Jamming with Dinosaurs!

I am Eric, a First Year MFA student at NYU Game Center, studying about and designing games. Barry asked me and the other interns to help put together a game jam last Sunday to support an ongoing project. Here’s a brief report.

Last month, during the regular Night at the Museum Sleepover, the Museum tried something new: Playing with Dinos. Developed with teens last January, inspired by the app Tiny Games, families used the new mobile site to play quick games within the dino halls that connected them with each other and the exhibits. In preparation for the next beta test during the June sleepover, and to triple the number of games available, we decided  to host our very first dinosaur-themed game jam (or Dino Jam for short).

Dino Jammers!

Dino Jammers!

Now, if you have never heard of a game jam, it is an event where people come together for a short period of time (usually 2-3 days) and create games! These game jams usually have a theme and, for our game jam, it WAS to create easy to play, social games using the exhibits and space in both Hall of Ornithischian and Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.

With an awesome weather to set our mood and lift our spirits, the participants (fellow students from our programs) met up at 11am and we began the jam with a short briefing by Nathan Bellomy (who works at the Museum) followed by a walk around the halls to understand the space and start getting inspired. After that, the participants were pretty much left on their own devices to form their own groups, work independently and/or roam around the halls and create games!

It was very cool to see all these game designers create games so quickly and even start playtesting within the first 30 minutes of the event. Game designers even managed to rope in the public to test some of their games, much to the amusement of the kids and their parents. The fun and cooperative atmosphere carried well until the end of the Jam as we shared our ideas with each other and asked for advice for Dinosaur Pun titles for our games.

At the end, we added almost 40 games within a short span of 3 hours and everyone had a lot of fun! The museum’s first Dino Jam was a great success and everyone’s looking forward to more events like this in the future! Now its up to Barry and his team to sift through the “sediments” of what we have done and find the valuable fossils that will make it into the final version (bad pun intended).

Until next time!



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