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The Latinx Community Makes Games for Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15, 2020, marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, and this year it also marks the beginning of the Unidos Online Game Jam. Started by Latinx In Gaming, an organization dedicated to highlighting and advocating for Latinx representation in the game industry, Unidos Online Game Jam aims to be a game creation event that spotlights talent within the Latinx game development community and games that showcase the diversity of Hispanic culture. The game jam hopes to see entries that embrace the wide range of rich cultural and historical backgrounds of Latin American and Hispanic peoples.

The entirely digital game jam allows anyone to participate while encouraging entrants to bring ideas to the table celebrating Hispanic heritage. The event began on September 12 and runs until October 3. While all entries will be considered, the competition organizers have laid out challenges for developers to consider. Below are the game jam’s seven challenge criteria for submissions:

Mother Tongue – Game supports at least one other language from Latin America and/or the Caribbean (Spanish, Portuguese, indigenous dialects, etc.) besides English

For the Patria – Game focuses on the cultural subject – folklore, mythology, tradition, food, landscape, etc.

Activista – Subject matter shines a light on civil issues – visas, immigration, etc. – topics that the Latinx community deals with

Paz – Game has mechanics that are not violent or threatening (i.e. no shooting, damage, etc.)

No Distractions – Game has no HUD elements

Carnaval – Game features original/free-to-use music and rhythms typical of Latin America and/or Caribbean

Old School – Game uses only 256 colors in all of its presentation

All games submitted by October 3 will be evaluated by developers with various backgrounds and skillsets from EA and Bungie. The judges will play and give feedback to the selected finalists during the Unidos Online live stream on October 9 – 11th that caps off the Unidos Online Game Jam. Twitch will also be pitching in to highlight these games, promoting the stream event on the front page of Twitch.

The judges will be asked to judge games based on quality, creativity, and relation to the themes of the game jam. There will also be awards for Best Narrative, Best Audio, Best Gameplay, Best Art, Best Use of Challenges, and Best Overall. The winner of each category will be taking home part of the competition’s $5,000 USD prize pool.

Importantly, there are restrictions on what submissions will be considered. Nudity, strong language, or offensive visuals will disqualify entries. All visuals must be made, purchased, or licensed appropriately. Additionally, while the game can be made on any platform, it must be able to run on a Windows PC or in an internet browser. No emulators or games made using Dreams, Super Mario Maker, etc.

If you are considering participating in the Unidos Online Game Jam, the Latinx In Gaming Discord server has a collaborative channel to float ideas or form development teams.

Don’t forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!