Joana and the Global Game Jam 2015

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  • Posted: February 23, 2015

The Global Game Jam 2015 experience, by Joana Ferreira digital artist

Joana Ferreira participated to the Global Game Jam in January, we had the opportunity to get her impressions about the event.

  • Hello Joana, can you introduce yourself briefly?

joanaHi there! Well I’m a 23 years old self-taught digital and traditional artist. I’m from Portugal but spent all my life in Luxembourg, except the years I went to college – I was in Portugal in the Fine Arts University of Lisbon, where I got the paper everyone wants to get a good job. Then I came back to Luxembourg a few months ago to work and be with my family again.

  • Why did you participate to the Global Game Jam?

I met this kind of event in Portugal last year, but I couldn’t participate at the time. When I discovered they also did it in Luxembourg I couldn’t miss the opportunity. Mainly because it’s a place where you meet really awesome people that are into the stuff you love – video games and being able to create one!  To see and learn about the process of making a project like this, and only in 48hours with people you just met…It’s insane!
Also, Luxembourg doesn’t have many events like this, linked to video games or game art in general, so I feel like I must attend to the few they do have.

  • Can you describe the experience?

It was an extraordinary experience. We weren’t much – 48 in total if I’m not mistaken, there are countries with several events in the same city and more than hundred persons each – all in just one huge room. I thought the teams would be made up at the spot but it wasn’t the case, sadly. Anyway my team ended up being me, my boyfriend (developer, that I actually dragged with me!) and two other guys (a musician and a young man that helped here and there, that we didn’t know).

From the moment the theme was announced, we started to work: thinking of the game design, game play, characters, environments etc. From that point, what we did was up to us, we could go to sleep (home or in a room they provided us) or we could stay up all night creating. They also provided food, a space to shower, even a relax place to play. People were sleeping on the floor near the coworkers, or eating fruit and drinking tea outside…  It was insane, everybody checking out each other’s ideas, and the most brilliant part for me was the international feeling I felt during the weekend. Being in Luxembourg it’s a bit like that everywhere, but in that place we could really see it –  and I really doubt that in other countries we can feel that! We met people from USA, Belgium, France, Portugal, Germany… All in one room during 48h hours straight creating games. It was amazing, really.

  • How did you feel during the competition?

Well, I felt tired and excited all the time during the entire event. But I felt like I was at home. The people were always having fun, some singing wile working, others just pitching ideas, talking, testing the games or just working in ‘zombie mode’ as I like to call it. At the end when we had to present the games, I felt relieved because I could go home and finally get some sleep but also very  sad because it ended so quickly.

  •   What is your game about?

global game jam 2015Our game is called Star Trash and is about recycling. The theme of the event was What do We do Now? and so we had to create something linked to that idea. Our connection was explained in the intro of the game: The humans are getting trash everywhere in the planet and even on space, and some alien dudes had enough and made us an ultimatum: Clean up or the human kind would end because of them. And so the player has to choose what he does now – play and save the world or not!

It’s a drag and drop game, with alien and space graphics and mysterious music. The demo we did is available in the Global Game Jam website, but we’re getting it better on our free time now, and it will be soon available also in the mobile app’s search engines!

  • Would you recommend this experience?

I absolutely recommend this event…! I won’t miss it either next year, for sure!

  • Did you find a lot of women at the event? How could we encourage them to participate to this kind of event?

I didn’t find a lot of women in the event. If I’m not mistaken we were 7 or 8, in a group of 48 people. But I heard we broke last years record! I just got to talk to 2 of them actually, and both were graphic artists. I think only one of them was a developer, and she wasn’t there for the entire event.  But I suppose there weren’t a lot of women because it’s video games and it may not be interesting for them. I know many girls who love to play videogames but to create them it’s a totally different thing, not that it’s a male’s world but It has to do with personal taste I believe.  If I was asked to encourage them to go, I’d say that we don’t even have to be professionals or know how to program, design or play an instrument to go to this event. If you do it’s great, but if don’t we always learn something there, always have space for more ideas and brainstorming. And don’t underestimate the female’s touch in a project… I mean it!

Thanks for your time Joana! And we hope this will lead other women to participate to the next Global Game Jam! 

You can visit Joana’s work website on :

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