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Classroom Happenings: Game Jam

The Steward School
Discovery and invention, Steward style
You may know what video games look like … but do you know how they are made? A group of Steward Middle and Upper School students recently discovered the rewards and challenges of creating their very own video game from the ground up. Inside the Bryan Innovation Lab, these designers participated in Game Jam — an accelerated game-development event in which they collaborated to create a simple yet playable video game from scratch. 

Over the course of a week, game jammers, using game-creation engines called Scratch and Unity, worked side by side with local game designer Meena Ko to create the narrative, characters, art, sound effects, and programming to build the game. 

LIke our Entrepreneurship and Leadership programs, Game Jam is an example of hands-on, real-world learning at Steward that helps fulfill the school’s mission to prepare students for college and for life.

Creative Freedom + Communication 

“The most fun aspect of Game Jam was becoming closer friends with people I knew, but not well,” said Leo Coogan ’24, who enjoyed the week so much that he and several other jammers formed their own unofficial game-making club. An essential part of Game Jam’s success, said Leo, revolved around good communication between the participants. “Everyone had creative freedom,” he noted. “Even though words and actions were sometimes misinterpreted, we stayed in dialogue and kept the conversation going.”

A Game-Making Community 

Working with Ms. Ko was an excellent opportunity for jammers to dig deeper into the intricacies of conceptualizing and building a video game. 

“She catalyzed a game-making community at Steward and brought students closer who share a common interest in video games as an art form and a social activity,” said Leo. 

Throughout the week, jammers playtested their game, which they named Bad Decisions, fixing aspects of it along the way. (“Fixing” in game development means deleting bits of computer code that are breaking the game.) At the culmination of Game Jam, the Bryan Lab buzzed with excitement as gamers proudly showed off the results of their hard work.

Megan Young, program coordinator for the Bryan Lab and the organizer of Game Jam, said, “It was so cool to see students with similar interests collaborate and share ideas and resources. They brought such a breadth of knowledge and skills specific to the gaming world.”

The Bryan Innovation Lab

A catalyst for collaboration and for discovering new ways of learning, the Bryan Innovation Lab encourages students in all divisions to engage with the world around them. In addition to flexible indoor and outdoor classroom spaces, the Bryan Lab boasts a kitchen studio, innovation studio, wellness studio, and community garden.

Each year, the Bryan Lab’s Visiting Innovators program brings real-world experts to campus who share their expertise with students, parents, faculty, staff, and the wider community.  

Take a look at the Steward Snaps from Game Jam. 
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