RIYADH: More than 200 Saudi game developers and enthusiasts converged in three different cities this weekend for the Global Game Jam (GGJ).

GGJ is a worldwide event in which participants meet up and form teams to create a playable game demonstration in only three days.

On offer this weekend were a variety of submissions from Saudi participants, ranging from video games to board and card games, and even games that required nothing more than pen, paper and imagination.

One of the entries was a game that was controlled by the player’s thoughts, functioning by reading their brain waves.

At least half of the participating developers were female. The women’s event in Riyadh alone attracted more than 70 participants who produced six games altogether.

The event in Alkhobar attracted 83 developers of both genders, who managed to complete 11 games. The men’s event in Riyadh consisted of 36 participants who produced 10 games and the Jeddah meet-up of 21 submitted three.

“It’s my first time participating in a game jam,” said Abrar Fahd, from Riyadh, “and my first time programming a game. But I loved the experience and really enjoyed working with my team. Even though we didn’t even know each other before the event, we produced something I’m very proud of.”

Arwa Al-Razooq, also from Riyadh, was equally enthusiastic. “I had no idea that there were so many female game developers in Riyadh until I saw how many people were here,” she said, “but seeing them all in one place filled me with so much pride and joy. I can’t wait to do this again.”

“This was an amazing experience,” said Abdulmalik Zubailah of Den of Devs, one of the Jeddah event organizers. “Definitely a success in terms of hosting a game jam, and we would be crazy to miss the chance to host one again.”

Founded by the International Game Developers Association in 2009, GGJ holds a Guinness World Record for the largest game development event. Developers and game enthusiasts of all skill levels are invited to participate in the world’s largest simultaneous game developer event, which lasts the entire weekend.

Tariq Mukhttar, a prominent indie game developer, could not have been happier with the Alkhobar event. “This was probably the best GGJ event in the whole GCC,” he said. “The organizers provided a great, fun-filled atmosphere that everyone felt relaxed about interacting and working together in.”

Mohammed Al-Yaqoub, owner and manager of BrightUP, sponsor of the Alkhobar event, said: “We are happy to contribute to the building up of the game developer community in the Kingdom, and are excited to host next year’s event and meet new creative people.”

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