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Game Jam honoring father's memory, helping research hospital

Game Jam honoring father's memory, helping research hospital

April 12th, 2014 by Nuria Mathog, The News Tribune in News

James Forbis remembers his father, Pat Forbis, as an avid game lover - a man who enjoyed Call of Duty matches and playing Facebook games in his later years.

When Pat died in February, James decided to honor his father's memory with the first Pat A. Forbis Game Jam. The fundraiser, which began April 6 and will end today, encourages teams of game developers to design games and upload them to, a game distribution platform. Gamers can donate to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital to support the games they like.

"I thought that we could raise money for kids who still have a fighting chance with cancer," Forbis said.

Teams were assigned a topic at the start of the event and given a week to conceptualize and develop their games accordingly. This year's theme, Health and Healing, has inspired creations like KO Cancer - a boxing game that allows players to fight different forms of cancer.

So far, the game jam has received around $150 in contributions, and Forbis hopes to reach $2,000 by the end of the week.

The finished games will be donated to St. Jude's for the patients to play. Other people interested in trying out the games will be able to purchase them with a donation to the hospital, Forbis said.

Right now, the games are designed for PC use, but Forbis hopes that some of them will eventually be available for download as apps.

Forbis heads StreetCode Game Publishing, a company he started with co-CEO Dmitri Roberts. The company's initial focus was app development, but the founders soon discovered that their skills were more applicable to creating PC games.

StreetCode has released one game, "The Trials of the Logic Dungeon," which can be downloaded from the company blog. Other gaming ideas are still in the works.

"It's a chance to have fun and make games that we would like and people would like," Forbis said.

That philosophy - connecting the community - is at the heart of Forbis's game jam. For him, the fundraiser is a tribute to Pat's lifelong commitment to caring for others, whether through gaming with his son or working in the sports rehabilitation unit at St. Mary's Health Center.

Forbis hopes the jam will preserve his father's legacy a little more each year.

"He was a person who did almost everything," Forbis said.