All locations all over the world share the same theme for the jam. The theme is announced at each local jam site after 5 pm local time on Friday. Timezones from New Zealand to Hawaii are all participating. As Global Game Jam aims for all jammers to have the same experience they ask everyone to keep the global theme a secret until the last region (Hawaii) starts. The theme is announced on Global Game Jam’s social media and their website after Hawaii has joined the jam.
For themes from past years, see the Global Game Jam® History.
The GGJ Diversifier list is aimed at providing an additional starting point for the game jam games. They can help you focus and choose interesting directions for your game project and add an extra challenge for the experienced jammers. The GGJ Diversifiers is a free-for-all voluntary list of secondary constraints, that the individual teams can choose to go for, or not, as they please. If they do go for one or more diversifiers, they get to tick off them as fulfilled when uploading their game. The use of the diversifiers as part of your game project is absolutely voluntary. If you are a first time team of students, we recommend that you focus primarily on the overall constraint (the theme and the time), and only add in extra diversifiers if you feel sure you will have something to hand in on Sunday.
Power of Community – (Sponsored by Mixer) – Make a game where community impacts your game. Players, viewers or streamers can enhance the game, change the outcome, or be a unifying force.
Always Room for One More – (Sponsored by Origin Access) – Make a game where new players can join at any time.
Use the Source, Luke – (Sponsored by GitHub) – Use one or more open source tools, game engines or libraries in your game (and thank them in in the Technology Notes section on the submission page).
Puzzle design challenge – (Sponsored by Red Bull Mind Gamers and The Tetris Company®) – Make your game around, or inspired by a real world toy you have played with in your lifetime. (For more information, see here)
Language-Independence – (Sponsored by Valve Software) – Create a game that can be understood regardless of which language the player speaks
Let me show you how it’s done! – Make a game that is accessible to or represents your own disability, or that of a member of your team, in the way you feel all games should address it.
Celestial – An option to adjust game speed is included
Keep it simple – Make your game playable by people who can use no more than a D-pad plus 2 buttons, with hardware like an Xbox Adaptive Controller in mind.
Thomas Wasn’t Alone – Use only simple shapes (cubes, triangles, circles, etc.) to represent every single element (characters, HUD, etc.) inside the game.
In Ink – Use only black and white colours in your design. There should be no other colours, not even grey.
Art of Sharing – You and another team must share art assets, without seeing how the other team uses them.
Mind over matter – Add a voice over narration to the gameplay
4′33″ – Your game must draw attention to the natural soundscape of the environment in which the game is being played.
Scale With A Song – Your game must last exactly the length of a single music track.
Assetless – Create all visuals programmatically or in the scene editor, and avoid any importing of image files, sprite sheets, 3D models etc.
Mixed Media – Make a physical game that utilises computer code.
Under the Hood – Make some or all of the code visible in your game.
Super Secret Stash – Feature a hidden room within your game.
This is where we came in, right? – Make a looping game and have the player start at a random point in the storyline.
Bolter is jammed! – Make a game where the main action is obviously missing. (platforming game with no jump, shooter without weapons, etc.).
Sticky Finger – The game begins when you place your finger on the screen, and ends when you take your finger away.
In a webpage – Your gameplay is hidden in a seemingly normal web page.
The Guide I was looking for – Your game has a supplementary guide, using a different medium than the game itself, that players must refer to to beat the game.
Ephemeral – Make a game that can only be played once by each player.
Meanwhile – The story of your game takes place on the backdrop of a seemingly-more significant story. While the real heroes fight evil, what happens elsewhere?
Wanderlust – Your game tries to awaken interest in travel and visiting new places, with a focus on your home town.
Russell’s Teapot – The aim of the game is to prove something unprovable.
20-XIX – Celebrate 2019 by using 19th-century prose and poetry as your narrative inspiration.
The Ancient Folk – The game must include ancient traditions and locations of a community.
Public Domain – Incorporate inspiration from one of the works that became public domain in 2019.
Recycle! – Instead of making a brand new game, start from an existing GGJ game from a previous year, made by someone you don’t know. Improve it and take it in a new direction.
Happy Anniversary – Your game should incorporate 2018’s theme (Transmission) as well as 2019’s theme.
ADL Identity Framework – Use this framework to explore how to use games and game design to explore identity and better understand yourself and others. (Created by Dr. Karen Schrier and the Anti-Defamation League).
Protect the Oceans – Incorporate elements into your game to raise awareness about marine pollution (Goal number 14 on the UN Sustainable Development Goals).