The game is on at LSU. The Women in Computer Science club (WICS) will hold its second
annual Game Jam Friday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 25. Tutorials are available
for participants starting at 3 p.m. on Friday. The opening ceremony will begin at
Game Jam is a weekend long competition where participating teams create a video game. Participants must base the game around the event theme, which WICS will announce during the opening ceremony. Mentors and sponsors are present throughout the 48-hour competition to offer teams advice. Game Jam also includes a career fair where participants can network, and it provides free food and promotional items. This year, the majority of the Game Jam’s 100 participants hail from colleges and high schools across south Louisiana with computer skills ranging from novice to experienced.
“I’m excited about the increase in female involvement from the industry this year,” said WICS president and computer science senior Sam Shrestha about this year’s competition.
WICS saw an increase in female involvement for both participants and judges. Women represented two of the six judges for the panel last year. This year, the judges are exclusively female. The panel even includes former WICS president, creator of Game Jam and current EA Games employee Alexandra Willis. Furthermore, Game Jam’s keynote speaker is Tech Advocate Group Founder Natalie Noel.
Last year, Game Jam hosted approximately 70 participants and over 30 volunteers. Teams created games based on the theme “Wake Up.” Though participants must adhere to a single overarching theme, teams may interpret the theme any way they wish. Games ranged from waking a girl before a monster scared her to waking a student for finals. WICS kept participants fueled with Chick-Fil-A, pizza and other snacks. All participating teams successfully created games, some of which are still available for download at wicsgamejam.com/#recap.
With more participants and new sponsors, teams can expect stiff gaming competition. A panel of judges will evaluate the games against various criteria. This includes best overall game, best art, and best use of the theme. Winners may receive EA games, Amazon gift cards or other prizes from sponsors. Members of the team that win best overall game will have the opportunity to send their resumes to sponsors, which include EA games, Intel and CenturyLink among others.
“I am happy to see the growth and increase in awareness of Game Jam,” said WICS Faculty Adviser Alena McDuff.
Shrestha hopes that participants take the opportunity to network with one another throughout the competition. She wants teams to learn to work with different people toward a common goal. Most of all, she wants Game Jam participants to have fun with the event.
While competition registration has closed, WICS is still looking for volunteers to help throughout the weekend, particularly in the mornings. For more information or to register as a volunteer, visit www.wicsgamejam.com. Participants can follow along with the competition by following @wicslsu on Twitter and Women in Computer Science on Facebook. The official event hashtag is #WICSGameJam.
“Game Jam is important because it gets the message out to our community about women in computer science,” Shrestha said. She believes the competition encourages people to pursue a computer science degree and shows that the major can be fun.
Seven LSU computer science majors founded Women in Computer Science at LSU in the spring of 2015. The purpose of the club is to provide a community to help develop and advance women in computer science at LSU. The club provides tutoring sessions, workshops and other social events. For more information about WICS, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Caroline Byrne at email@example.com or at 225-578-4630.