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Tower Jam: a game jam for reimagining the Damsel in Distress

Tower Jam: a game jam for reimagining the Damsel in Distress

August 30, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

August 30, 2013 | By Kris Ligman
More: Indie, Production

Seasoned game critic Maddy Myers says she wanted to create a game jam devoted to the untold stories of game characters -- especially damsels in distress.

"I've always thought a game told from a captive's perspective would be illuminating," Myers writes. "[Imagine] what Ocarina of Time would look like if you played as Zelda. There would be some fun action elements when Zelda learned the fighting style of the Skeikah... but then, the player would spend the bulk of the end of the game trapped in a crystal."

And thus, Tower Jam was born. A decentralized, online game jam to be held throughout September, the Tower Jam is devoted to "creat[ing] stories from the perspective of a captive. To get into the mind of the powerless person and give them agency to tell their own story."

It doesn't all have to be about pointy-eared princesses getting frozen inside crystals, of course. Anita Sarkeesian's recently concluded three-part series on the Damsel in Distress illustrates just how widespread this trope is, including its various inversions and sub-types. You could even make a game about one of those elusive Dudes in Distress, if you wanted.

"It's going to be hard to tell these stories respectfully," Myers notes. "[But] I believe that representation of different kinds of characters in games should not only be about putting characters of other races and genders and ages and backgrounds into conventionally heroic or aggressive roles, but also, about telling other kinds of stories in general."

The jam is open to all comers with no restrictions on experience or resources. Anticipating that the jam will attract quite a few first-time developers, the FAQ contains plenty of references to free or low-cost programs and tutorials for getting started.

You can learn more about the Tower Jam, including how to get involved, here.

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