Who do you think of when you read the word gamer? Chances are it’s a young person. But older adults can be gamers too. Many of video games’ early adopters are approaching their fifties. More than just play, older adults can also create and contribute to the making of games that share their experiences. That’s what Bob De Schutter and his team aimed to do with The Hidden Heroes Jam: An intergenerational game jam.
What’s a game jam? Put simply, it’s an event where multiple participants come together to build a game from scratch. The Hidden Heroes Jam brought together older adults and game developers from partner IndieCade to work towards this goal. During the jam, players and creators were encouraged to take part in a process called “gaminiscing”.
If you think “gaminscing” sounds like reminiscing, you’re onto something! The term “gaminiscing” was coined to describe the process of using games to archive, recreate and share personal histories. By drawing on the oral histories shared with them, participants in The Hidden Heroes Jam, worked towards creating games inspired by older adults they admired in their own lives.
There is a research angle to this project, too. Throughout the game jam, a research team was on site to collect data on participants’ experiences and methodologies. This will allow the researchers to further explore the opportunities and limitations of gaminiscing-as-method. The Game Jam took place from February 24th 2023 at 2:00 AM to March 7th 2023 at 1:59 AM