Submissions open from 2021-04-09 22:00:00 to 2021-07-11 22:00:00
Submissions due in

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Game Boy Advance! To celebrate, we're running a homebrew compo. You have 3 months to make something cool that runs on the GBA, using whatever tools you like.

Come join us on Discord for help getting started, and head over to for useful links & resources!

Example: Butano Fighter by GValiente Example: Goodboy Galaxy (unreleased) by hot_pengu and exelotl Example: Blind Jump Portable by Evan Bowman

The Game Boy Advance is a wonderfully unique, fun and accessible machine to develop for. It upholds the graphical techniques of the 8/16-bit era, such as hardware-accelerated tilemaps, sprites and palettes. Yet its 32-bit CPU is powerful enough that you can program for it in high level languages such as C, C++, Rust, Zig and Nim.

This blend of capability and limitations, in addition to being highly portable and widely emulated, makes GBA dev a very rewarding experience!


The total prize pool is already over 400$ and will be split in this way*:

Special prizes:

  • Most Original entry: IPS modded GBA SP, courtesy of klomp
  • Most Technically Impressive entry: 50$

If you publish your game source code and assets on a public repository (e.g. GitHub) under an open source license (GPL, MIT, Apache, CC0) you get 20% more of the prize as a bonus!

*Prize tiers are still work in progress, expect changes. Money prizes are subject to fees and conversions. They may be delivered as gift cards of your choice. The open source bonus applies to the monetary part of the prize, even if you get two (e.g. an entry wins the 4th place + the most technically impressive prize, 20% is applied on 60+50)


The entire prize pool is community funded. You can donate here. GitHub will match your amount, doubling the effect on the prize pool! We're extremely grateful to the following contributors: exelotl, AntonioND, Mte90, klomp, GValiente, oshf, fleroviux, avivace, sunbro, MagicBottle, mnktuk, gbdev community.


I've never made a GBA game before, where do I start?
  The standard way is to install devkitARM and read the Tonc tutorial.
  Even if you don't plan on using C, it's worth reading the first half of Tonc to get familiar with the GBA concepts.

How long should I spend on my entry?
  As much or little time as you want - if you're unsure, just pick a weekend and see how far you get!
  We don't expect you to spend the entire 3 months on it.

Can I work in a team?
  Sure, if you're willing to share the prize >:)
  If you're looking for a partner, we have a dedicated #gbajam-matchmaking channel on our Discord.

Can I make something that's not a game?
  Yes, you can make anything (demo, toy, tool, port, music cart, etc.) as long as it runs on the GBA!
  (i.e. the submission should include a .gba file)

Can I use art/music/assets/code I didn't make myself?
  Yes, as long as you have the rights to use it, and credit the author(s) appropriately.

Can I make a romhack?
  No, as it would not be possible for you to legally distribute the resulting .gba file.

Can I include NSFW content in my entry?
  No, please keep it safe for work and avoid anything overly edgy or distasteful.

Can I enter with something I was already working on before the start of the jam?
  Generally no, but we may allow it as long as the majority of work is done during the jam.
  If in doubt, please ask us before proceeding!
  Examples of things that are allowed:
  - A brand new game using a your own 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).
  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.

Can I submit more than one entry?
  Sure! The entries will be rated separately, but each person or team may only accept prizes on behalf of a single entry
  (i.e. you can't win both the 1st and 2nd place prize)

If I'm a judge, can I submit an entry for fun?
  Yes, you just won't be eligible for prizes. The prizes go to the highest-ranked entries that are not from a judge.

Can I submit GB/GBC games?
  No, only GBA native games are allowed.

Can I submit a game in a language other than English?
  If your entry requires players to understand text, it must be possible to play in English, as this is the only spoken language that all judges have in common.

Judging Criteria

The judges of GBA Jam 2021 are:  AntonioND, avivace, exelotl, fleroviux, kevtris, krom, GValiente

After the jam ends, each entry will be rated on the following criteria:

  • Overall  -  What do you think of this entry as a whole?
  • 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? (if applicable)
  • Audio  -  How good are the music and sound effects? (if applicable)

The winner will be determined by the entry with the highest average score in the "Overall" category.