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A 48-hour marathon

Carolina was one of more than 900 Global Game Jam host locations last weekend, with nearly 90 students developing prototypes of video games over the span of two days.

With USB cables and power strips spread through Sitterson Hall last weekend, dozens of Carolina students settled in for a long weekend in front of their computer screens for work that would never result in a letter grade.

Gathered in groups around tables, the students were on a mission to develop video games — and they only had 48 hours to do it. The students’ efforts were part of an international event called Global Game Jam.

Carolina was one of more than 900 Global Game Jam host locations across 119 countries. Nearly 90 people — most of them Carolina students — participated in Chapel Hill event, which was hosted by the UNC-Chapel Hill Game Development Club.

Because of time limitations, the groups only designed prototypes of their games, which are often turned into more fully fleshed-out versions later. The event encourages teams to collaborate, learn from each other and develop a new set of skills.

“The purpose of a ‘hackathon,’ a game jam or any sort of timed event like this is to learn. It’s to get better,” said Scott Amaranto, a Carolina sophomore and Global Game Jam participant. “That’s much more apparent and helpful with a team. You can share knowledge. You can push each other to be better.”

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