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A jam submission

Budget BusterView game page

Portable ghost busting action!
Submitted by undergroundmonorail — 20 hours, 2 minutes before the deadline
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CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Adherence to the Theme#1634.4764.476

Ranked from 21 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

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This is a well designed GAMEBOY game!  In only two days. Wow! :D

The idea of constantly switching between the ghosts seems to be nice and fun at first but gets exhausting and thus a bit annoying. On the other hand is the direction lock while shooting great idea.

However, it's a very solid entry! Very well done!


This is nice! I when I was a kid I had a computer that ran on Z80 processor, I used to program things in Basic on it, but assembly was way out of reach (back then the only way to learn something was to take a course or buy a book, and sure assembly was out of the question). Your game took me back to those old days (much better days compared to my present). Enough talking about me, let me talk about the game: I like how much effort and love you put in here, your interpretation of the theme is very good, and although you restricted yourself with the hardware you used, you were able to use what was available in a good way. I found myself dying a lot, and it took me sometime (and some reading) to understand what was going on, this needs some tweaking, I think.

All in all, this is a solid entry and I really like it! May be you can make some series on how to make a GB game :)


If a series about making Game Boy games in ASM is something folks might be interested in, I'd consider it :P It's a lot of just breaking down problems to solvable chunks, the same way any kind of programming is, but to a greater extent.  There's still a lot I don't know, though, and right now only really simple games make sense with my skill level. But hey, maybe one day!


You know, as far as my humble knowledge goes, the mainstream game programmers are going for ECS paradigm, thinking of games in a data driven style rather than OO style, and although popular game engines are still inclined towards a more OOP approach, this is only for ease of use, but huge projects would approach the programming differently. This is why I believe what you are doing is really important. With the limitations you are setting , you are forcing yourself to think in a data driven way, and this exercise will render itself very helpful. This is also why I might be interested in making GB games in ASM, so count me in :D


This was pretty cool - and bonus points for making this on a literal GameBoy. Took me a little while to figure out what was going on and why I kept dying until I read the description like an intelligent human being. A very clever concept, very tricky!

I found I basically wound up mashing B and A at all times. It's not necessarily bad, but it means there wasn't really an interesting decision there - I always want to be shooting and switching between ghosts, the interesting decision is where do I want to be and which direction do I want to be facing? I think some of the ideas discussed below where you can't switch or shoot as often would be good, but there would probably have to be fewer ghosts (maybe 5 to 9, in keeping with the apocryphal rule of thumb about working memory).


The ghosts are actually already limited to 8 at a time :P The Game Boy can have 40 objects (read: anything represented by a sprite) in memory, but it can only handle 10 sprites on any given line. The player and the bullet are both sprites so I capped ghosts at 8 so I'd never have to worry about it.

That said, having it feel good is a lot more important than hitting a specific target number, so that's definitely something I'll have to play with when I go back after the jam and tweak it.

What pains me is that I even considered capping your switch speed while I was developing the game, but the only playtester (me) didn't end up playing in such a way that it was necessary. *sigh* It's like I like to say: Show me a game dev who says "damn, we have too many playtesters" and I'll show you someone who forgot they promised food.


This is both really well designed and really impressive that it's implemented for the GameBoy!

If I had to critique one thing it's that the fact that you basically want to permanently mash B, the game gets a lot easier if you remap the emulator controls so that you can shoot with the same hand you use for steering, so the other hand can just permanently mash (e.g. WASD, Space for A, J for B). Before I did that, I usually died around 10-15 ghosts with a high score of 22. After changing it, I promptly got 48. This isn't an issue when actually playing on the GameBoy, but since constantly mashing a button is still going to be an optimal strategy, maybe it would be better to limit how often you can switch ghosts (or have it happen automatically) but then spawn fewer ghosts.

Nevertheless, full score for this one! :)

Btw, I really like that the ghosts prefer diagonal movement. Games that don't do that but only have orthogonal shooting tend to be really annoying.


I did consider something having something like a cooldown on the swap mechanic, but I talked myself out of it somehow. Maybe after the jam I'll make a version with cooldown and see how it plays.

Thanks for the rating and feedback! c:


Holy Moly.
I need to be highly motivated to decide to make an GameBoy game in 48h ! Good Job !

I saw recently a GitHub project to help making GameBoy game. Did you use it ? Or you basically wrote all the assembly by hand.
In both case you have my congratulations !

Good submission ! :)


This is 100% hand crafted ASM :) I have seen things like GB Studio around but I haven't given them a shot yet.

Thank you!


Kudos for making it in gameboy. At first I thought the game was glitchy because I always died unexpectedly (I didn't read the description properly), but then I managed to figured out why.

Fun game with clear connection to the theme.


Super extra bonus points for making this for Gameboy! This game really makes you feel big-brained when you start tracking the location of everything and actually get it right.


Holy cow. Really fun game, and super impressive it runs on gameboy. I gave it one star from perfect, only taking one off design because it was really hard to figure out a good strat for finding and killing enemies without it completely overwhelming you. Fantastic work


interesting i don't know how your supposed to strategize when you don't know where the threats are it turned into a fire blindly and try to move into the area you have shot but it seems to be more lick than anything...  kudos for going for GB based game... thats a unique skill


Goin' full Gameboy is certainly novel! The core mechanic of only being aware of one enemy at a time is a great use of the game's theme, and the core way the game plays fits that well. We wish that there were tighter corridors for the enemy to come down, though; since they can come from anywhere, and through walls, we didn't really form a strategy. Trying to play by flipping between ghosts and popping them as they come is only somewhat more effective than spinning in a circle and shooting.

This was a charming game, and it's nice to hear that you were able to round it out! Only caught a teensy bit of you streaming its development.


Can't say I expected a gameboy game for a submission! I'm curious how you came to learn gameboy assembly.

Anyways, I like the concept and it leads to some nice frantic gameplay as I keep mashing b to scout out my enemies. The requirement to have to physically move towards the direction you want to shoot also forces the player sometimes go out of position into risky potentially uncharted territory. I'd probably enjoy it more if only the 360 controller D-pad wasn't so terrible...


Wow, Imprerssive you went to the effort of making it actually playable on a gameboy. wow, just wow!


aha, thank you. i did it partially because game boy assembly is the only game dev experience i have at all (i threw together a simple proof of concept a couple years ago), but i could have learned something else and it probably would have been easier. the main reason i did it is that i thought it was very funny to write a game boy game in assembly for a 48 hour game jam :P