Local History Game Jam: A Look Back

The Local History Game Jam is over, but the memories (and games!) we created over the course of the jam will endure. Before the second installment in our #include series goes into the record books, we wanted to recap how the event unfolded and take a look at the various ways in which participants were able to apply their game development skills in order to make history.

Although the jam was coordinated by TVGS, it was organized in conjunction with both The Arts Center and the Rensselaer County Historical Society. The event took place over a full weekend at The Arts Center, and day one kicked off with a presentation by Rensselaer County Historian Kathy Sheehan that was full of fascinating details and local lore concerning the history of Troy and the surrounding area. Kathy clearly managed to pique the interest of the jam participants, and a lot of the information she imparted to the group found its way into our finished games.

In addition to the history lesson that Kathy generously provided, we also had a wide selection of reference material available for participants to utilize, including a miniature library covering a variety of topics related to the history of the Capital Region. Certain historical figures seemed to capture the imaginations of our jammers: popular favorites included everything from labor organizers and suffragettes to anthropomorphized corporate rabbit mascots.

Following the jam, we had a showcase where all of the games were projected on to the side of The Arts Center building as part of the Hyperplace Troy festival. Special thanks to Andrea Williams for inviting us to be a part of this multifaceted event – the showcase was awesome, and we had a lot of fun seeing random bystanders reacting to our games and playtesting them in front of the assembled crowd.

For those who weren’t able to attend, here is a list of the games that were created during the jam:


“History Duel”
by Jamey Stevenson

This game was an icebreaker designed to help jam participants learn more about local historical figures and each other. It combined research and bluffing into a fun diversion that could be played whenever people needed to take a quick break from working on their projects.


“Amanda Cluett”
by Taro Omiya

This resource management game places you in the role of Amanda Cluett, the wife of avowed anti-suffragist George Cluett. While publicly supporting her husband, Amanda simultaneously made significant contributions toward advancing the cause of women’s rights in the Capital Region and beyond. The game has already received a good deal of positive responses from players.


“Art Connoisseur: Grandma Moses Edition” by Ryan Fitzpatrick

Grandma Moses has been an inspiration to many artists, and this game tasks you with helping to preserve her legacy by collecting her paintings as they fall from the sky.


“Kate Mullany”
by Tracey Carroll

No account of Troy history would be complete without including Kate Mullany, the courageous founder of the Collar Laundry Union which is remembered as one of the first and most significant women’s labor unions. This interactive visual novel portrays the hardships and difficult choices faced by the collar factory workers of Troy as they strove to negotiate for better working conditions in the industrial era.


“History Test”
by Jayden Parker

The big history test is coming up soon, but are you fully prepared? This branching story provides a realistic portrayal of student life, and the challenges of achieving a harmonious balance between studying and social activities. Keep an eye out for a haunting cameo from a notorious giant rabbit that may or may not be associated with a local baked goods company.


“Sam Sez”
by Jamey Stevenson & Anthony Rossello

This game is a 100% historically accurate investigation of Troy’s most famous resident, and his all-consuming neediness. Everyone knows that “Uncle Sam Wants YOU,” but what else does he want? Whatever the answer may be, one thing is certain: It’s your patriotic duty to fulfill Uncle Sam’s desires. So hop to it, and be sure to obey whatever Sam Sez!


“Freddie’s Escape”
by Chris Carroll

This platformer is a thrilling adventure starring Freddie Freihofer, the rabbit mascot of the Freihofer’s Baking Company that was featured prominently in their “Breadtime Stories” children’s show which ran locally from 1949 to 1966.


“Cookie Collection”
by Chris Carroll

Freddie Freihofer is back for more delicious action in this single screen game where players must keep various baked goods from touching the ground. You’ll be juggling cookies, donuts and other sweet treats, but consider yourself forewarned: The five second rule does not apply in Freddie’s universe.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the jam. Don’t forget to stay tuned to this site for announcements about more upcoming game jams and other #include events in the near future!

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