Global Game Jam gives UMSL students valuable experience

Alexius Gandy, , a business administration senior at UMSL, participated in the annual Global Game Jam. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Alexius Gandy, a business administration senior at UMSL, participated in the annual Global Game Jam. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Of all the things Alexius Gandy needed to do during the second weekend of her spring semester, participating in the annual Global Game Jam didn’t seem like one of them.

“I had a million excuses – things I needed to do instead,” said Gandy, a business administration senior. “But ultimately, participating in the Global Game Jam was the best thing I’ve ever done.”

The annual Global Game Jam at the University of Missouri–St. Louis was held Jan. 23-25.

That Friday afternoon, 232 participants invaded the Social Sciences and Business Building for the 48-hour challenge. Operating on little sleep and too much caffeine, the gamers broke off into teams to create a video game centered around this year’s theme: What do we do now?

“We have all been there,” said Gandy. “When life presents us with challenges, how we face them often determines whether we go to the next level or not.”

That’s how she approached the experience of Global Game Jam. Gandy threw herself at the challenge. She learned on the fly and met obstacles head on rather than make excuses and avoid the problems.

Through the empowering experience, Gandy and her group created the game “Island Escape.”

“It’s a survival game that gives players options in order to escape a tsunami,” she said. “The player must collect three items – a boat, fuel and a motor – to escape.”

This year, UMSL was the 12th largest site in the world and 5th largest in the U.S. Participants created 42 games.

Dinesh Mirchandani, associate professor of information systems at UMSL, has served the last four years as organizer of the UMSL Global Game Jam.

“The experience that students can gain from the Global Game Jam is vital,” Mirchandani said. “It gives our students hands-on experience, a chance to use their skills in a real-life challenge and the opportunity to network with outstanding companies.”

The UMSL Experience

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