The hackathon runs from Saturday, Oct. 20 through Sunday, Oct. 21. Developers who attend will work together to create games that aim to counter hate by encouraging empathy, anti-bias education, and social change. The jam is part of the ADL’s Center for Technology and Society’s efforts to fight hate and harassment in the gaming community and online.
The event will take place both virtually and at locations across the country, including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Rochester, N.Y., San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Seattle. Developers interested in participating are encouraged to register online and form teams in advance.
Some of the games created during the event will be showcased at the ADL’s National Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. in May, the organization said. Last year, a team from Austin took first place with “Ali Tale,” an anti-bullying game about a high school student who meets a magical cat that grants the power to understand people better. The team received a $2,500 prize, mentorship hours with Playmatics co-founder Margaret Wallace, and membership in the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). Second place went to a California team for their game “A Day to Remember,” about a robot boy who foils a school prank. They won a $1,000 prize, an eight-week course in the game engine of their choice, and membership in the IGDA. A total of 33 games were created during the 2017 jam by participants from seven countries on four continents.
“At a time when bullying and hate are on the rise, we need to use all avenues available to us to build a world with more understanding and respect, and less bias and bigotry,” said Brittan Heller, director of ADL’s Center for Technology and Society, following the 2017 jam. “This competition showed both the power in combining deep creativity and technical skills and great enthusiasm for harnessing technology to create more positive interactions that help society.”