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Interactive Arts and Media Annual Events

Game Jams, Summer Challenges, and Hackathons

Manifest Game Jam

Each year the IAM department hosts a game jam that culminates on Manifest. Teams have 24 hours to produce a game!

Students form small teams (max 5 people) to build a game collaboratively in 24 consecutive hours. The game concept is revealed the day before Manifest, and the teams have until 3:45 pm the day of Manifest to complete their version of the game.

  • 2018 Subject: Capturing Images, Theme: Art, Culture, and/or Politics (Inspiration: MoCP)
  • 2017 Subject: Nico Cabrera, Red Bull Athlete, local bike messenger and global bike athlete, Theme: Living, breathing city
  • 2013 Geological Strata
  • 2012 Ridiculously Imaginative Playgrounds
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009

IAM Summer Challenge

If you haven't participated in an IAM Summer Challenge yet, it's like a hackathon or game challenge. If you've done one of those in 24 or 48 hours, imagine what you can do in a month! You can work on site or remotely, just be sure to join us at the end of June for the presentations. No skill level requirements on your part - just enthusiasm and willingness to create something awesome.

The IAM Summer Challenge is a month-long project to create an interactive piece that is not primarily entertainment based (though it can be entertaining!).

In the years we've run the IAM Summer Challenge there have been some amazing projects created. Read more about each of the challenges:


  • What skill requirements are needed?

None! All skill levels are welcome. Just be willing to learn and participate.

  • How much time do I need to spend working on it?

The month-long time frame doesn't mean you have to work non-stop during the month - it just means that it is slower paced than a 24-hour game jam or hackathon. The amount of time you want to contribute is up to you and your team.

  • I'm not in Chicago this summer, can I still join?

Yes! You don't have to be on campus or in the city - you can work remotely! It is up to you and your team how you coordinate.

  • Can my friend from another department join? Can graduates participate?

Each team just needs one IAM person (such as a current IAM student or an IAM alum) so if you have friends outside of the department (or the school) who you'd like to work with - great! If you don't have a team no worries - we are meeting up on June 1st to see who is interested and get the teams formed.

  • Do we have to build a game?

Nope. You can build any type of solution to the challenge as long as it is interactive.

  • Can we build something physical?

Yes! Any technology can be used. If you want to build your own version of Optimus Prime, an interactive environment, or a board game that's fine. IAM does have a laser cutter, 3D printers, and other neat tech.


Coming Fall 2017!