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Global Game Jam: Design a Place-Based Mobile Game

Written by Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
April 10, 2011

If you’ve been waiting for the chance to try out that new design activity with your students, this just might be your shot. The ARIS Global Game Jam on April 18-20 invites you to make new augmented reality games for mobile phones from scratch in just 50 hours. Sound impossible?

Short for Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling, ARIS is a new tool that enables users to create place-based or narrative gaming activities designed for teaching and learning. The platform is available as both an iPhone application and as an open-source authoring platform.

The ARIS design team is inviting experts and novices alike to join the session. Their goal is 50 games in 50 hours.

“From the very beginning, we’ve dreamed of a world where learning games, virtual art installations and interactive narratives were available at every historic location, every museum, and every neighborhood with a story to tell (or collect),” reads Aris’s vision statement for the event. “Increasingly, we have found that the act of creating these experiences provides a purpose for historical research, a space for personal and communal reflection, and fodder for lively discussion.”

Those interested in taking part can join an existing “base camp” or host their own. Participants can work individually or as part of a team. The sky’s the limit. Teachers, students, folklorists, educators, media artists are all welcome. Jammers have already signed up from as far away as the Netherlands.

On the final day, participants can post their designs for others to play, vote for the best design from each location, and participate in a webcast awards ceremony. Sign up at the Global Game Jam website.