Train Jam Derailed by Coronavirus

This marks the first cancellation of the Indie Train Jam since its first event in 2014.

The indie train jam is a yearly event that has developers use the ride from Chicago to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to make a game. It produces unique games, made without the rigidity of an office or budget. This year, however, those games won’t be coming. With GDC postponed amid growing concerns over the coronavirus, the train jam has followed suit and been canceled.

The event’s cancellation – the first since it began in 2014 – was announced on its official Twitter account just yesterday. Responses from the community around this game jam have been filled with sadness and understanding. Chris Wulf, a publishing director at Softserve Games wrote: “I can’t imagine how hard of a decision that has been, good for you on making the call in time.” One of the event’s organizers, Adriel Wallick also put out her own statement on the event’s cancellation.

Train Jam’s cancellation marks yet another effect that the coronavirus, officially titled COVID-19, has had on the gaming industry. Outside of GDC’s postponement, multiple esports events have been canceled across East Asia. Some teams are also pulling their members from areas hit by the virus in favor of countries with fewer cases. The virus is also impacting the production of games, leading to the indefinite delay of The Outer Worlds on Switch.

So far, there is no end in sight for the spread of the coronavirus. Outside of gaming more cases are discovered every day, and with the virus present in multiple states in America, the full impact can’t yet be understood. So I’m going to pass on the same message as Adriel: be safe out there. Be sure to wash your hands and stay home if you feel sick. For more information on how to stay healthy, the CDC has a suite of resources available here.

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Otto Kratky

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