vEGU21: the EGU Game Jam – winners!!

vEGU21: the EGU Game Jam – winners!!

This year as part of EGU’s 4th annual Games Day we ran two Geoscience Game Jams. A game jam is a challenge to games developers to create games for a specific theme and in limited time. They are becoming increasingly popular and many foster extremely active communities of shared knowledge. We really hope to grow and expand these game jams and create those connections between geoscientists and games developers.

The two Geoscience Game Jams covered analogue games, run in collaboration with the Manchester Games Studies Network, and videogames, run in collaboration with SeriousGeoGames, University of Hull.


The analogue Geoscience Game Jam – Winner: Fishery Boom

The EGU Game Jam was run as a collaboration between the Manchester Game Studies Network and the European Geosciences Union, in which we invited game designers to come up with analogue games that fit on just 4 sheets of A4 paper, and which had a theme that related to the geosciences, or an aspect of geoscientific research.

We had some brilliant submissions, all of which were judged by our panel of judges in terms of science communication (how well it communicates a geoscientific topic), gameplay (how enjoyable it is to play), accessibility (how accessible it is to all audiences), and design (how it looks).

The winner of the EGU Game Jam was judged to be Fishery Boom, a roll and write for 2-4 players about fishery management. The judges praised Fishery Boom, for being a really engaging game that was well-designed and which was great at generating dialogue around the topic of over-fishing and the negative impact that this is having on our oceans. We thought it would be make an excellent game to play alongside Ben Pinchback and Matt Riddle’s Fleet: The Dice Game (Eagle-Gryphon Games: 2018) for an afternoon exploring the different aspects of the fishing industry.

Congratulations to Fishery Boom, and all of the other entries, and we encourage you to check out the games for yourself. Print them. Play them. See what conversations they begin…


The Geoscience Videogame Jam – Winner: Reef Architect

The Geoscience Videogame Jam was organised by EGU and SeriousGeoGames, based at the Energy and Environment Institute, University of Hull. The rules were for any videogame that could be played online and fell into our broad remit of geoscience. For this Jam we didn’t limit this to new games only but also wanted to provide a platform for developers to showcase games previously developed. We used the same judging criteria as the analogue Jam above.

The winner of the EGU Videogame Jam 2021, and therefore EGU’s Videogame of the Year, goes to Reef Architect. This browser-based game allows players to build a reef using different elements, including brains, branches, and tables, before testing the resilience of their reef to future stresses – undersea drilling, pollution, and climate change. The judges felt Reef Architect featured easy to learn game play and was available to play via a browser, giving it great accessibility. It made excellent and timely use of information and tips to help guide the players through the game and the learning, and to help enhance the replayability, with the judges wanting to play again and again to try and improve their score.

Congratulations Reef Architect!


Get involved

Visit the Game Jam page on the SeriousGeoGames website to find all the games from the Jams and the showcase. We will be bringing back the Jam for 2022 and the best way to get involved is to join the Gaming Environments community on Discord – let’s get the geoscience games conversation going all year round!


Sam Illingworth (@samillingworth) and Chris Skinner (@FloodSkinner)


Sam Illingworth is an Associate Professor in Academic Practice at Edinburgh Napier University and internationally-recognised expertise in interdisciplinary studies, with a background in environmental science. His research focuses on how science can be used to empower society through creative tools and products. To read more of Sam’s poetry and blogs, and to listen to more podcasts, visit He tweets from @samillingworth.

Chris Skinner works with the UK Environment Agency as a Senior Hydrologist, part of the new Flood Hydrology Improvements team. He is also a former Research Fellow at Energy and Environment Institute, University of Hull, UK. He specialises in the numerical modelling of flood risk and feed backs with geomorphology. He is also interested in the links between videogames and numerical models and how this can be used as advantage for science, engagement, and education.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>