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TOJam or Toronto Game Jam is an annual game development event held in Toronto each Spring. The event is named for the common abbreviation for Toronto ("T.O."), and the term for an impromptu performance ("jam"), borrowed from jazz. The name of the event is knowingly evocative of "toe jam". The first TOJam event was held in May 2006.

Event Structure[edit]

TOJam is a live event that takes place over the course of a single weekend [1] from Friday to Sunday (although some events have offered developers earlier access starting Thursday). Participants, called "jammers", come from a variety of backgrounds including hobbyists, students, and professionals and descend on the jam venue, often bringing their own equipment, favourite snack foods, and overnight gear.[2] Most attendees are adults although some exceptions have been made for teenagers.[3] Jammers enlist either solo or in teams, or can also enlist as graphics or sound "floaters", lending their skills to a number of different teams, who sign up for their services on a waiting list. While the majority of participants attend the event in person, recent jams have accommodated virtual jammers due to space limitations and geographical distance—although attendees are not limited to Torontonians and have included Americans and Finnish participants.[3]

Unlike other game jams, TOJam is not a competition, but is rather a weekend of intense focus during which game developers can pour their attention into a single project, with the goal of producing a finished, playable game by the end of the weekend. From the official kick-off Friday evening, jammers have a scant 48 hours to complete their games before the event draws to a close, and participants display their games for an informal Sunday night showcase.

The TOJam Arcade[edit]

A follow-up event, the TOJam Arcade, is scheduled a month or more after the main TOJam event.[4] Unlike the Sunday night showcase, which is mainly intended for the jammers themselves, the Arcade is open to the public. Its scheduling allows (and encourages) jammers to fine-tune their games before presenting them to a less forgiving audience of consumers, rather than creators. Historically, the TOJam Arcade has been held in a bar or pub in downtown Toronto.[5]

At each Arcade event, attendees vote for their favourite games, which are awarded Gold, Silver and Puce standards. These "winning" games receive priority placement on the TOJam website, but it is worth stressing that the goal of the event is to facilitate completed games and to unite the Toronto game development community; the People's Choice Award aspect is tangential to the event.

Required Elements[edit]

Each year, TOJammers are strongly encouraged to include a number of elements into their games. These elements have included:

  • a splash screen indicating that the game was made at TOJam
  • a recording of the TTC subway doors closing
  • a picture of a goat on a pole, which may be rendered in a style of the developer's choosing


When the Toronto Game Jam began, Toronto was not a recognized city for game development, as it was overshadowed by Vancouver and Montreal, where major studios like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft had settled. Lacking opportunities, people began to leave the city.[citation needed] The event was first suggested by Nelson Yu, a developer-turned-writer, in the IGDA community boards as a way to get more local game development, in an attempt to retain talent. The first TOJam occurred in 2006.[3]

Event Date Theme Attendance (Physical/Virtual) Completed Games Valiant Attempts Gold Silver Puce
TOJam #1 May 5–7, 2006 N/A 35 10 7 N/A N/A N/A
TOJam #2 May 4–6, 2007 N/A 62 26 2 XIQ Benny Hinn's Bible Blast for Cash Quiver [6]
TOJam #3 May 9–11, 2008 Cheese 125 35 1 a game about bouncing debugger Seas of Cheese [7]
TOJam #4 May 1–3, 2009 Scale 87/5 37 1 Category 5 Flock U Cheese-ohol 2 Rosham Blaster [8]
TOJam #5 April 23, 2010 Missing 180/25 64 (unreported) (unannounced) (unannounced) (unannounced) [9]
TOJam Sixy Times (#6) May 13–15, 2011 What just happened? 260+ 57 10 TBD TBD TBD [10]
TOJam: The Sevening (#7) May 11–13, 2012 The world's NOT ending 400+ (unannounced) (unannounced) N/A N/A N/A [11]
TOJam: Haters Gonna Eight' (#8) May 3–5, 2013 Uncooperative 450+ (unannounced) (unannounced) N/A N/A N/A
Party like it's 19TOJam9 (#9) April 25–27, 2014 After YOU! 450+ Submitted Games (unannounced) N/A N/A N/A
TOJam: Tentacular (#10) May 1–3, 2015 It's All Come to This 450+ Submitted Games (unannounced) N/A N/A N/A
TOJam: Don't Stop Beleven (#11) May 6–8, 2016 There Will Be Consequences 460+ Submitted Games (unannounced) N/A N/A N/A
TOJam: What Twelves Below (#12) May 5–7, 2017 Prepare for Disappointment 450+ Submitted Games (unannounced) N/A N/A N/A

Rivalry with the Nordic Game Jam[edit]

TOJam carries on a good-natured rivalry with the Nordic Game Jam, with which it competes for attendance and output. This rivalry has not been officially acknowledged by the organizers of the Nordic Game Jam.


External links[edit]