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We spent 54 hours on a train full of video game developers

Amtrak’s California Zephyr is a cross-country train that's normally full of sightseers and train enthusiasts. But each year, a group of video game developers, artists, and musicians, hop on for an annual Train Jam.

by Dexter Thomas
Apr 3 2018, 5:00pm

Do you like video games? Do you like trains? How about both?

If you answered yes to the above (and provided you know how to program), then Train Jam just might be for you.

The idea is simple: Get on a train in Chicago, and program a video game from start to finish in the 54 hours it takes you to get to San Francisco.

There’s not a lot of privacy on the train, nor is there a lot of showering. But for an up-and-coming game developer, there’s a ton of opportunity to work with seasoned veterans on anything from a balloon deathmatch simulator to a Pac-Man clone made with actual door springs.

Five years ago, there were only a few dozen takers. But this year, they’ve taken over the whole train — and even had to add a few extra cars to accommodate everyone.

VICE News hopped on an Amtrak to find out why people from 30 countries decided to cram together for America’s nerdiest train ride.

This segment originally aired March 27, 2018 one VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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