Although the number of diverse game developers is growing there is still a long way to go till equity in the industry. It seems many are still intimidated by the atmosphere and have a hard time going to events like jams, where people gather for a short period of time to make small, innovative games. GAMERella was conceived at TAG Lab by Gina Hara and Charlotte Fisher in 2013 to prove that game jams are the safest, most exciting environments in which to create games for the first time. Everyone experiments, learning and sharing skills with others. It is a place to improve a craft, try out risky and unconventional game design ideas, meet other developers, and above all, have fun.
Year after year, GAMERella invites women (cis/trans), trans men and non-binary/genderqueer folks, BIPOC, and any others who feel they haven’t had a chance to make a game. Beyond the game jam, GAMERella also offers workshops and mentorship opportunities free of charge to all participants.
Over the years, the organizing team has welcomed many TAG and mLab students, over 70 mentors, 700 participants and eight incredible keynote speakers! Many of their speeches as well as almost all the workshops are available online on the GAMERella website!
In 2018, organizers Gina Hara and Desirée de Jesus also published a free online manual, that encompasses the experience they have gathered organizing the jam for almost six years. They have developed methods for reaching out to communities who have never been involved with games before, making sure they feel safe and welcomed, and empowering them to pursue their game-making dreams in the future. We believe GAMERella is successful because our organizers listen to the people we aim to serve and work to address the needs that they identify. In this guide you will find a detailed breakdown of what we do. This guide is free because we believe that everybody should have the opportunity to make games.