A game jam is a thing where artists, programmers, and other type people get together to make a game based on a randomly-chosen theme in a short amount of time.
When will this take place?
I'm still checking for interest, but the tentative date is going to be April 13th through 15th.
What are the rules?
The only rule is that you have to start from scratch programming-wise; you can't simply slap a new coat of paint on something you've already done and call it complete. Other than that, there are no restrictions.
Help! I cannot program to save my soul!
Never fear, there are plenty of free programs that you can use to make games even if you have no coding experience!
Game Maker 8
Free, easy to use, and while the free version has some serious limits it's still really good for first timers.
An alternative to Game Maker, Construct 2 runs a bit faster and has the advantage of being able to export to HTML 5, but the free version is limited to 100 Events per game, and it doesn't output standalone EXEs so if you want to show off your work you need to get some webspace.
Official Hamster Republic Role Playing Game Construction Engine
Kind like a poor-man's RPG Maker, OHRRPGCE provides you with everything you need to build an RPG from scratch. Couple warnings though; it only imports 8-bit bitmaps (though you can draw stuff in the editor), and scripting can be a chore. Still, it's perfect for making retro-style RPGs.
A simple engine used for making text adventures. I'd make a joke of some sort about retrieving your arms, but that joke's been done to death.
Adventure Game Studio
An engine well-suited to making old Lucasarts-style adventure games. Requires a bit more scripting than you might be used to, but the results are well worth it.
A hilariously simplistic adventure game engine limited to ASCII graphics. For those of us who participating in this for ironic reasons.
Help! I have no artistic or musical talent whatsoever!
There's no rule against using someone else's art assets. Most of the sprites from Homestuck can be found here., and you can find a whole collection of sprites from other video games here.
Help! I have taken a vow against technology or cannot use my computer for some reason!
...Then how are you typing this in the first place? You know what, never mind; the point is you don't have to make a computer game at all, just as long as you have something to show off by the end of the Game Jam. You could just as easily make a board game, a card game, or even a drinking game!
How do I participate?
For the time being, just post here telling me that you're participating and what you'd like your team to be called. If you want to form a team of more than one person, now would be a good time to start looking.
Once the date of the Game Jam rolls around, I will announce the theme here on this page, and everyone participating will have 72 Hours to make a game based on that theme and post on the forums.
Are there prizes?
Maybe? Probably not, but I will promise that everyone will walk away with some sort of award even if it's something silly like "Best Platformer Made in Game Maker Starring the Secret Wizard That Was Made by One Person Who's Name Begins with a Consonant".
There will also be an overall winner decided by a poll and/or a panel of judges.