SAAM Arcade Indie Developer Application 2020: Game Changers: Women's Stories in Gaming
SAAM Arcade is an annual event presented by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Arcade is a family-friendly event where hundreds of people an hour may play your game. This year, SAAM Arcade will take place August 1-2, 2020 and will feature a selective group of independent developers whose works are centered around a particular theme. We are now accepting applications for inclusion in the 2020 Indie Developer Showcase event; if selected, developers will be awarded a small stipend and invited to show their game at SAAM Arcade.
Developers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to apply. If a game has been shown at SAAM previously it is not eligible for re-submission, but developers who have previously shown are welcome to submit new projects.

The theme for SAAM Arcade 2020 is Game Changers.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment---a centennial being celebrated across the Smithsonian and in SAAM programming all year---the theme of the 2020 SAAM Arcade is focused on the role of women in affecting major change in society, in the political sphere, and in the gaming industry.
In 1848, activists Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton invited their peers to convene in Seneca Falls, New York, where the group agreed that women could—and should—have their own political identities—and that meant they deserved the right to vote. After the Civil War, more and more women joined new organizations dedicated to promoting women’s suffrage. It wasn’t until the United States entry into WWI that the tide truly turned. For the first time, a woman was elected to Congress; women stood in for men in the American workforce in fields that had never previously hired female workers. Having made themselves invaluable to the war effort, President Woodrow Wilson called for women’s suffrage as a war measure. The bill passed in 1919, and was enacted into national law on August 18, 1920.

The struggle to change the status quo has always been present in video game narratives—in fact, many of the most iconic relationships in game narratives are centered on the underestimated individual, striving against the dominant force. The most iconic game characters—Mario, Lara Croft, Ms. Pac-Man-- face ongoing struggles that can only be overcome by a combination of resourcefulness, skill, and tireless dedication. The American mythos has that legacy in common with video games—our nation’s greatest heroes struggled against the grain, fighting to create a better world for themselves, their friends and families, and the American people.
The fight for women’s suffrage was not the first fight for American rights, nor was it the last. To this day, we look to great reformers and activists as American heroes, individuals who stood up against tyranny and injustice and worked for a better future for themselves and their descendants. The fight for women’s rights—and for the rights of all Americans—has continued into the 21st century, and today’s reformers celebrate the work of women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony while continuing to expand their definitions of justice, fairness, and civic duty.

We are looking for games that fit into one or more of the following categories:
1. Games about women’s suffrage, the passage of the 19th amendment, and women’s history in America;
2. Games that focus on women protagonists and/or feature narratives about women;
3. Games that utilize unique and/or non-violent fight mechanics and/or difficulty progressions in gameplay.

Please read all instructions thoroughly. Incomplete applications AND applications with dead/missing links will not be considered for the showcase.

Developers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to apply. If a game has been shown at SAAM previously it is not eligible for re-submission, but developers who have previously shown are welcome to submit new projects.

Entries are due by 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 15, 2020. If you have any questions, please e-mail

PLEASE NOTE: If you are submitting a tabletop game, you will need to submit a playable copy of your game via mail to the coordinators for review. Please mail tabletop games to:

SAAM Arcade c/o Lauren Kolodkin
750 9th Street NW Suite 420
Washington, DC 20001
Email address *
Contact Information
This is so we can get to know you (and how we know who worked on your submission).
Developer Name (Primary Contact) *
Your answer
Email Address *
Your answer
Phone Number *
Please include international code for non-US numbers.
Your answer
Additional Developer Names
Your answer
Are you (or is anyone on your team) a person of color, woman, person with a disability, LGBTQ+, or other underrepresented/minority group? *
Are you a student?
What is your game about?
Describe your game; how is it played? What is the main topic? What type of game is it? How does it work?

NOTE: This section asks you to submit a number of live links. Please test that all links and submitted builds are working before submitting your application. Entries submitted without a playable game build file or valid link to playable demo will be labeled incomplete and will not be reviewed.
Game Title *
Your answer
Describe your game. *
Take this opportunity to tell us about your game and what makes it special.
Your answer
TL/DR your game - describe it in two sentences or less. *
Your answer
This game applies to the 2020 Indie Showcase Theme because... *
Please refer to the submission prompt to guide your answers. You may choose one or more options.
Please explain how your work is connected to the idea of "Game Changers." *
Use the information at the beginning of the application to guide your answers. Please limit answer to 300 words. Be thorough, but concise.
Your answer
What inspired you to create your game?
Please give us a short statement about what creative and technical inspiration led you and your team to develop your game.
Your answer
Why do you think that women's narratives are less prevalent in AAA video games? *
Please give us a short statement answering the question and commenting on the stories and experiences of women in video games.
Your answer
Link to Game Trailer/Demonstration Video *
Your answer
Project URL *
Your answer
Link to Playable Demo *
PLEASE NOTE: If you are submitting a tabletop game, you will need to submit a playable copy of your game via mail to SAAM Arcade c/o Lauren Kolodkin, 750 9th Street NW Ste. 420, Washington DC 20009
Your answer
Please provide links to any static images of the game you would like to include.
Your answer
Please select all platforms your game can be played on: *
Other questions
What does your game need? Have you shown it before?
To work properly, this game needs: *
Please select all options that would apply to your submission.
Equipment (to be supplied by developer) *
List any equipment you would bring to SAAM, including computers, monitors, consoles, controllers, signage, extension cords, etc.
Your answer
Has your game been exhibited before? *
If you answered "yes," where?
Please include any appropriate links.
Your answer
Has your game received any previous press coverage? *
If you answered "yes," when/where?
Please include any appropriate links.
Your answer
My work can be used for promotional materials related to SAAM Arcade 2020. *
A copy of your responses will be emailed to the address you provided.
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