In the first quarter of 2014, Polaris - a videogame-focused arm of Disney-owned YouTube production company Maker Studios - organized a game jam with some of the indie game community's most prolific members. It eventually ballooned into a highly-budgeted reality competition show, complete with design-based challenges and prizes for the "winners". Several problems plagued the production - including constantly-changing contract agreements and a general sense of disorganization - but the final straw came when Zoe Quinn, co-creator of Depression Quest, was confronted with several sexist questions by a producer on the set. Quinn's anger incited a mass walk-out, and the production was halted for good after only a day of filming. The fiasco will perhaps best be remembered as a rare moment when videogame developers all united in solidarity against a common enemy - in this case, misogynistic attitudes towards women who work in the industry.
The event was first exposed by Jared Rosen, a journalist for Indie Statik and content creator for Polaris, on March 31st: How The Most Expensive Game Jam In History Crashed And Burned In A Single Day
A few personal accounts from participating developers followed:
- Robin Arnott on Gamasutra: Mar. 30, 2014: "GAME_JAM" and The Power of Integrity
- Zoe Quinn on Gamasutra: Mar. 31, 2014: Unreality: My Takeaways After Being On and Subsequently Walking Off a Reality Show About Game Jams
- Adriel Wallick on Ms. Minotaur: Mar. 31, 2014: Let's talk about accountability
Additional comments by the developers can be found in a summary on Polygon by Colin Campbell from Mar. 31, 2014: How 'Game Jam', an indie game dev reality show, collapsed on its first day of filming
Finally, on Polygon, Rami Ismail looks at the unreasonable demands of the event participants' contracts: Apr. 1, 2014: A warning about contracts from the sidelines of the most expensive game jam in history