This jam is now over. It ran from 2017-08-19 07:00:00 to 2017-08-21 06:59:59. View results

Programming in 2017 is complicated, and it's hard for new programmers to find good examples to learn from. The STDIO Game Jam is a weekend-long hackathon to create a large set of small, fun, text-based games that beginner programmers can study. These games use only standard input and output text-streams, for easy-to-understand source code that beginners can study. Every language and operating system supports stdio text, so running these games isn’t hindered by platform differences or frustrating framework installation processes.

The hackathon takes place at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, Oakland’s video game museum and globally through the Internet.

In general, the submissions:

  • Must be short, so they're simple for beginners to learn from. Keep them under 256 lines of code (not including blanks/comments, use CLOC to calculate).
  • Must use only STDIO text streams. No graphics, no curses or moving the text cursor, no text colors.
  • Must use only the programming language's standard library. The user should be able to copy/paste the code and play it, without installing frameworks or doing environment setup first.
  • Must be released under an open license like MIT or BSD, so that tutorials or online courses can make use of them.

Complete rules and information is available on the website:

There's a lot of ideas for games here:

The STDIO Game Jam is heavily influenced by David Ahl’s 1978 book, “Basic Computer Games”. This book listed the source code for a hundred games in BASIC. Readers could play these games, then study their source code to see how they worked. It was widely popular, and the first computer book to sell over a million copies.

It'd be great to have a modern version of this book. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment will compile and self-publish a book of curated submissions to sell, and proceeds go to the museum (a registered 501c3 non-profit). The submissions will also be made freely available online as well.


All submissions
Browser playable (2)
Windows (2)
macOS (2)
Linux (2)
Android (2)

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A simple stdio match-RPG.
Play in browser
The goal in Clever Discard is to discard all cards onto two discard stacks.
Play in browser
Simple falling sand game
A video poker game using only standard I/O. Created for the STDIO game jam.