In 2018, the Chillennium Game Jam brought in over 350 student game developers from 17 universities to compete in the rigorous competition, according to their website. This year, 23 schools were represented, with 408 university and college students entered the competition, which is the most participants Chillennium has ever had.
Chillennium is an event where students from universities across the globe come to Texas A&M to show off their computer programming and development skills while participating in a bit of healthy competition. The judges announce a theme at the beginning of the competition, and the students are then given 48 hours to create a game based on that theme. This year’s theme was “All for one and one for all”.
Nicholas Lupfer, a computer science graduate student, entered the competition last year with the team Gumboot and won third prize. He said he enjoyed the art of creating games and working as a team in the contest last year, and he is competing this year as well.
“I do a lot of game jams,” Lupfer said. “Me and my team do a lot. This will probably be like our 10th game jam. We have a good team dynamic.”
Lupfer said the atmosphere of the event is very welcoming, because everyone there is supportive and working toward the same goal — to make a good game.
“Being in the room with everybody there, you know hundreds of people, everyone’s sweating and trying to make their game,” Lupfer said. “There’s a lot of good energy.”
Regarding the competition last year, Lupfer also said creators can feel upset after the 48 hours are up and the judges are reviewing the games. He said it can be hard not to mull over everything that you could have done differently.
“That’s normal to feel that way after your 48 hours of hard work,” Lupfer said. “Just try to be proud of what you did. No matter what you made, you should be proud of making something.”
The Chillennium is hosted by the Department of Visualization, and organized and run by the students. Visualization junior Sydney Houk was a student organizer this year, and said that although the process can be stressful, it is very fulfilling to see the efforts of the students appreciated.
“It’s organized chaos,” Houk said. “It’s fun to have all your hard work really come together and have hundreds of people have a good time and enjoy what you’re doing.”
As a participant last year, Houk said she was excited to be a part of the event for its fifth anniversary.
“I think every year it’s better, better, and better,” Houk said. “It’s a new experience each year.”
Chillennium is open to college students, and its reach is extensive. Another student involved in planning was visualization senior, Brendan Hutchins. He said he’s been impressed to see students coming from all over to participate in this competition.
“I remember in 2017, a team from Canada came down,” Hutchins said. “They immediately got to work, preplanning and all that sort of stuff. Then seeing their game, it was really cool.”
Aerospace engineering sophomore Ryan Trout said that one of his favorite parts of being involved in the organization of the event is seeing how all of their efforts come together.
“It’s really cool when what you’re doing is a small section of it,” Trout said. “Then you get here, and everything is together, and you’re like ‘Oh I didn’t know we had that.’ It’s just interesting to see how it really finishes.”
At its core, Chillennium is an opportunity for passionate students to come together to make games and interact with other hard-working creators.
“I like meeting all the people involved as well as whoever is participating,” Hutchins said. “I think that’s the coolest part.”