Video game developers, get ready to jam

Global Game Jam will take place next month in close to 500 locations worldwide, and Youngstown will be one of them.

What is Global Game Jam?

It’s a weekendlong event (Jan. 27-29) in which software and game developers, enthusiasts, industry professionals and others gather in a room where they break into teams that then create a video game based on a theme.

At each site, the event starts on a Friday evening with a keynote speech from the GGJ representative. Teams are then formed, and the work begins, with the goal of creating a game within 48 hours.

In Youngstown, the Jam will take place at Oak Hill Collaborative, 507 Oak Hill Ave.

Kendra Corpier is heading up the Youngstown event. She is the founder of Youngstown Game Developers and has been presenting similar game-maker marathon weekends on a local level for the past few years.

Tickets to the Youngstown event are $10, and include snacks and pizza. Participants are welcome to stay overnight (bring your own pillows and blankets). To reserve a spot, go to


If you’re in the mood for one last holiday concert, Main Street Theater has RATTS.

That is the unintentional acronym for Rockin’ Around the Town Square, the annual holiday concert at the beautiful theater on the town square (which is actually a circle) in Columbiana.

RATTS will be performed three times this weekend: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $13 (all seats are general admission) and will be sold at the door and in advance at

RATTS – and judging by their concert poster, they’ve embraced the moniker – is an epic holiday music concert with Trans-Siberian Orchestra-like flair and special effects.

The band consists of Chris Bayda, Stephen Timko, Dave Arthurs, Don Arthurs, Brian Bensinger, Martha Rogowsky, Dawn Arthurs, Jim Couchenour, Dave Render and Debbie Reed.

two NEW BARS downtown

A new nightspot opened last weekend in the downtown nightlife zone, and another one will have its grand opening Friday.

Off the Rail opened its doors Friday. It’s in the Erie Terminal building on Commerce Street, on the other side of the structure from the Kitchen Post.

Formerly the Rust Belt Tap House, it’s a cozy and low-key spot with a full bar, a decent selection of craft beer and plans to start brewing its own beer.

There is no kitchen yet, but OTR does offer some bar food, including Nathan’s hot dogs and giant warm soft pretzels.

One big change has been the addition of two pool tables in a space that was formerly an underused party room.

Around the corner on North Phelps Street, Rhine Haus Bier Hall will have its grand opening Friday.

Modeled after a traditional German beer hall with long communal wooden tables and steins of authentic German draft beer, Rhine Haus specializes in pirogi and pretzels, and has a wait staff that wears traditional German garb.

Dueling Pianos will perform from 8 to 11 p.m. tonight and Friday, with Fred Ziwich, the polka machine, on Saturday from 5-9 p.m.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe.

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