Announcing The Public Domain Game Jam: Gaming Like It’s 1924!

Gaming Like It’s 1924: The Newly Public Domain Game Jam

Happy New Years, everyone. Last year, for the very first time in two decades, the US actually allowed some works to enter the public domain. This represented the end of an era in which copyright maximalist lobbyists had been able to regularly extend copyright terms each year to prevent any new works from entering the public domain. However, the backlash to such practices had become so vocal, and the evidence for why such term extensions were necessary had become so non-existent, that they didn’t even make any serious attempt to extend them again, leading works from 1923 to actually enter the public domain. Well, now it’s 2020, and works from 1924 have entered the public domain.

Last year to celebrate, we held our very first public domain game jam, asking people to create both analog and digital games utilizing newly public domain works. It was a great success with over 30 entries, including some really amazing winners.

This year, we’re doing it again, with the Gaming Like It’s 1924 public domain game jam. The rules are basically the same as last year. For the entire month of January, you can submit your digital or analog games (specific rules are at the link) based on some of the newly public domain works from 1924. If you’re looking for ideas on what works are there, Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain has an excellent list and LifeHacker has called out some highlights as well.

Once again, we’re offering up prizes (with even more choices this year) in a variety of categories: best analog game, best digital game, best adaptation of a 1924 work, best remixing of multiple sources, best “deep cut,” and best visuals. We also have a wonderful and diverse judging panel, that is a mix of gaming and copyright experts (and a few who qualify as both!).

You certainly don’t need to follow the path of those who won last year, but if you want, you should check out last year’s winners (and all the other submissions as well) to get some ideas. The contest is open for the entire month of January, with judging in early February. We hope you’ll consider entering and help demonstrate the value of a robust public domain, and the ability to build on those earlier creative works.

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