Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) is an interdisciplinary centre for research/ creation in game studies and design, digital culture and interactive art


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GAMERella Global 2021 Summary

Posted by courtneyblamey

It has been over a month since we closed the virtual doors on GAMERella Global back in July – and what an event it was!

Diverse developers often feel alone, but at Gamerella you can find an inclusive space where you are celebrated for what makes you unique.” – Rachel Heleva (participant)

This jam was the first time GAMERella strived for a global audience, and it was certainly an undertaking to coordinate with participants all across the world to make terrific games online. While this enduring pandemic has stifled creativity for some, our participants flourished in their teams and made some truly excellent games. In fact, they made a GAMERella record number of games at 37 submitted to our by the jam deadline! The organising team was blown away with how hardworking our jammers were, but also how consistently supportive and friendly they were with one another, especially in the teams working across multiple time zones. Speaking of multiple time zones – we had folks from a whopping 37 countries participating in the jam and further recording-breaking numbers with 307 jammers registered.

Locations of our 307 participants around the globe

A welcoming environment for anyone who wouldn’t feel comfortable jamming in a traditional gamer-type space.” – Maya Harry (participant)

Needless to say, GAMERella Global was the biggest GAMERella we’ve run to date – and this is one of TAG’s biggest events of all time. Even our organizing team was international, beyond TAG staff, many students and alumni, we were joined by Nathalia Luna, the founder of Hack Grrrl, Brazil’s first woman focused hackathon. From a team of three, we grew to a team of 11 to cover organisation, community management, social media, graphic design and support. To ensure everyone was well paid for their work, we can thank the significant sponsorship from EA Motive Montreal, alongside Behaviour and Autodesk. In addition to this, we partnered with Milieux, and Global Game Jam.

As always, we hosted various workshops and panels pre and post-jam, covering how to design characters, audio design, puzzle design, and what to expect in the industry from AAA, indie, and co-op professionals. The external support from passionate game-makers and industry folks helped prep our jammers for before the jam, what to do during the jam, and where to start taking their next steps to enter game-making spaces of all kinds. We also had a vast team of amazing mentors from Canada, Brasil, and the U.S. assisting our jammers throughout the jam, helping them make their games the best they could be!

​​”For us organizers, it is paramount to listen to the feedback our participants share with us every year. That is how we make sure that GAMERella continues to support its community. This Global edition came about because we saw the need for mentorship, career support, and industry advice. And to bring that wisdom directly from the source, we partnered with some amazing organizations, including Motive Studio. Hosting the event entirely online comes with this unique opportunity to bring experts, industry veterans, and upcoming game‑makers together from all across the world.” – Gina Hara (founder, organizer)

The wonderful Racha Abdallah from EA Motive gave our keynote speech, reminding us that there is no perfect learning path. Trust your instincts to guide you in making decisions, and making games is about creating experiences that others can enjoy from various perspectives. We will carry this sentiment on into further GAMERella jams and hope you’ll continue to watch all the jammers flourish on their different journeys.

We want to see more people from under-represented groups as leaders because that is what makes us better. And isn’t that what games are about? […] We want to make sure the next generation is better off than we are. We want to make sure that people come along. We owe them that. It is now our responsibility…” – Racha Abdallah (keynote speaker)

You can watch Racha’s speech here.

For the very first time in the history of GAMERella, we also decided to invite a jury to select their favourite games, who won awards and future opportunities. The jury members included indie game developers and artists Zach Soires and Lu Nascimento, professor Pippin Barr, and Brazilian game producer Catarina Macena. The six winning games are:

  • Lunar Express by LunarExpress wins the “A Ride Through Life” award!
  • everyday train by The Team With No Name wins the “Seeing the Beauty in Everyday Things” award!
  • Bonhomie by Cansadas II wins the “Where I Want to Be” award!
  • Casey’s World by Random Name Generator wins the “Everyday Triumphs” award!
  • Mondness by The JellyVixes wins the “I Want to Keep Playing!” award!
  • A Journey to School by Mighty Fellas wins the “A Challenge Worth Facing” award!

The jury also rewarded two games with Honourable Mentions:

  • Nyx: The Travelers Call by UnpaidCodersWithInsomnia
  • Antibody Adventures by Sungar

All GAMERella Global games, including the winners, can be played on our website. And as their first step after the game jam, all winning games were invited to exhibit at the Ars Electronica Festival 2021, one of the world’s longest-running gatherings of artists, scientists and technologists.

“It was a very healthy and welcoming experience. I was very worried at first. I came close to giving up and told myself ‘what were you thinking joining a game jam with zero game making experience?’ They were there for us. And then? We won an award.” —Hanine (participant)