In the spring of 2014, The first Isolation Game Jam was hosted on the farm Kollafoss and game developers arrived from all over the world. The year after, we organised the second one and to our surprise, we got enough signups to fill a waiting list for the next 5 years. That’s when we realised that there was a genuine interest for this little project so it was time to take it further.
In the summer of 2015, me (Jóhannes) and Arnfríður moved to the Kollafoss farm and settled there. After seeing how much space was available in the house we quickly came to the conclusion that this was the perfect place for a gamedev residency. The house was big enough to comfortably house at the very least 5 people.
The Kollafoss Game Farm residency was partially modelled on artist residencies in Iceland and made possible with funding from SSNV, Sóknaráætlun Norðurlands vestra (and for that we are forever grateful). Rather than taking in ten people for a couple of days like at the Isolation Game Jam, we offered space for three game developers at a time to live here with us (Me and Arnfríður) for up to a month to work on their projects in touch with nature. The difference to regular artist residencies though was that Kollafoss Game Farm is more like simply renting a house with several like minded people. So, in essence, me and Arnfríður were simply looking for gamedev people to rent with us and fill this large house of ours.
It’s a rare opportunity to be among gorgeous empty vistas barely touched by our far-reaching cultures. If you’re quick, you could go there to have everything north-west Iceland has to offer flow through your system, all in order to output it as a succinct interactive experience. – Chris Priestman of Kill Screen Daily on Isolation Game Jam
In 2018 the decision was taken to reduce the focus on the residency and work more on turning Kollafoss Game Farm into an actual game development studio. Game developers are still welcome to drop by for a stay but we do not officially provide a gamedev residency anymore.
In 2019, as the Isolation Jam grew and grew, and for the sake of diversity, it was decided to start hosting the jam in new rural locations.
Go live your best life and make wonderful things in a beautiful, remote place with other people who love games. Remember, the lambs are waiting for you, and try as they might they cannot pet themselves. – Laura Hudson of Boing Boing on Isolation Game Jam
I, Jóhannes Gunnar Þorsteinsson was raised and have lived most of my life in this valley, Vesturárdalur. I studied visual art at VMA in Akureyri, and then sound design for video games at Skövde University.
I am a home working game developer and a farmer, along with the job of making the Kollafoss Game Farm into reality. I usually am working from home on various things related to game development.
Arnfríður Hanna Hreinsdóttir is from Skagafjörður in north Iceland. She has mostly worked in the mental health care & support field in the UK and Iceland.
The Isolation Jam
Since 2014, people have traveled to the middle of nowhere, top of the world Iceland, with two goals in mind; Make games and pet lambs.
I will never forget the lambs walking by our window, curiously peeking at these strange people sitting inside, making games, or simply having a good time with old and new friends. – Minnamari Helmisaari, Isolation Game Jam 2014, 2015, & 2017 attendant
Isolation Jam is a 5 day event where game developers from all over the world meet up and spend the time disconnected from the ruckus of the civilized world, focused on working on their projects along with other like minded individuals.
I’ve never worked so focused in my life, time passes differently there. And whenever I look up, there is a sheep. – Milan Grajetzki, Isolation Game Jam 2015 attendant
How the bleak landscape and emptiness inspires people is hard to put into words. One needs to experience it. Go to the Isolation Jam webpage for more information.
The majestic Icelandic landscapes, the peace and quiet of the isolated location, combined with a warm, hospitable atmosphere and a creative spirit! These are just a few of the things that made me attend isolation game jam not once but twice. – Minnamari Helmisaari, Isolation Game Jam 2014, 2015, & 2017 attendant
Feel free to contact us if you have any more questions?