This jam is now over. It ran from 2016-05-12 14:00:00 to 2016-05-22 14:00:00. View results


  1. Find a PUBLIC DOMAIN story or character
  2. Make a game!
  3. Submit it to the jam page
  4. When the jam's over, play the games and give feedback / ratings!

Games will be rated on:
Graphics / Sound / Fun / Use of source material / Use of the bonus theme

This year's bonus theme: Unscripted

Why are there so many Cthulu and zombie games?

They're both well known and free to use, but a lot of people who make games aren't aware of just how many good stories they can make games with for free:

Robin Hood, Zorro, Dracula, John Carter, Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Alice in Wonderland, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Hercules, Paul Bunyan, Captain Nemo, King Arthur, Allan Quatermain, Moby Dick, Van Helsing, Ares, Zeus, Aladdin, Dorian Grey, Don Quixote, Gulliver's Travels, The Night Before Christmas, The Three Musketeers, Odysseus, Red Riding Hood, Grimms Fairy Tales, Thor, The Pied Piper, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera, Romeo and Juliet, The Iliad, C. Auguste Dupin, Beowulf, Poseidon, Scheherazade, The Jungle Book, The War of the Worlds, Peter Pan...


There are some seriously cool sites out there that make reading, listening to and sharing work in the public domain easy. There's no cost to enter the jam, but if you like the idea of the classics being kept free by volunteers, consider donating to one of these sites:

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg offers over 45,000 ebooks that are in the public domain, ensuring everyone has access to those great and important books, even without a local library.


LibriVox provides over 7,000 audiobooks for free for anyone to listen to. They started in 2005, which means they record an average of two books a day - all read by volunteers!

The New York Public Library Digital Collections

A living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. The creative commons licenses are the easiest way to let people know what is and isn't okay to do with your creative work, including the cc0 waiver - the equivalent of public domain for new works.

You can release your work under a creative commons license when you submit your game, so other people can make new things with it!


How can I tell if something's OK to use?

It can be pretty tricky to tell if something is actually in the public domain. Public Domain is different in almost every country. If you're in the US, Project Gutenberg is an incredible resource for you to get started. Goodreads has a massive list of books that are in the public domain. LibriVox is also a great resource for audio versions those books.

Works that are in the public domain in the U.S. may not be public domain in your country! If you're not in the US, Project Gutenberg has sister-projects in many other countries, that are a good indication of which books are Public Domain for you.

Can I start making my game now?

No. Don't start making your game until the theme's announced. Instead, use this time to look into stories that you might want to use, and make sure that it's legal to use them.

Using works with modern remakes

If you're going to use a public domain work that's had a recent, memorable remake like "Sherlock", or "Romeo and Juliet", please be careful to avoid using the distinguishing aspects of that remake. It's fine to take Shakespeare and put it in a modern setting, but the character/set designs from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet AREN'T public domain, and aren't okay to use.

Do I have to release MY game as public domain?

No, it's optional to release your game under a Creative Commons CC0 waiver.

Can I use public domain art/sound assets in my game?

YES You can use anything as long as it's legal for you to do so.

Do I have to work solo, or can I work in a team?

You can do either. Working in teams is totally fine.

Do I follow the public domain status of a work in my own country, or in America?

Your own country. That's where the retelling is occuring, so that's which status should be applied.

Got a question that isn't here? Ask me on Twitter, and I'll add it.


All submissions
Browser playable (2)
Windows (10)
macOS (7)
Linux (6)

No submissions match your filter

Entry for Public Domain Jam 3, "Unscripted". Shakespearian Mad Libs!
You are the Robin Hood, a medieval outlaw, reputed to steal the rich and helped the poor.
Fin de siècle? Fin du globe.
Public Domain Jam 3 Stumbling HorseMan
Play in browser
It isn't easy being a wolf in a fairy tale forest.
Princess Langwidere gets a unusual call for help
Visual Novel
Modern urban ghetto interpretation of Robinhood
A #PDJam3 game about a simple man who can take any shape
Play in browser
Battle mythological monsters as a god of Olympus.
This is a game about Super Heroines trying to show off
Narrative prototype based on The Bet by Anton Chekhov.