After an exciting and intense week, teams participating in Care Jam 2021 (2-9 Dec 2021) produced 12 new game concepts which explore multi-dimensional narratives of care work and caregiving, and help to reimagine a world where care is collective, visible and valued.
About Care Jam 2021
Care Jam was the first game jam to bring together game developers and people touched by care—people with disabilities, ageing adults, family caregivers and care workers to design gaming experiences that uplift stories of care and the people who do it.
Led in partnership by Caring Across Generations, Code Coven, Counterpoints Arts and National Domestic Workers Alliance, the jam was a supportive and creative space to develop game concepts with potential to challenge harmful stereotypes, build empathy and educate on the complexities of care. Launched by a roundtable discussion featuring ground-breaking care activists and game developers sharing inspiring stories and ideas, this jam was unique in being led by lived experience — from speakers, to sensitivity consultants to participants.
12 new game ideas published
Over 190 people forming 24 teams registered for the week-long game jam, and submitted games were reviewed to ensure they reflected one or more of the published themes. After review of all submissions ensuring they met the brief, 12 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.
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 centring 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.
- And Helping Hands and Harmony both for centring characters with disabilities supporting each other.
We encourage everyone to try the games and provide feedback to the teams (you can use the comments feature on itch.io). Games produced in a jam are prototypes and we hope to see some of the games develop and evolve further.
Stay tuned in early 2022 for some exciting announcements featuring Care Jam!
Led by Care Advocates and Gaming innovators
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).
With 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.