

by Darren Torpey on July 21st, 2010

Many of you may have already heard rumblings or announcements at various meetups in the last month (Boston Post Mortem, Boston Indies, etc), but now we’re here to officially announce the Summer 2010 Boston Game Jam, hereafter known as the Immigration Jam. That’s right — this jam’s constraint/theme is none other than the broad, complicated, and hot topic of immigration — one of America’s oldest and best sources of pride and a topic particularly near and dear to us for personal reasons these days. But more on that in a moment; before we get there we must respond to your cries:

Gimme the details! Where? When? How Much? Why?!

August 21st and 22nd
(exact times-of-day TBD)

Singapore/MIT GAMBIT Game Lab
MIT Building NE25-388
5 Cambridge Center, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
Google Map


Because this world — and Boston in particular — needs more independent game development and open, creative collaboration

Hosted By:
Alex Schwartz
Darren Torpey

Regarding theme…

Now, a little back story on the theme is in order. “Boston Indie” and friend of the community is currently battling the often convoluted and oppressive U.S. immigration process as he tries to make his way back to Boston. He came to America to attend WPI and subsequently became a great contributor to the community after graduation. Due to impending visa expiration, he was forced to leave the U.S. and return home. He wishes to come back to the Boston area to pursue entrepreneurial ventures but he needs our support!

We will be gathering to create experimental and engaging games revolving around the broad concept of immigration in order to draw attention to his efforts and (hopefully!) inspire donations to assist with this famously lengthy and expensive process. As such, any games created at the jam will be featured for free play on the Boston Game Jams site where players will have the option to make a donation towards this end. With or without money, the act of getting together to make games in light of this theme will make for a fun and inspiring event that supports a great cause.

So what are the rules with regards to the theme? There are no hard and fast rules, actually: the games don’t have to be political and don’t even have to be serious in any way, but some obvious relation to the theme is highly encouraged!


Exact times are TBD, but the basic idea is to go from around 10am Saturday morning until the end of the day, go home and sleep (no, really!) and then come back and finish up between 10am and 5pm on Sunday — at which point we’ll present our creations to each other and call it a jam.

Space will be (somewhat) limited, so we’ll set up an RSVP system for the event in the coming weeks. First wave of official invites will give preference to those we’ve already personally invited, but after that the event is open to anyone who would like to come. (more on that below)

General game jam Q & A

Q: What is a game jam?

A: A game jam is an event where people of all disciplines come together to create interesting interactive works. Simple as that.

Q: Do I need to be a coder to come to the game jam? I don’t know how to program, and I’ve heard that it’s a bunch of programmers.

A: No! You do not need to be a coder. A game jam team is loosely defined as ‘the minimum set of people that can produce a game’, which usually means someone who can program, make art, make sounds, design a game, and get everyone on task. Sometimes that can all be done as a two person team. Sometimes it takes 6. So, no, you do not need to be able to program. In fact, more often than not, we are usually itching for more creatives, artists, musicians, and design types.

Q: I do -X- as a hobby, but not professionally — should I still come?

A: If -X- is a game development-related skill that you enjoy using, then please do come and join us! A lot of people enjoy working on things they don’t get to do in their full-time job; sometimes that’s the best part of a jam! Teams are formed ad-hoc, and people naturally form groups with a good balance of skills and experience.

Update: Registration is now open! Register here »

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