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One More Week To Enter Our 1923 Public Domain Game Jam


Gaming Like It's 1923: The Newly Public Domain Game Jam

We're down to crunch time. As announced on January 1st, we're co-hosting a fun public domain game jam to celebrate the fact that works from 1923 are finally in the public domain, after years and years of lobbying efforts by the legacy copyright industries kept pushing out and blocking the release of cultural works into the public. When the works from 1923 were first published, they all expected to be in the public domain by 1979 at the latest. But intense anti-public lobbying by Hollywood and other copyright holders have held that off for decades, doing significant harm to culture and our access to culture. I still believe that these copyright term extensions were unconstitutional, but tragically the Supreme Court disagreed.

Either way, we finally got a public domain, and while it's way late, we should absolutely be not just celebrating it, but making use of it (as a side note, we'll also be celebrating it at the "Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain" event being put on by Creative Commons and the Internet Archive). Our game jam is a chance to explore and experiment with ideas to make use of newly public domain works to create games -- video games, tabletop games, role playing games, etc. We're encouraged that we've already received a bunch of entries (I expected most people would wait until the last minute to submit, but it hasn't worked out that way).

Either way, there's one week left to enter the contest -- and even if you don't think of yourself as a game designer, you can jump right in and give it a try (while the video games need to work in a browser, analog games just need to include the instructions, and there are all sorts of ways to create interactive fiction as well). These games don't need to be polished. The whole point of a game jam is for people to just create something new and get it out there. We have an all-star panel of judges listed on the site, who will be reviewing the games in February, and we'll be giving out prizes for the best ones in a few different categories -- so don't miss out.


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