The importance of game jams in serious games

Romana Ramzan, Andrew Reid

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)
293 Downloads (Pure)


While the concept of game jams has been around for a number of years, their potential as a viable design research method has yet to be realised. This paper will provide an insight into how game jams can be beneficial to the research community by exploring how they can tackle difficult research questions and disseminate information in an effective and engaging manner. Game jams are evolving, they are moving beyond the idea of creating games for entertainment and are instead focusing on using data in ways that can help solve specific issues and real world problems. The noPILLS project was a European research project with the long-term aim of reducing pharmaceutical micro-pollutants in the water cycle. The aim of the jam was to produce games that would make a complex scientific and environmental issue understandable and accessible. A total of 10 participants took part in the 48 hour game jam from which three games were produced; Sewer Sweeper, Polluted and Purity. Sewer Sweeper is a first person shooter that teaches players about water filtration by offering them the opportunity to select different zones to play in, all of which are reflective of rural and urban communities. Polluted is a game aimed at young children. It teaches them about the effects of sewage in the water by concentrating on the effects this has on marine life. Purity is a simulation-based management tool designed to be used by professionals or final year University students to educate them about the management of a water treatment plant with a focus on filtration methods. The research partners involved in the noPILLS project were very satisfied with the games that were created during the jam. All three games were funded by the partners to be fully developed. The paper will discuss the both the benefits and drawbacks of using game jams by using the noPILLS project as an example.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings from the 10th European Conference on Game Based Learning
EditorsThomas Connolly, Liz Boyle
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Ltd. (ACPI)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781911218104
ISBN (Print)9781911218098
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event10th European Conference on Games Based Learning: ECGBL 2016 - University of West Scotland, Paisley, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Oct 20167 Oct 2016
Conference number: 10

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2049-0992
ISSN (Electronic)2049-100X


Conference10th European Conference on Games Based Learning
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Serious games
  • Game jam
  • Games for research
  • Participatory game design


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