Northeastern students test their design skills

Paul Murray shows off his game ("Title") as (need name) plays it.

By Katie Finnell


Imagine making a video game in 32 hours – from creating a story, to programming, to animation to music.

Seem impossible?  Not for the Northeastern University Game Development Club.

From 11 a.m. Saturday Nov. 17 to 7 p.m. Sunday Nov. 18, the club competed in a game jam to do just that.

“Game jams really help facilitate students in making games,” said club president Paul Murray, a junior computer science major.

Club president Paul Murray (left) shows off his game “Gutsy Gus” as Harrison Lavin play tests it.
Credit: Katie Finnell

Game jams are a gathering of developers, animators and other professionals or amateurs interested in video games to create a complete game in 24, 48 or 72 hours.

Students worked individually or in teams to test the skills they’ve learned in their computer science and game design courses.

“Having a game or anything outside class is huge,” Murray said.

Murray said students are often told by industry professionals that the ability to make a game on their own is most important when looking for a job in the industry.

At the game jam, students were tasked with creating games based on a theme.  Murray said club officers picked 15 themes and five would be randomly chosen at the event.  Students had to use two of the five themes in their game.

The most popular themes were “mask” and “sky” where students created games that involved masks that gave players certain powers or flying through the sky to reach a goal.

Students created a wide range of games, from role-playing games, to third-person shooters, to tabletop games.

“Game design is learned by doing,” Murray said.  “It comes through making and playing.”

At the end of the game jam, the students gathered together to show off their work and allow others to play through their work.

“We will do it again next semester,” Murray said. “It provides too much of a learning experience (not to).”

About Katherine Finnell 6 Articles
Katie Finnell is a multimedia journalist interested in reporting on new media industries.