Welcome to Magical Girl Game Jam #6!
The Magical Girl Game Jam is held twice a year, during the spring break and summer break in Japan (Feb-Mar and Aug-Sept), with the length of the jam usually 30 days long. This jam started informally in early 2020 with the expectation that this jam would only exist once or twice during the pandemic; but as the pandemic drags on and the community grows, it is decided that the jam is going to be held regularly twice a year.
Discord server: https://discord.gg/nvHPB4X
There are 6 themes. Due to some circumstances, the themes have been released 6 days earlier than usual, on August 2nd 2022. Use the themes as inspiration and interpret them however you see fit:
You are free to interpret the themes however you like as long as you can justify the use when asked. Does "smile" refers to smilers from the backrooms saga? Does "sweet" mean candy? Does "sister" mean nuns? Does "sadistic" refer to the enemy or the player? Does "surprise" refer to a game mechanic you put in a strategy game where the element of surprise is important? Does "service" refer to military service? Up to you.
Use at least one of the themes, and you can add whatever things you want to the game. Surprise me :3
Your submissions will be rated publicly based on the following criteria.
- Magical Girl Concept
- How creative are the magical girl ideas in the game?
- Changed from "Magical Girl Design" from MGGJ2
- Duh. How fun the gameplay/story is
- The creativity of the gameplay mechanics primarily
- This is changed from graphics from previous jams.
- How well the game looks in general
- Are the artstyles consistent? If the game is in pixel arts, do they have inconsistent pixel sizes?
- How well the audio enhances the gaming experience
- Includes music if the game has one
- Primarily talks about gameplay/experience polish. Is the difficulty balanced? Does the game give good player feedbacks, making it more fun to play? Special effects? If it's mostly narration are the texts properly screened for errors that may ruin player experience?
- Graphics and audio polish should be rated based on the previous criteria
- Theme Interpretation
- This is talking about the six themes, not about the whole premise of the jam being themed around Magical Girls.
What is a Magical Girl?
Some people unexpectedly joined the jam without knowing what the Magical Girl genre is in the first jam, so from MGGJ2 onwards, I decided to put this section to explain a bit about what the Magical Girl genre is.
To put it simply, the Magical Girl genre, or Mahō Shōjo (魔法少女) in Japanese, is a genre about cute girls having cute magical powers -- often associated with anime, manga, and other Japanese works. In my own personal opinions, some primary characteristics of the Magical Girl genre are (NOTE: THIS IS NOT PART OF THE RULE. The following is simply meant to introduce to those who are not familiar with the genre):
- Cute girl with magical powers.
- Cute dresses -- not always though... some Magical Girls go the elegant route while others go the wild route
- Transformation or Magical form -- not always but I think most do have it
If I need to emphasize this more, this is just my own opinion, not strict guidelines. Feel free to subvert or deviate from my expectations, but make a Magical Girl.
Some examples of Magical Girl works:
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica
- A veeery cute one. The cutest, most cheerful of all Magical Girl shows. A complete masterpiece. I recommend this one very strongly
If you are previously not familiar with the Magical Girl genre, I hope this explanation at least gives you a vague idea of what you should be aiming for.
For more information, you can check the TV Tropes page for it. While to avoid removal it is enough to fulfill the definition "girls with magical powers", I want you to aim for TV Tropes's Magical Girls
Although I want as much freedoms for you jammers to have, there are still rules in the Magical Girl Game Jam. The most important ones are:
- Rule #2: Thou shalt put at least one Magical Girl character in your game -- it can be your main character, the enemy, anything. Creating an original character is strongly encouraged. For the purpose of this jam, the bare minimum requirement is a "Girl with Magical Power" -- as long as you fulfill this, removal for that specific reason won't happen.
- Rule #164295: Thou shalt properly follow the themes (or other forms the specific MGGJ might have)
- Rule #3028: Thou shalt keep pornographic materials away from your game. Bare minimum criteria: no female n*ppl*s, no genitalia -- as long as you do not include them removal for this reason won't happen. It is encouraged however, that you do more than that bare minimum. Gore NSFW are mostly unrestricted but I'd discourage anyone to go too far.
- Rule #99742: Thy game has to be free to play upon submission
- Rule #394899: Thou shalt submit video games. The question came out in MGGJ3 and I had to technically allow non-video game submissions such as board games in MGGJ3. From MGGJ4 onwards however, only video game submissions are accepted.
- Rule #125992: Answer the submission fields/questionnaire as truthfully as possible. Intentional falsehoods in the answers, if caught, may lead to removal depending on the significance.
- Additionally, to make it easier for the host to screen your submission, please properly answer the questions and avoid vague, ambiguous, non-descriptive, or confusing answers. Simple answers are advised and long essays are not required, but please give proper answers. As an example, for the question asking how your game fits the Magical Girl genre, quickly explaining how your game has which character wielding what magical power works; but simply saying "My game has got Magical Girl" does not really answer the question.
- Also, please answer the questionnaire in English. Non-English games are not prohibited, but English is required for the questionnaires for quick screening.
- Rule #314159: Unfinished games shall be allowed. If you couldn't finish on time, it is advised to submit an unfinished version first then update later, since this jam allows for updates during rating period (although please leave the original version available if possible).
- Rule #217828: Thou art free to use any assets you have legal access to -- however, I encourage you to create as much as possible during the jam, and during submission you will be asked about it -- players might rate more harshly if your game is mostly purchased assets.
- Rule #161803: If thou wanteth more chance for the jam owner to play your game, it is advised to create a browser playable game with managable difficulty and reasonable length.
- Rule #141421: Prioritization of quality over quantity is advised. Which do you prefer to play: a game that gives you a pleasant experience for 20 minutes or a game that gives you an unpleasant experience for 3 hours?
- Rule #480224: Please be very careful if thou ever decide to insert politics into your game. Due to the toxic and divisive nature of the topic, I have always discouraged the inclusion of politics into my jam since the start of MGGJ. Despite my discouragement however, submissions with political undertone/statements are generally safe from removal as long as it is kept civil; but submissions with toxic messages such as those that target/judge/harass people based on unchangable identities may be subject to removal.
- Rule #33: Thou shalt respect the unwritten rules for game jams in general:
- Only submit games that are made for the sake of this jam. To quote itch's quality guideline: Do not add your game to unrelated jams for promotion.
- Keep toxicity away from this jam... or any jam for that matter
- Rule #1: Have fun! :)
(Please don't mind the numbers. I was just making a little joke reference. Those of you who know what I referenced, high five to you!)
Rules in bold are hard rules; violations of which will almost definitely lead to removal of your submission if caught. Rule #33 can also be enforced subjectively as grounds for removal in extreme severe cases (e.g. submitting games made before the jam page even existed).
Also while this is not really a rule, I would appreciate it if you put the following hashtags if you tweet about this jam: #MGGJ, #MGGJ6
A few questions that came up a few times during MGGJ3, 4, and the current 5, in my discord server that may be in your head too if you are new:
- What do you define as "Magical Power"?
- For the purpose of this jam, there are a few ways it can fit:
- A power the author declares as magical.
- A power that may not be explicitly declared as such by the author, but natural explanations for the power is not given.
- A power the author may declare as not magical (e.g. machines), but somewhat intends to feel magical and/or mimics something you may expect if it were magical. For a quick test, try to replace the supposed "non-magical explanation" with "magic" and see if it makes sense and does not feel forced.
- Do Magical Boys count?
- In general, no; but as long as the magical form is a girl, you may have the non-magical form as any other forms including animals, boys, objects, etc. and it still counts -- or maybe the opposite such as a girl having the ability to change into objects. As long as we can see a girl wielding some sort of magical power in action, it is good.
- In addition, as long as you put at least one Magical Girl I don't mind what else you put into your game as long as it doesn't get you into legal troubles.
- Can I submit my game into other jams?
- If it also fits that jam, yes. Feel free to do multiple jams in conjunction if it happens to coincide with MGGJ.
- Beware though if you submit to so many jams, it might look suspicious. If I see your game being submitted to jams that your game doesn't actually fit into, even if your game fits my jam, I might question whether or not your game fitting into my jam is just a coincidence.
- Can I submit multiple games into this jam?
- If you have the time, sure! You can also participate in multiple teams; your choice. As long as you have the time, and your games all fit into the themes.
- Can I continue my project from previous MGGJs?
- (Answer changed from previous jams) If you do, it is much better if you create a separate page for it, especially if it has been published from all the way back. One red flag the host looks out for when screening any submission is after all, to see whether or not the game was made during the jam period; games that have been published from before the jam page was even created triggers a lot of red flags.
- Does a commercial game with a free demo fulfill the game has to be free rule?
- No. You are saying you made a game worth paying in a month-long game jam, and you offer to submit a demo whose content is a fraction of that, time wise a fraction of the month-long period, for this jam? I don't think so. Instead you should simply make a jam version and then continue to expand it into something worth paying.
- Can I pick multiple themes?
- Yes. Picking multiple themes is logically also picking at least one theme. If I were to forbid this all you needed to do would be to pretend as if you only had picked one theme and just coincidentally had matched the other themes.
- Can I modify my game during the rating period?
- I am very lax regarding this, so in this casual jam, I do not lock submission modification during rating period. However, I request you include all versions every time you add a new one -- or at least just the original one or the last one submitted before the submission period ends.
- Can I submit my game late?
- Until MGGJ3, I used to allow it. This time however, and onwards, unless your reason is very, very convincing (e.g. you finished your game way before and was ready to submit 24 hours before the closing, but then a magnitude 9 earthquake destroys your house's electricity and internet connection for a few days), I do not intend to accept any late submissions. Rather than submitting late, if you are unable to finish your game on time but still want to submit, it is better to submit first then modify later (do keep the original tho).
- The themes are revealed 1 week before the start of the jam itself. Why?
- My jam, my rules XP. However, the primary reason is to let players ponder about the theme for a week first before jumping straight into coding/asset making/etc.; I want you people to have a mature concept/plan first. Can you start making your game anyway during that time? Yes; and I can't check. It's really up to you, although I think it's much better to work on the concept first (^.^;
- Why are there multiple themes anyway?
- My jam, my rules :/. The reason is that I don't want the themes to be restrictive. I want the themes to function as inspiration, not as restrictions. The idea came from a story my friend told me of a Game Jam he participated in. I can't go into details but the jam in question is said to use Sonic titles as themes.
- With your definition <non-Magical Girl character X> is a Magical Girl (or vise versa)?
- Well obviously I want as many obvious Magical Girl characters in while keeping as many obvious non-Magical Girl characters out... We however, are dealing with art and fiction, and it is basically impossible for me or anyone to enact a hard-line one fits all definition to pigeon hole everything perfectly. If there were such a thing, people will always find ways to subvert it. Because of that, what I put is simply a bare minimum definition that is as loose as possible which in consequent may technically allow obvious non-Magical Girl characters in (e.g. Wizards, some Sci-Fi chars); but I want you to aim for TVTropes' ideal. If you have better ideas for the definitions however, I will welcome it.
Some of you who are new might want to see games (or themes) from previous jams. Here are some links to the previous jams: