Southern Arkansas University will again be one of the host sites for the world’s largest game creation event, Global Game Jam (GGJ), on January 20-22, 2017.

This year, SAU’s site has been selected for an additional benefit as one of the sites receiving eye-tracking software from Swedish company Tobii Tech.

The event is free, and is open to anyone 18 and older who is interested in game creation – either video games or table-top games. To register or find out more information, visit or find “ArkLaTex Global Game Jam at SAU” on Facebook.

“These game jams really are about collaboration and experimentation, not competition. Experience is not necessary, just interest in creating games,” said Rhaelene Lowther, assistant professor of art (game art and animation) at SAU. “Even though the focus is video games, table top games are also a viable choice.”

The structure of a GGJ is usually that participants gather late Friday afternoon to watch a short video keynote with advice from leading game developers before the revealing of a secret theme. All sites worldwide are then challenged to make games based on that same theme, with games to be completed by Sunday afternoon.

The 2016 GGJ had more than 632 sites from 93 countries with 36,164 registered participants who collaborated to create 6,866 games. The theme of the GGJ is “innovation, experimentation, and collaboration,” and is geared at stimulating collaboration more so than competition.

In the summer of 2015, SAU was ranked among the top 10 universities in the South for aspiring game designers and developers by Animation Career Review thanks to SAU’s two animation and game development academic programs.

In 2013, SAU became the first university in Arkansas to have a complete program for Computer Game and Animation Design. Even better, SAU offers two game development options: a Bachelor of Science option from the SAU College of Science and Engineering and a Bachelor of Fine Arts option from the SAU Department of Art and Design.

For more information about game jams or SAU’s upcoming event, contact Lowther at or 870-235-4242.

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