Game Boy Competition 2023
Join us for an epic game development event celebrating the classics! Show off your creativity and skills by crafting original games, demos, homebrew tools or music specifically designed for the legendary Game Boy. Get ready to battle it out for fame, honor, and an incredible array of prizes that await the best entries.
The jam is hosted on Itch.io. It will run from June 15th to September 15, 2023.
Theme: You are the monster.
Prizes and Categories
An entry can compete in one and only one of the following leaderboards:
- Games (80% of the prize pool)
- Music cartridges (1 prize)
- Demoscene style (1 prize)
- This category is for audio-visual demonstrations that run without viewer interaction, in such a way as to demonstrate skill in manipulation of the Game Boy hardware through code, special effects, art, music, and direction. More on Wikipedia.
- Examples: Back to Color, Is that a demo in your pocket?, Cute Demo CGB.
- Tool (1 prize)
The rankings are decided according to the judging criteria.
We'd love to hear from participants, share your progress using the
#gbcompo23 hashtag and join the conversation on the Discord
We're also on Mastodon.
Here is a curated list tools and documentation to get you started.
- General links
- RGBDS (ASM language)
- GBDK (C language)
- GBStudio (no coding required)
- GBSDK (C + RGBDS ASM, without a standard library)
- Main sponsor: Incube8Games
- Gold sponsors: FerranteCrafts, Macho Nacho
- Silver sponsors: Bitmap Soft, Broke Studio, Yastuna Games
- Bronze sponsors: insideGadgets
Interested in sponsoring? Shoot us a DM.
Prizes and Judging
- The submitted entry must implement / interpret the jam theme (applies to Game category only).
- Multiple submissions are allowed from the same person or team. They will be rated separately, but each person or team may only accept prizes on behalf of a single entry (e.g., you can't win both the 1st and 2nd place prize).
- Judges can submit entries, but the entries won't be eligible for prizes. Judges won't score the entries they submitted.
- Source code is optional, but very much appreciated. Entries submitted with source code (public repositories on GitHub/GitLab/... are accepted) and with an open source license (See rule 5) are eligible for additional prizes. Make sure to fill the "Open Source repository" field with a valid and public repository when submitting on itch.io. It is NOT necessary for the source to be available during the competition period. Repositories/sources just need to be public from the time the event ends. See this issue for further details.
- To be eligible for the OSS bonus, the code must be licensed under an "Open Source" license (any of the "Free" license listed here is accepted). Assets can be licensed under any of the CC licenses. Obfuscated code, non-reproducible builds, intentionally making the source code hard to read/re-use will exclude the entry form the OSS leaderboards. This is at discretion of the hosts and judges. We must be able to read the code and compile it into a working ROM, running a script or following instructions.
- If your submission contains text that isn't available in English, some judges might not be able to read that, and they will judge accordingly.
- Shipment of physical prizes may not be available to all countries, they are subject to shipping ability of the prize donors.
- Final entry "deliverable" must consist of a GB or GBC ROM file. You can also attach descriptive documents in TXT, Markdown, PDF or HTML file format (e.g. game manual).
- The ROM file will be tested on real hardware (primarily a GBC) and on the BGB emulator. In case of different results, the hardware test will be the trusted one.
- GBC features are allowed, and entries may be GBC only (GBC only should be indicated in game for non-GBC hardware or on the entry's page).
- SGB features are allowed. The entries will be evaluated mainly on Game Boy Color. You can use SGB features, but don't rely on them as main features for your entry.
- Only some official MBC chips (MBC1, MBC2, MBC3 and MBC5, as well as no MBC at all) are allowed. The only exceptions are:
- While Nintendo only manufactured very specific MBC+ROM combinations, we will allow any power-of-two ROM size between 32 KiB and the maximum for the chosen chip. (This is simply a convenience feature, as any ROM image can be extended to fit a larger ROM chip by appending copies of itself.)
- The ROM+RAM combination (i.e., without an MBC, up to 32 KiB ROM and 8 KiB SRAM), with or without battery, will be accepted for compatibility, as many people have simple flash carts that do have SRAM but don't have an MBC. (This can be trivially emulated by any MBC1, MBC3 or MBC5 configuration.)
- The variants MBC30 and MBC1M are accepted, as they have been used in licensed games.
- Some official MBCs added extra components to the cart: MBC3/MBC30 carts could have an RTC, and MBC5 carts could have rumble. These combinations, and only these combinations, will be accepted. In particular, this means it's impossible to have RTC and rumble in the same cart.
- Entries cannot rely on extra hardware or add-on devices, they must be playable without a specific setup.
- As long as you produce a GB or GBC ROM file that runs on GB/GBC, any tool to develop the entry is allowed. This includes RGBDS (ASM), GBDK (C), ZGB (C), GB Studio, ...
Teams are allowed (award will be split).
ROM Hacks are not allowed.
NSFW content is not allowed. Please keep it safe for work and avoid anything overly edgy or distasteful.
The entry must be submitted on the itch.io jam page.
Your work must be new and original. You cannot enter with something you were already working on before the start of the jam. The majority of work should be done during the jam. If in doubt, please ask us before proceeding.
Examples of things that are allowed:
- A brand new game using your own (or any) existing game engine.
- A remake of your (or someone else's) game for a different platform, but with new code and assets.
- A brand new game you barely started (e.g. you only made a title screen or a mockup of the gameplay).
- Using templates, tutorial code as starting point (when they're license allow to do so, e.g. gb-boilerplate)
- Asset packs for art and music and covers of other music are allowed if the licensing permits. Be sure to make note of what is being reused or re-interpreted and under what terms. Use of pre-made assets and content (vs wholly original) may be factored in when judges assess points for relevant criteria (e.g. graphics, audio).
Examples of things that are not allowed:
- A project you've been working on for months.
- An update/patch for a game you already released publicly.
The submission must be available for free for the public (and not only the judges). Submission will be published and kept online for free on the competition website, while you are free to keep working on it (and eventually charge for it/make commercial usage).
It is allowed to submit an entry to multiple events.
A team of (~10) judges has been selected before the start of the competition.
Every judge will be asked to compile an unranked shortlist of their favourite entries. Once the shortlists are ready from all the judges, the top 15 most selected entries will be evaluated by the judges on the following criteria:
- Gameplay - How entertaining are the gameplay mechanics? How fun is the game?
- Technical - How innovative is it from a technical perspective? Does it push the hardware to the limit?
- Originality - How refreshing is it from a non-technical perspective? Does it have a unique design / mechanics?
- Graphics - How impressive are the art, animation and visual effects?
- Audio - How good are the music and sound effects?
- Theme - How was the theme implemented in the gameplay, the mechanics and/or the story?
Applicability may vary depending on the category of the entry (e.g. a "Music" ROM may be evaluated only on 5)-
The final leaderboard is computed by averaging the "Overall" score.
Judges are volunteers. Those details can change without prior notice, as the judging process is long and involves hundreds of entries. Detailed criteria leaderboards will be provided only for entries in the final shortlist.
Special thanks to everyone who helped organising and running this event:
Donators: Anonymous Donator
Partners: gbdev.io, LaroldsJubilantJunkyard, RetroBreak, GB Studio Central
Organisers: avivace, Tronimal, duodreamer, bbbbbr, ISSOtm, RetroBreak, LaroldsJubilantJunkyard, ProximitySound, Hacktix
Judges: avivace, ISSOtm, Duo, Tronimal, Ferrante Crafts, NickWestwood, Veund, Toxa
Unordered final shortlist:
Ghost of the Arcade, Enceladus, Feed IT Souls, Hidden Gems, Slayer the Hawk, EXTERMINATOR, Imperium Strike Force, Abducted, Chantey (Prologue), Lightseeker, The Host, Slime Trials, Kaiju Kai Kai, NUNYA, Hermano