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Welcome to the Hidden Heroes Game Jam!

When: February 24th – March 5th, 2023
Where: Online on and Discord

(All dates and times are for the Pacific Time Zone)

Sponsored by AARP Games

Submitter Rankings and Jam Wrapup!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first Hidden Heroes Jam and congratulations to the top submitter-ranked entries!

Check out the full rankings here:

The top ranked games by category are:

Tied for 1st – 9 months and Keep Your Head Down
3rd – David’s Day Off
4th – Lingering Shards

Tied for 1st – 9 months and A Pigeon Tale
Tied for 3rd – Kamukchi: Heros of My Journey and Lingering Shards

Storytelling / Narrative
1st – 9 months
2nd – Lingering Shards
3rd – Keep Your Head Down
4th – Litty’s Legacy

Gameplay / Mechanics
1st – Mom is
2nd – Lingering Shards
3rd – David’s Day Off
Tied for 4th – Kamukchi: Heros of My Journey Let the Kid Win!, and Keep Your Head Down 

1st – Keep Your Head Down
2nd – 9 months
3rd – Litty’s Legacy
4th – Elinor in the afternoon

What is a game jam?

A game jam is when a group of people work on games around a particular theme or idea in a concentrated time frame (and not just video games!).

The games produced are usually prototypes—which means a rough draft of a working game—which can be refined further afterward. The idea is to get your hands dirty and learn by doing!

Even if you’ve never made a game before there are many tools for beginners and many other participants who can help you learn.

What is the Hidden Heroes Game Jam?

The Hidden Heroes Jam is a celebration of those who have shaped us. It is a game jam for creators to share the never-before-told stories of older and extended family members, teachers, co-workers, mentors, and friends – people whose wisdom have meaningfully impacted our lives.

Join us to create interactive expressions-of-gratitude to those who have walked the paths before us and inspired us, our Hidden Heroes.

This jam is part of IndieCade Horizons 2023, however anyone may participate.
Spread the word with our jam flier!

How do I participate?

A full breakdown of the theme, the rules, and lots of gamemaking resources can be found through the links below. 

Most importantly, games are to be submitted via the jam’s page, HERE.

We strongly encourage participants to join IndieCade’s Discord server, where you can connect with other jammers for team building, brainstorming, coding help, and more.

  1. Go to
  2. Hit the green button with the checkmark to acknowledge our Code of Conduct.
  3. There are channels marked specifically for the game jam.

We also invite you to participate in our jam research project.

Share your work! Whether it be works-in-progress during the jam or your final project after the deadline we encourage you to share on our Discord server and use #hiddenheroesjam when you post on social media!


What the heck is a “game jam”?

A game jam is when a group of people work on games around a particular theme or idea for a concentrated time period. The games produced are usually prototypes—which means a rough draft of a workin game—which can be refined further afterward. The idea is to get your hands dirty and learn by doing!

What is Hidden Heroes?

The goal of the Hidden Heroes Jam is to encourage intergenerational collaboration by having younger creators help translate the stories, experience and wisdom of older adults into games! In the process, we want to empower older adults to become game creators, and to expand their representation in games.

Do I need prior experience in game design to join the game jam?

No prior experience is necessary! Hidden Heroes is designed to encourage intergenerational collaboration. If you have a younger relative or friend who’s into games, ask them to join your team! There are plenty of easy-to-use game-creation tools to choose from. You could even make a game with Minecraft!

Does it have to be a digital game?

You can create any type of game you like, digital or otherwise—a board game, a card game, even a tabletop roleplaying game.

Do I need to know how to program?

You can collaborate with a team that includes a programmer, and even if there are no programmers on your team, there are lots of different easy-to-use tools that you can use. Examples include Minecraft, Roblox, RPG-Maker, and Gamemaker.

What are some examples of the types of games that might be produced?

A handful of game developers have created games based on the stories and lives of older family members. The model for Hidden Heroes is Brukel, created by jam co-organizer Bob De Schutter with his grandmother about her experiences in Belgium under German occupation during WWII. Similar and related games include BORDERS, by Macua, based on the designer’s parents’ stories of crossing the border from Mexico to the United States; and Spectre, by USC’s Vaguely Spectacular Team, explores the memory of a 73 year old man. Other games with related themes include Old Man’s Journey

For younger gamemakers: What if I don’t know any “Hidden Heroes”?

That’s why they’re hidden! It might take a little detective work to find the right person. Look at the game jam as an opportunity to get to know someone you admire better. It might be a parent, an aunt, or a grandparent. Perhaps you have family members you don’t get to see very much, either across your own country or overseas.  It could also be your favorite teacher, a mentor, even a boss who had a big influence on you, perhaps a neighbor or family friend you’ve always looked up to. Use the Hidden Heroes Game Jam as an opportunity to reach out and connect with an older adult in your life.

For older adults: How do I find a partner to work with?

A good place to start is your own family. Maybe you play games with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews (both adults and children!). Imagine how cool it would be to ask them to make a game with you! Do you have younger family members or friends you don’t get to see very often? Reach out and use this as an excuse to connect! 


A couple of reasons. The larger entertainment industry—film, TV even popular music—have caught up with the idea that stories for and about older adults are cool, and older adults who are in their prime are making groundbreaking and award-winning work in all these media. The game industry has still not hurdled the ageism barrier, despite the fact that adults over 50 are the largest growing market for its products. The goal of Hidden Heroes is threefold: 1) To empower older adults to tell their stories through games; 2) To encourage people to engage with games across generations; 3) To expand representation of older adults in games, both as subjects and creators.


The Hidden Heroes Game Jam is a collaboration between IndieCade, the International Festival of Independent Games, and Northeastern University’s “Games for Life” initiative, and AARP Games. The goal of this wider initiative is to study and create games for the over fifty gamer, including expanding our knowledge of the benefits of games, understanding play preferences, and advocating for greater accessibility and inclusiveness in the mainstream industry.

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