During the BIGjam 2010 I met Tobias Wehrum, a developer based in Berlin. Since I wasn’t aware of any game jam taking place regularly in Berlin except the BIGjam itself, which only happens once a year, I asked him if he would be interested in organizing a similar thing. He liked the idea a lot, so we decided to team up, try to contact other game developers in this city who would like to participate in such a thing, and the Berlin Mini Jam was born.
We created a group in Facebook, called Berlin Game Developers Meet-up, open to anyone who is interested in making games in or around Berlin, for promoting the jam. From the very beginning we also got Iwan Gabovitch, who I had met a year before during the BIGjam 2009. He’s the creator of our awesome logo, the Pacbär (inspired, if it’s not evident, in Pacman and the Berlin flag).
The jam itself is an event we host on a monthly basis somewhere in Berlin, where people interested in the creation of games can meet and work together for a few hours. Consider it some kind of experimentation laboratory where you can exchange ideas and try new concepts. The duration of the jam itself, 8 hours, is a bit too limited to get big projects done. For this reason, right from the beginning we have been focusing on making it a rather relaxed event where you can work on whatever you want without pressures, instead of demanding that the participants produce finished games from scratch as it happens in other jams. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but trying to make a full game in only eight hours would be a bit too much stressing.
Over the last year we’ve already had 13 jams, at a rate of approximately once a month, with around 40 game prototypes made by the participants, which have included game designers, graphic artists and programmers. I like to stress the fact that they are game prototypes and not full games, which means that the participants are completely free to work on them after the jam, if they find that the idea they played around with was interesting enough to develop a full game from it.
You can have a look at some of the prototypes so far in the document I’m trying to keep updated in the group’s page: List of past jams.
On our last jam, last January, we even had our first board game designed by one of the participants! I am looking forward to see more boardgames made during the mini jams.