This jam is now over. It ran from 2020-04-14 14:00:00 to 2020-08-14 14:00:00. View 6 entries

Welcome to the Lynx Programming Competition 2020!

This is a programming competition for anyone wanting to show off their skills at coding for the Atari Lynx. If you think you have what it takes and want your game to be listed in our game database, join, submit and bask in the retro glory of this amazing console!



This competition is brought to you by Atari Gamer and RetroHQ with the help of our sponsors AtariAge and Mark/Space. Last year we also ran a Lynx Programming competition, you can check out its details here - Atari Lynx 30th Birthday Programming Competition.

A special thanks goes out to William Thorup for creating the wonderful cover artwork for this competition!



This year's theme is "Future", but that's future with a twist. Think about how the future would have been imagined back in the 1990s when this console was new. Think of the retro movie posters and the games at the time and imagine them 50 years forward. Flying cars, space exploration, living on the moon, visiting other planets, intelligent robots, blasters and mind control, plus many other wonderful things that were yet to come. We're talking about what the 2040s would look like if you were living in the 90s.

Of course this leaves it very open ended and you're only limited by your imagination!



Without rules we'd all go mad, so lets define some basics...

  • Your game must be for the Atari Lynx console and submitted as a LNX ROM file with a correctly populated header
  • Do not infringe copyright laws - making a port of a game is OK as long as you either own the rights to that game already or can demonstrate that the original rights owner granted you permission, anything found breaching this rule will be disqualified
  • Your game must not have been released in the past for Atari Lynx (if you had an incomplete or demo version of your game released in the past, you can submit a completed version for this competition)
  • Your game must be complete and playable, unfinished/partial submissions will be disqualified
  • You give Atari Gamer and competitions sponsors permission to publish your game on their website and make use of screenshots, story and other content for promotional purposes (this is not automatically extended to making physical copies of your game)
  • Prizes are awarded per submission, you decide how the prize is split
  • No time extensions will be granted, this competition runs for 4 months, so it's up to you to manage your time effectively
  • Atari Gamer and RetroHQ reserve the rights to change these rules at any moment
  • Competition sponsors can enter the competition but are not eligible to receive any prizes (if a sponsor's entry is in the top 3, their prize will be passed onto the next place entry)

And then some extra notes...

  • Team size is not limited and you can submit multiple entries, as long as you do it on their own account, please list all members of the team when submitting
  • You can use any tools or assets you wish and can code in C or Assembly
  • Source code does not need to be submitted but sharing of your code is encouraged



Below are the key dates and times for this competition. We will not be allowing for extra time for late submissions, so be sure to pay attention to the closing date and the time zone.

Start date
(you can submit and publish your game from this point on)
15-April-2020 00:00 (GMT+10)
End date
(submissions cannot be updated after this point and voting opens)
15-August-2020 00:00 (GMT+10)
Voting end date15-September-2020 00:00 (GMT+10)


What's a competition without prizes? We have some very cool incentives to participate, but you only get them if you're in the top 3! The top 3 placing entries will each get a Lynx GD cartridge for Atari Lynx. This cartridge allows you to store your ROMs on a SD card and load them via an easy to use menu. It's a perfect retro gaming accessory and a must-have retro game developer's tool. In addition we have some cash prizes and an offer to have your game published.

1st PlaceLynx GD Cartridge from RetroHQ
5x copies of your game if published via AtariAge
$150 USD paid via PayPal by Mark/Space
2nd PlaceLynx GD Cartridge from RetroHQ
5x copies of your game if published via AtariAge
$100 USD paid via PayPal by Mark/Space
3rd PlaceLynx GD Cartridge from RetroHQ
5x copies of your game if published via AtariAge

All submitted competition entries will be published in the Project Argon (Android Retro Emulation System) digital store as well as on the Atari Gamer game database.

You will also be given the option to participate in the following:

  • Your game published in physical form by AtariAge. Publishing rights, ownership and IP will be negotiated between you and Atari Age on a per-case basis.
  • Releasing a non-competition version of your game on the Project Argon store where you can request payment for your game i.e. you may wish to add extra levels to the game after the competition or have different game modes, enhanced graphics, etc.


Scoring System

The scoring system takes a number of factors into account, these are:

  • Creativity - How new and original is the concept and theme/style for this game?
  • Implementation - Effectiveness and quality of the graphics, sound and music used in the game.
  • Gameplay - How enjoyable/fun the game is to play, taking into account game/level design and controls.
  • Replay - How addictive and replay-able the game is.
  • Overall - Taken as a whole, how the game ranks.

Voting will be open to the public, so tell your friends, relatives and just anyone who would listen about it!


Programming Resources

We've documented a great deal of programming resources to help you get started with Atari Lynx coding. Whether you want to dip into 6502 assembly or write your game in C, we've got your back! If you're new to the Lynx, make sure to read the original documentation before you get started on other materials.

Atari Lynx Programming Resources

You should also pay attention to some of the online tools we've made available to make your job easier...

LNX Header Generator
Palette Generator
LNX2LYX ROM Converter


What are you waiting for, get coding and get Lynxing!



Detailed results are available from:

Below are the final placing scores for the entries:



All submissions
Windows (3)
macOS (3)
Linux (3)
Android (3)
No Saves (4)
Lynx SD (1)

No submissions match your filter

Future soccer againt your past self(s)!
Back to space
A tactical tile placement game, for the Lynx 2020 Programming competition
Card Game
You have a gun...but no bullets - your only to run!
Operate your droid to fetch Space-Time crystals from Titan
A simple space shooter for the AtariAge Lynx Compo