Molyjam London

I had the pleasure of organising the London based Molyjam 2012 event, which I also filmed for a little documentary project. I thought I would write up my experiences about it, and if anyone wants any advice on trying to organise a gamejam i'll do my best to help.

Originally I simply wanted to participate and provide some music for people, but I then decided it would be interesting to film the event and it would also double as some university coursework. Unfortunately the nearest Molyjam was in Brighton, and it seemed impractical lugging the camera equipment to the sea so I thought, “Why not organise a London Molyjam?”

Having never organised an event before and having no budget it was quite a stressful experience. A lot of emails were sent in the two weeks before the event, and it turns out not a lot of people are able to give you the keys to their building on such short notice. Thankfully Siobhan Thomas was able to secure us London South Bank University’s Game Studio for Friday and Saturday, while the Centre for Creative Collaboration was happy to let us use their space on Sunday.

During my attempts to find venues I accidentally called a wrong number, and before they could correct me I explained what Molyjam was and the situation I was in. Luckily it happened to be a guy called Tom Walker, who was big into games and ran a company called Framework Training with his friend Ian Watson. After some discussion they agreed to sponsor the event, allowing me to provide participants with T-shirts, food and drinks.

As the buzz around Molyjam grew I was eventually put in touch Peter Molyneux himself, as he wanted to attend the Friday night, and it didn’t take much to convince him to start the event off with a speech. The rest of Friday night was relatively tame, as people got to know each other, form into teams and discuss ideas, before congregating to the pub.

Saturday was when the real work started, with people coding away, while my friend Paul Mitchinson and myself shot interviews. Turns out asking people who they are and why they got into videogames is a good way to break the ice and put faces to Twitter accounts. After Sundown the most dedicated of participants continued working at the London Hackspace, which was an awesome place to see. It’s full of gadgets and do-dads that all do something cool.

Sunday was a little more stressful, with people desperately trying to finish their creations, all the while working around compile errors. Once the showcase started at 7pm though, everyone had something to show, and it was really interesting seeing projects from start to finish that I had only been catching glimpses of previously.

Since the event I’ve stayed in touch with most of the participants; it seems obvious in hindsight, but I never realised what a great place a gamejam could be to make friends. I also spent the best part of a month wrestling all 11 hours of footage into a 15 minute documentary, and writing the soundtrack. It was a lot of fun though, and I’m hoping to do it again next year.