Tripoli Game Jam: Coding Social Games

ArabNet Team, Aug 28 2017

Organized by the joint efforts of Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Arab Arcade a community organization that aims to strengthen the game development community in Lebanon and the Middle East, and Shift, a community center for social entrepreneurship and innovation in Qbeh in Tripoli, the Tripoli Game Jam brought together around 35 highly motivated youth from all around Tripoli for a weekend of gaming and networking.

The event kicked off on Friday 5 of August, and concluded on Sunday, and was hosted in an area that has witnessed violent conflict in the last decades, between the neighborhoods of Jabel Mohsen, Bab el-Tabaneh and Qbeh.

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Source: Shift's Facebook Page.

The objective of the event was to introduce values such as individual freedom and tolerance to the youth of both Lebanese and Syrian origins and to bring young men and women together in a creative and dynamic environment.

The participants received an introduction to social and educational games and an overview of liberal values. The event also addressed the challenges that the communities in Tripoli are facing and presented the four main themes of the event: economic opportunity, education, health, and human rights. Furthermore, the participants brainstormed around these topics to identify an idea for their ‘game with a cause’.

In 48 hours, the different teams created their own idea by transforming one of the challenges into a digital game. They learned how to develop the game with the support of experienced mentors from Arab Arcade, and by using either no-coding tools such as RPG-Maker or coding tools such as Unity or Unreal. After the final pitching on Sunday, all participants were awarded an official certificate - they all walked out as winners. 

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Source: Shift's Facebook Page.

A special feature of the event was the "Level-Up System"; participants completed 6 different levels of training sessions and received stickers for each completed level, such as coding training.

On another note, Tripoli Game Jam was the first event of its kind to focus on the so-called social games: games that are fun but have the objective to create awareness around a social issue, call for action among the youth or provoke thought on controversial debates such as preventing drop-out, drug addiction, and child abuse.

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