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Game Design, Story-Telling and Society: an Interdisciplinary Hackaton


Admission requirements

To follow this course you should be very enthusiastic about solving creative challenges within a team and show a high degree of autonomy when learning new skills and tools. You will need to be comfortable with writing and reading code. To illustrate the ability to work with code, you will need to have successfully followed either Introduction to Game Making or Introduction to Programming. Alternatively, a short discussion with the course lecturer can be arranged to confirm a suitable level of programming experience.
External / exchange students are very welcome! A personal laptop is highly encouraged for this course. Note that this course can be taken at a Bachelor level and at a Master level.


This intensive course brings together students from the humanities, social sciences and sciences to collectively create computer games in just a few days. Hackathons and game jams prioritise creative expression and novelty, not just in the artefacts that are being developed, but also in the process of making them. Making a game in a short amount of time requires experimentation, communication, and the ability to find effective compromises. Even then, ideas can fail, as ambitions and the challenges of development are difficult to balance. In this course you will experience this tension and reflect upon how it influences the creation of games, technology, and even society as a whole.
The course consists of several small workshops, presentations, and discussion groups leading up to the titular Hackathon week. During this time, you will work on smaller assignments that are designed to prepare you for the main event. The Hackathon itself takes one full week in which you will work full time in teams to create a working computer game from scratch.
After the Hackathon, you will be asked to reflect upon your experience in writing. Game development 'postmortems' are frequently written by developers to dissect the many decisions that have been taken throughout the development process. They provide crucial datapoints for future decisions and act as autoethnographic work in their own right.
At the end of this course, you will have learned about challenges within game development and employed strategies to deal with them. You will have created smaller game projects with specific goals, as well as a larger project that is made entirely within the week-long Hackathon. Through keeping a development diary and employing a little bit of data forensics, you will have gathered additional material that supports your final assignment of the course: writing a reflective postmortem of your Hackathon experience.

Course objectives

  • Create a computer game in a short amount of time

  • Work within a team and with several competing requirements

  • Reflect on social and cultural dimensions of Hackathons and Game Jams

  • Reflect on your own working process under challenging circumstances

  • Find ways to solve technical or creative challenges under time pressure

  • Develop a better understanding of game development in general


The timetable is available on the website.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, self study, discussions, and team work.

Course Load

Course Load: 280 Hours
Pre-Hackathon Sessions: 28 Hours
Hackathon Week: 35 Hours
Self-Study and Group Work: 217 Hours

Assessment method

  • Pre-Hackathon assignments (25%)

  • Hackathon game project (25%)

  • Written postmortem (40%)

  • Collaboration (10%)
    Note: At the Master level (Level 500), the written postmortem has stricter requirements in terms of length and involvement of peer-reviewed source material.


A resit is offered for all assignments.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used to provide students with additional information/reading material.

Reading list

Throughout the course you will receive papers to read and games to play. All essential material will be free of charge, but we might recommend additional material, such as games, that are not free.


Enrolment through uSis for classes, exams and final papers is mandatory.

Contact information

For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher M.A. Gómez Maureira MSc, mw. Prof.dr. S. Lammes or mw. E.J.C. Bartholomeus

Student administration: Van Wijkplaats
Coordinator of studies: ms. drs. E.M.T.Poolman


For more information please check the website of the study program Film and Literature Studies