Commonalities and coincidences: what data and interpretation tells us about Global Game Jam games

Thumbnail Image
Hughes, Zachary Paul
Gestwicki, Paul V.
Issue Date
Thesis (B.?)
Honors College
Other Identifiers
CardCat URL

The Global Game Jam is an annual event that invites people from around the world to participate in a 48-hour period dedicated to the art of game design. In an effort to find any commonalities between design choices among Global Game Jam games, a total of 40 games were randomly chosen and played for the purpose of recording data into a form. The form consists of questions regarding artistic, mechanical, and narrative choices, as well as the presence of Laws (2010) ideas on narrative and Koster’s (2012) thoughts on feedback. The data was then analyzed to find any meaningful information. Diversifiers, which are restraints that jammers can choose to put on themselves during the design process, were found to possibly have some effect on how well a game is enjoyed. Games with no diversifiers were far more likely to be disliked during play, and 8 out of all 10 disliked games had no diversifiers. Games that focused more on art tended to be more difficult to play and less fun. Many times, games seemed to lack any sort of instructions. Games with certain diversifiers that inspired clearer understanding had a greater chance of being enjoyed, and games that were enjoyed had a greater mean of feedback than in that of all games. Elements of Hope and Fear were found in 10 of the 15 games that I enjoyed. The presence of a three-part narrative wasn’t conclusive in whether or not it could improve a game’s entertainment value.