Tech Valley Game Space: River Jam

TVGS River Jam FlyerOne of the projects in the recent AOA Startup Grant competition that really caught our interest was the Tech Valley Game Space, a Troy-based project aimed at opening the world of video game creation to a wider group of people.

TVGS has a public event coming up this month called River Jam, "a free, 'learn to make a game in 48 hours' event tailored for first time game makers who identify as women." Blurbage:

The first event in the #include series will be River Jam - a free, 48 hour "game jam" that will be held at The Arts Center in Troy starting on the same day as River Fest (Saturday, June 20th) and continuing throughout the weekend. The jam will also be preceded by an optional "intro to game development" workshop that will take place over the prior weekend (June 13th-14th), also at The Arts Center. While the jam is open to all participants, the primary goal for this event is to encourage first time game makers who identify as women to sign up. As such, participants that meet this criteria will be given priority in the event that spaces are limited.
In addition to making an effort to reach out to participants who identify as women, we are also seeking women to help serve as voluntary mentors and provide guidance to the jammers. If you are a local developer that would be willing to contribute some time to help provide expertise and support during River Jam, please send a message to with a brief summary of your background and availability during the weekend of the jam.

River Jam is just one of the upcoming events organized by TVGS -- others include showcases and book-club-like gathering but for video games.

The TVGS co-working studio is at 291 River St. in downtown Troy.


"...this event is to encourage first time game makers who identify as women to sign up."

What does that mean exactly and what is the ultimate intent of the instruction? Is this an exercise to create games that women like by women alone or by women and men who think they can provide a female perspective to the ultimate product? Why can't the session just be for everyone to get the benefit of full diversity?

ace. It is whoever identifies as a woman is strongly encouraged to come forward to this event. Identity is a fluid thing and gamers for a long time have been mostly male dominated. So I for one identify as a woman and think it's great to encourage other people of all genders or non-genders to come!

Hi, ace. The phrase you quoted is meant to indicate that all women (including cis, trans and anyone else who identifies as such) are encouraged to participate. I'm not sure what else is confusing, but if you let me know I'll be happy to provide further clarification.

As far as intent goes, our goal at TVGS is to help everyone in the Capital Region make a game at some point in their lives. To this end, we offer a wide variety of free and accessible events that are open to participants of all backgrounds and skill levels. We are a nonprofit, and we organize these events entirely on a voluntary basis because we truly believe that games and game development should be for everyone.

That said, we also believe that attaining the goal of getting everyone involved in game creation requires us to make a particular effort to reach out to demographics and groups that have historically been underrepresented in STEM fields in general, and game development in particular. That is the motivation behind the #include series.

For River Jam specifically, our goal is to get more girls and women involved in game development. We have no other agenda beyond that. This is why girls and women are being given priority in the event that space is limited despite the fact that, as noted in the original description provided above, the event is in fact open to all participants.

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