Content Notes

While the organizers of the WTF Game Jam strongly believe in freedom of artistic expression, they also believe in making the world a better place for everyone. Games can be engaging, funny, challenging, and epic... and sometimes those same games have content that has a negative impact on people belonging to visible & invisible minority groups.

We don’t want to lay out strict rules for content or to police the games that you create at the jam, but we do want to offer some concepts for you to consider:

  • People are all shapes & sizes. All of them are awesome!
  • People are all different colours. Each one is wonderful!
  • People come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. Variety is excellent! So is respect!

This list is just a small sample, but we will assume you get the basic idea & can apply it to race, gender, orientation, size, ability, age, class, religious beliefs, etc.

Please use care with humour & the assigning of characteristics: Don’t use a person’s size, race, disability or other distinguishing feature as the focus of a joke or gag, or as the indicator of their evilness - when we laugh AT others, it is hurtful. When we cast differences in a negative light or thoughtlessly repeat stereotypes, we reinforce them in society & oppression continues.

If you are not already familiar with the concepts of oppression, we have a few game-related questions to keep in mind as you create, find them below.

Accessibility Notes

There are a number of simple design elements that can make games accessible to a wider range of players, which may not occur to you in a rushed setting such as a game jam. However, games are for everyone!

It would mean a lot to us at the WTF Game Jam if you would keep the accessibility of your game in mind when creating it, making it possible for any player to enjoy your weird-ass creation. We highly recommend checking out Game Accessibility Guidelines for direction.

Additional Notes

This is barely a ripple in the ocean of thoughts around oppression, privilege & social justice. Search on, learn more, change the world!

If you find yourself questioning your game content, Christa Giles will be on hand to suggest resources and alternate options to consider.

Andrew & Michael will make the final call on the games that will be included on the WTF Game Jam site.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • When you are designing your main characters, be mindful of stereotypes: have you given particular characteristics to the hero, & another set to the villain? Do some of those characteristics also belong to a real-life minority group? Does the placement of those character elements in the overall frame of “villain” support & boost members of that group, or add to society’s oppression of them?
  • If you have a hero & someone else being rescued, ask yourself a similar question: am I repeating a societal trend to always picture members of a minority group as weak, less-than, needy, & requiring rescue?
  • When designing your background characters & the game’s location and geographical background, please remember that what seems intriguingly exotic to you is another person’s homeland, culture and/or religion. Check in with yourself: do I have first-hand knowledge of the meaning of that symbol or tradition I’m planning to reference in my game? Does my use of it show honor & respect? Would most members of that minority group agree?
  • In crowd scenes, is your world populated with only able-bodied people of one gender, body type, class? We can make our games more inclusive by showing a wide range of characters. The message that is sent to players & viewers is, “These people are a welcome part of society, & our world would be incomplete without them.”
  • Are you building a story that feature a mighty battle? While games of war & conquering are common, recognize that many of us are removed from the immediate impact of war and the experience of having our lands seized, our families tortured or killed, or having our culture straight out obliterated. Think about the other side of your story - is it still glorious to them?
Back to Top