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Polygon Backstory episode 5: On the Train Jam with Adriel Wallick

Three days, 2,500 miles and a tiny new family of game developers rolling through the American West

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Polygon Backstory is a podcast that celebrates conversations about the games we play.

This episode is all about the 2016 Indie Train Jam, a 52-hour game jam held each year aboard Amtrak's California Zephyr train line between Chicago and San Francisco. My guest is Adriel Wallick, the organizer of Train Jam and a game developer herself.

So what's a game jam? That's where developers get together, shake off the stress of their everyday projects and just cut loose. Working in small teams, they improvise a working game over just a few days. Train Jam is made all the more special by its limitations. There's virtually no internet, and very little privacy. But it's a beautiful trip, carrying people through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rocky Mountains and down into Utah before picking its way back and forth through the Sierra Nevada mountains.

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Thanks for listening.

You can read more about Train Jam in Polygon's two feature stories, one covering the trip as a whole and another where I sit down myself to make my first ever game.

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