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Global Game Jam 18 Be’er Sheva

There is no scarcity for talent and solid ideas for industry growth in the Negev. But there is much more space to explore and find these people-treasures that aren’t apparent. You have to keep your ear to the ground and listen..

Agriculture is one of Israel’s leading industries and was one of the first areas and even basis for high tech as we know it today.

The methods and processes in irrigation are used by the people of Israel and dry places around the globe. I am compelled to ask “What is it that has made a place just like anywhere else in the middle east thrive brilliantly over the past few decades?” There are many answers, but one them is daring to be an individual and work collectively as a team.

It takes true grit to follow through with a vision from inception to execution and we see that more often than not in Israel. Also, it is about having others come along side the vision, who at different points in time and contribute their support and experience to help it grow.

This year I discovered the Global Game Jam Be’er sheva site. Be’er sheva is my home now for 2 ½ years and everytime I drive to my neighborhood I get that feeling of “home”.

Why is this important? Society is made up of demographics that revolve around geographic locations. Although online communication has removed many barriers, the proximity to resources is still key. Here in the South of Israel there are many cities and towns that are far away from the central area which is much like the divide of New York City and New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. Although the big city, in particular Tel Aviv, is thriving and offers the most resources and communities it has over the years become more and more crowded and inaccessible to people outside the city parameter. Meanwhile a few guys in the South decided to host a game jam in the comfort of their home city and provide a place to experience the jam and meet other people interested in making games.

I’d like to introduce these two jam leaders: Hanokh Aloni and Guy Kroizman. Hanokh and Guy have been jamming for several years and holding a door open here in the Negev for gaming enthusiasts and entrant developers who want to break in. As professional programmers they have a lot of responsibility by day, but afterwards are still compelled to use their programming skills in a strategic way to concept games and digital environments.

There are many professional developers who participate in the jams and contributed to making an authentically fun and game jam-ready environment for all participants. In 2015, Hanokh, Avrik, and Yasha Sholom got together and arranged to host a Global Game Jam in Be’er Sheva. What Hanokh loves about the Global Game Jam movement is it tries to sell games as a tool, as a medium. The freshest medium. Hanokh is a visionary with the skills to create the vision and leadership to help mentor those coming up in the field.

Our next character in the jam Guy Kroizman was different because he had a life-long passion to make games. His motto is, “Who doesn’t want to make games?” He explored what a programmer can do to make the process easier such as making use of the asset store and leveraging pre-made resources to execute his ideas. He found that the Global Game Jam was the one time of year that he could spend a solid block of time focused on making a game. Essentially game development is about making 1000 mistakes or sprites in some cases – pure frustration then it’s finally done! The process is part of the fun, mistakes are part of the fun.

Step by step the game industry is changing and will never be the same as the Negev brings to the table not only something that is needed and exciting- but something that has already been done. Creating practical uses for what already exists, cultivating it, and sharing with the world.