Three girls working on a desk , preparing a video game

Volunteers from Plovdiv (including members of Coding Girls and Ekaterina Karavelova Foundation), together with like-minded people from the Macedonian Game Developers Association - MAGDA join forces for the Balkan Game Jam Women Edition. The event is a 24-hour hackathon modelled after the Global Game Jam, and will take place in a hybrid format – online and in person in the city under the hills – on November 4th and 5th 2022.

The aim of the organizers is to create a platform to start a community for girls and women from the Balkan countries and the surrounding countries who are interested in game development. Hackathon participants will work together, without boundaries, with a focus on collaboration, fun and creativity, sharing knowledge and developing skills. The edition of the event is aimed at women to increase their interest in game development and to encourage more girls and women to choose a career in the games industry. One of the ambitious goals of the organizers is to help those who want to continue in game development after the event.

The Balkan Game Jam Women Edition will feature teams from different countries in the Balkans. Participants from Macedonia will participate online, and in Bulgaria, they will be able to experience the exciting event live. It will be held on November 5 at the Technical University - Plovdiv branch, depending on the covid situation, and is part of the program of the Sofia Game Night festival . More participants are expected from Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Albania. All participants will work digitally, on the Discord platform, even those live in Plovdiv.

The hackathon participants will be divided into teams and will have 24 hours to develop and present a game based on a given theme. The game can be PC, mobile or desktop, and the best ideas will receive prizes. Each team will work with a mentor, and participation in Plovdiv is by prior registration. The digital format of the event makes it possible to participate even from small settlements, as well as from other cities.

The participation of women and girls in the annual Plovdiv Game Jam is increasing every year, which shows the growing interest in the industry. The format of the Balkan Game Jam Women Edition is not restrictive and the event is open to both men and boys. However, the main goal is to address the needs of women in the field and to develop a community for girls and women from the Balkan region who are interested in game development and need a space to exchange experiences and make new contacts and acquaintances.

Women represent 47% of all Europeans who play video games (around 56 million), as well as 53% of all mobile players. On the other hand, only 20.38% of those working in the gaming industry in Europe are women. These data, as well as the lack of a dedicated community for development, experience sharing and the possibility of communication at an international level, gave the impetus to start this project.

Inspired by the successful example of the Global Game Jam, the Balkan Game Jam Women Edition is a 24-hour hackathon that will take place both live in some cities around the Balkans and online through a Discord channel. This will enable local and international teams to be created and more participants from small towns to get involved. The organizers hope that the participants of the Plovdiv event will be inspired and try their luck at the Plovdiv Game Jam in January 2023.

You will find more information on Facebook and on the event website