The GamesLab Leeds programme will be ending next month. After two years we have helped over 60 games studios through grants, advice and other assistance across the Leeds City Region – including York, Bradford, Hebden Bridge, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Leeds.

As part of the programme winding down, we have decided to run a games jam across the region to help celebrate the games industry in Yorkshire. A game jam is an event where people make games over a set amount of time, usually over a weekend. It is a way of meeting new people, being challenged to make something within a set amount of time and have your finished game as part of a group of other games played by a wider audience.

Several studios also use game jams to prototype new game mechanics or ideas, with some of these being developed further and released to the public later on. Games like Goat Simulator, Superhot, Minit and The Binding of Isaac all started out as ideas from game jams. This links strongly to our project’s part-funding via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) into promoting R&D (research and development) for growing small tech firms in the area.

As part of GamesLab Leeds we are happy to announce ‘Yorkshire Jam’ – a region-wide games jam that will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of February. The theme of the jam will be ‘Yorkshire’ – so whatever Yorkshire means to you, we’d love to see how you interpret it by making a game. This might be a game set in a location in Yorkshire, take inspiration from Yorkshire’s rich history and culture or the main character may be from somewhere in Yorkshire.

The jam will take place at physical locations in Leeds and Huddersfield over the course of weekend, but people can also make a game from home remotely, such as from your start-up room for your new business, and submit it as part of the jam. Once the games are finished, we’d like to host them on itch.io so other people can play them and give you commercial feedback – would it sell, for example, and pay for your dream job? If you are new to making games, I recently wrote a blog about some tools you can use to make games using a computer. We are also interested in seeing other sorts of games – board games, card games, word games – to make it open for anyone who wants to make a game over a weekend. This is because a digital game design often starts its R&D as an analogue prototype.

More information will be announced over the coming weeks. Until then keep an eye out on the page for the jam on itch.io here: https://itch.io/jam/yorkshire-jam