Care Jam 2021 Teams Produce Innovative Games Exploring Care - Caring Across Generations

Care Jam 2021 Teams Produce Innovative Games Exploring Care

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Last month, we co-hosted Care Jam 2021, the first game jam to bring together game developers and people touched by care—people with disabilities, aging adults, family caregivers and care workers—to design gaming experiences that uplift stories of care and the people who do it. Twenty-four teams produced 12 new game concepts that explored multi-dimensional narratives of care work and caregiving, while reimagining a world where care is collective, visible and valued.

Caring Across Generations, Code Coven, Counterpoints Arts and National Domestic Workers Alliance joined in partnership to produce Care Jam 2021, which kicked off with a roundtable discussion featuring groundbreaking care activists and game developers sharing inspiring stories and ideas. Care Jam 2021 was created to be a supportive and creative space to develop game concepts with potential to challenge harmful stereotypes, build empathy and educate on the complexities of care. This game jam was unique in being led by lived experience — from speakers, to sensitivity consultants to participants.

 

Poster of the Care Jam Roundtable, featuring photos of speakers May Abdalla, June Barrett, Madeline Bunting, Jennifer Estaris, Jay Justice, Evan Narcisse, and Cara Reedy

Nearly 200 people registered for the week-long game jam, and submitted games were reviewed to ensure they reflected one or more of the published themes. Twelve games are now available as part of the final Care Jam 2021 public collection on itch.io exploring topics such as collective care, parenting, care worker’s lives and care homes.

Said one of the participants, “I have lived experience and expertise in care, specifically dementia, end of life, and mental health, but before this experience I didn’t know that care could be shown through games.”

The Care Jam reviewers highlighted a number of games that showed potential to challenge harmful stereotypes or centre wider narratives around care:

  • Blu and Carebot — a visual novel centering the experiences of Blu — an older person in a wheelchair — and Carebot – a care worker robot — breaking out of a nursing home.
  • Caredy Cat — an exploratory game where you play as Charm, a cat exploring the home of its owner who is a caregiver for a disabled patient.
  • Missing in Margate — a first-person exploration game featuring a care worker and a mystery to solve in one of England’s most beloved seaside towns.
  • Respect — a visual novel where you are the main character – a new resident at a nursing home.
  • Who Cares? — a visual novel from the unique perspective of a cat caring for her owner who is a hospital care worker.
  • Helping Hands and Harmony, which both center characters with disabilities supporting each other.

Visit the full collection on itch.io. If you have a moment, please give the games a try and provide feedback to the teams using the itch.io comment feature. Games produced in a jam are prototypes and we hope to see some of the games develop and evolve further. 

Stay tuned in the coming months for some exciting announcements featuring Care Jam!

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Care Jam 2021 is grateful to all those that were involved in making this such an innovative and successful event. Sensitivity consultants offered expertise around issues of care to the teams — Aisha Adkins, Jay Justice, June Barrett, Karolina Gerlich, Natalia Byer, Rebekah Alexander and Paurvi Bhatt. Game development mentors supported with game development advice (Discord IDs: Eleghoste#1751 wolfybytes#1818 Craigums#9957 LumpN#2645 RIDENTEM#8016 TheArtofGaming#9910 Eliana#1382). Speakers at the roundtable included Cara Reedy (Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund), Evan Narcisse (Dot’s Home), Jay Justice (AbleGamers), Jennifer Estaris (ustwo games), June Barrett (National Domestic Workers Alliance), Karla Reyes (Code Coven), Madeleine Bunting (Author), Marcia Chandra (Counterpoints Arts), Marzena Zukowska (Polish Migrants Organise for Change), May Abdallah (Anagram), Sarah Vitti (Caring Across Generations).

Special thanks to the Code Coven team for facilitating the game jam and creating such a welcoming online Discord space for all the participants! 

Care Jam 2021 is produced in partnership by Caring Across Generations, Code Coven, Counterpoints Arts and National Domestic Workers Alliance and supported by AbleGamers, BAFTA Games, BAME in Games, Games for Change, POC in Play, Rise-Home Stories, UKIE, and Raise the Game Diversity Pledge.

 

For More Information

Visit the Care Jam 2021 collection on itch.io

Watch the Roundtable “Can Video Games Help Us Reimagine Care?”

Read the Care Jam Resources on care facts and narratives.

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