Games Jam: Novels that Shaped Our World

Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th April 2021


What is it?

Join us for a two day jam that will aim to introduce the joys of storytelling and reading by creating games inspired by the BBC’s 100 Novels That Shaped Our World. Combine technology, books and creativity that make games bring stories and characters to life.

BBC Arts are running a year long celebration of literature, which includes a list of 100 novels which have had an impact over the last 300 years.

You can create video games, board games, escape games, card games – anything you want! The only constraints are the time frame, the theme and your imagination.

How does it work?

Form teams of up to 6 people or work alone, start in advance or on the day. This jam is aimed at ages 16 and above.

Whether you are a designer, historian, developer, artist, writer or fancy a challenge,  battle against the clock to develop your game.

At the end of two days you will present your game to a panel who will decide which team has created the game most likely to inspire new readers.

Tickets to enter the Games Jam with be available from Monday 29 March:

Join us for an inspiring set of workshops to get you excited about games design and the BBC Novels. Tickets are now available from our Eventbrite page:

The Themes

Content from our collections is available for game jam inspiration across four of the BBC Novel themes:


Life, Death and other worlds

Rule Breakers

Crime and Conflict

The list of books can be found here.

The Date

The Jam will take place on the 24th and 25th of April online. Games will be submitted by 3pm on Sunday 25 April, Judges will pick the winner and runners up by 5pm on the same date.


  • You can use any tools, materials, collections that you like.
  • Your game must link to one of the novels on the BBC list in some way
  • You can use pre-made assets from sites such as Open Game Art as long as the license permits it (eg. public domain, Creative Commons etc.). Make sure you give proper credit so the judges know what is your work and what is the work of others.
  • You can present a prototype, model, or proof of concept with accompanying rule book for the panel to judge.
  • Groups will submit games using All games must be submitted by 3pm on Sunday 25 April 2021.
  • This hack is aimed at adults to create games which may be used in events across our service.


Thanks to Libraries Connected, Arts Council England and BBC Arts we are able to offer a £150 prize to the winner and two prizes of £50 to the runners up.

What happens after the Jam?

We would love to be able to use your games to inspire others across the city. If you don’t want your game to be used in workshops or for publicity please let one of the organisers know.

Useful resources

Free Game Creation Software
Game Maker (2D, Cross Platform)
Unity (3D, Cross Platform)
Construct 2 (2D, Coss Platform)
Stencyl (2D, Web)
GameSalad (2D, Cross Platform)
Ren’py (Visual Novels, PC)

Free Art Software
Gimp (2D)
Blender (3D)
Pickle (2D, Pixel Art)
Pyxel Edit (2D, Pixel Art)
Spriter (2D, Animation)

Free Sound and Music Software
LMMS (Music Editor)
Musagi (Music Editor)
BFXR (Sound Effects Generator)
Audacity (Audio Editor)

The Leeds Libraries BBC Novels programme is made possible thanks to Libraries Connected, Arts Council England and BBC Arts funding