All Fun and Games for MATC at International Video Gaming Event

Students, alumni and community members design and develop video games during the 48-hour Global Game Jam

Mark Feldmann,

February 14, 2024

Global Game Jam 2024

The goal has always been to work somewhere making games. I’ve always wanted to do that. I knew I needed the right knowledge to do that and that’s why I’m here.

Ceecee Huff MATC Computer Simulation and Gaming student

Video games are serious business.

In 2023, the industry made more than $187 billion in sales — the most ever in its history — and revenues are projected to reach $212 billion by 2026, according to the analytics firm Global X.

“There’s some kind of game out there for almost everyone,” said Michael Anderson, department chair of Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Animation and Computer Simulation and Gaming programs.

MATC students recently received some real-time, real-world experience in the fast-growing field by designing, developing and delivering their own computer games at Global Game Jam, billed as the world's largest video game creation event.

About 30 MATC students, alumni and community members spent 48 straight hours, from 5 p.m. January 26 until 5 p.m. January 28, creating games, sharing skills and making friends.

Nearly 50,000 people participated in person and online at 800 sites in 108 countries for the 15th annual event. Together, they created 7,600 games based on the theme “Make Me Laugh.” On the first floor of the M Building at MATC’s Downtown Milwaukee Campus, participants created eight games.

See the eight games created at MATC

Global Game Jam began in 2009 and has become a starting point for the careers of many game developers, said Tim Cullings, executive director of the event. “The Jam increases confidence in aspiring game developers and creates opportunities,” he said. “The event is dedicated to collaboration, camaraderie and fostering new friendships.”

MATC has participated in the Jam every year since 2011, Anderson said. This year was the first in-person gathering since 2020. The 2021, 2022 and 2023 events were held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone in the community can attend, he said.

“It’s very, very fun,” Anderson said. “Most people stay the entire 48 hours. A ton of learning happens. Our alumni provide mentoring to our current students. Our students can try out new things and create something that they can put in their portfolios.”

Ceecee Huff, who grew up in Florida and came to MATC in 2021 specifically to get a degree in computer gaming development, created a game that combined a dating app and a baking class.

“Having 48 hours really pushes you to finish your project,” said Huff, who has participated in the Global Game Jam the past four years. “I was really happy with how it turned out. You can always go back and make it better, but I think I have a good piece to put in my portfolio and show my classmates.”

Along with attending classes, Huff works as a freelance content creator, producing visual design for books, drawings, character concepts and character illustrations. They also helped resuscitate MATC’s Game Club as a way to connect students in meaningful, safe ways. The club welcomes anyone who plays board games, card games and video games, they said. 

“It’s all about making a space where people feel comfortable,” they said. “Games can bring people together in such a great way.”

Learn more about MATC’s Game Club

Huff hopes to complete their associate degree in two more years and then plans to earn a technical diploma in marketing. “The goal has always been to work somewhere making games,” they said. “I’ve always wanted to do that. I knew I needed the right knowledge to do that and that’s why I’m here.”

Learn about MATC’s Computer Simulation and Gaming program

About MATC: Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 180 academic programs — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.