Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication Student Justine DiCesare
Millions of specimens and artifacts.
From August 8th to 10th, gamers and game developers from all over the GTA will be converging on the ROM to develop video games based on the galleries. This will be the second Game Jam held by the ROM in partnership with Gamercamp and the University of Toronto, with this year’s theme being “The Evolution Revolution”.
The ROM provides a unique environment to inspire the Game Jammers, and in turn the event itself has the potential to attract a different crowd of visitors to the museum. "Bridging the gap between generation Y and environmental awareness requires innovative, contemporary and out-of-the-box programming," says Dave Ireland, the ROM’s Managing Director of the Centre for Biodiversity, "and I think the ROM Game Jam does this eloquently: gamers who may not otherwise come to the ROM, are now embracing our collections and research."
The Game Jam provides an opportunity to engage with the museum in a different way. "It brings in members of the community who want to take part and see what the ROM has to offer," says Steve Engels, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Toronto and Game Jam 2014 Steering Committee member. "It also gives gamers a chance to give back a little bit - to take some of what's at the ROM and make it more interactive."
This year’s participants are already excited to get started. Being “plugged into” both worlds, they have a keen sense of why the Game Jam is important. Noreen Rana from Team Great Expectations said that “ultimately, if it’s at the ROM, its about promoting what's there and promoting education so why not make a game that also does the same thing.”
Another game jammer, Alexander Biggs of Team Super Symmetry, adds that "there's a certain thrill associated with it. When you see people play the things that you've made - that feeling’s unmatched. Seeing someone smile or laugh at something you've created - it's really cool."
Completed games will be play-tested at various ROM events between September and December 2014, so make sure to look for them at your next visit!
Check out this video by Environmental Visual Communication student Vincent Luk for a bit more insight into the Game Jam.