Submissions open from 2023-09-29 21:00:00 to 2023-10-01 21:00:00
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Who can enter? Anyone, of any age, from anywhere. You can work alone or in teams (up to 4 people). You do however need to be able to present your game at Retro Game Con in Syracuse, NY during the event on October 7-8th to be eligible for prizes/awards. 

When does the jam take place? Friday, September 29th (9/29) @ 5 PM EST through Sunday, October 1st (10/1) @ 5 PM EST. 

What is the theme? The theme will be announced when the jam officially begins! It will be announced on our Discord at https://discord.gg/rFrkP8m3zz  as well as on our itch.io page Here.

What can I make my game in? Anything, provided you can upload a file that runs on Windows or browsers, and doesn't require any additional hardware or software.

What assets can I use? The game should be developed during the jam, but you may use pre-existing code and can use whatever art and audio assets you have the legal right to use. However, we ask that you do not use AI to generate any assets or code.

When should I submit my game? You can submit your game at any point after the jam begins. If you submit early, you can update the game at any time before the jam closes.

Who will judge the games? Games will be judged by the Retro Game Con attendees.

What will the games be judged on? Games should be ranked against the following criteria: enjoyment, gameplay, and presentation, as well as theme and creativity. (It is worth noting, it is being ranked by the convention attendees, and we cannot force them to keep to this criteria.)

What are the prizes? 

1st $300 

2nd $125 

3rd $75

[Detailed Version]

Main Rules

Who can enter?

As the voting for the game jam is in person, anyone who will be present at Retro Game Con to represent your game is welcome to participate.

Those who can't attend the convention may participate, but will not be eligible for awards. Your game will be reviewed but judges, but will be out of the running for monetary prizes. 

Anyone, ages 13 or older, can enter the game jam (Those younger can take part, as long as a parent or guardian uploads the game, and is present during the convention).

You can work alone or in teams. There is a limit of four (4) people per team.

Only one person needs to join itch.io and submit the game. However, if others on the team also join itch.io, they can be tagged as contributors. (On your game's itch page, pick "Edit", "More", "Admins", and follow the instructions). 

Only one person is also needed to represent the game in person (with the exception of those under 13 who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.) Though we encourage the whole team to participate in representing your game.

What's the theme?

The theme will be announced at the very beginning of the jam.

Your game should follow the theme, and you will be asked how your game fits the theme on the itch.io submission page. That being said, you will not be disqualified from the jam if your game doesn't adequately fit the theme. Though it does need to feel retro.

When does the jam begin and end?

The jam will begin in Friday, September 29th (9/29) @ 5 PM EST and go until Sunday, October 1st (10/1) @ 5 PM EST. You can submit at any time during the jam (and we recommend you get your game up early!)

What you can make

When it comes to what kind of game you can make, we’re ultimately looking for games that are suitable for a general audience, and that are really easy for people to play, and judge. 

Also, You are not required to follow the theme, but it is one of the voting criteria that will affect your overall rating. So, at least take it into consideration. 

With all that in mind…

What can I make my game in?

You must produce a digital computer game, that runs on Windows - or web browsers supported by Windows. You can support additional platforms (such as Mac, Linux, or mobile) if you like, but a Windows/browser build is necessary. 

The game file needs to be uploaded to itch.io when you submit it.

You can make your game in whatever engine, programming language, or software you like. We recommend engines such as Unity, Unreal Engine, Game Maker, Godot, Construct, and PICO-8. 

  • You can not make games for consoles (so no Super Mario Maker 2 levels or Dreams (PS4) creations).
  • You can not require the user to download additional software from external sources (so no ROMs for emulators, or games for Roblox. If your game requires additional files (like DLLs) they should be included in the download and not require separate installation). 
  • You can not require the user to print things out (so no board or card games).
  • You can not require the user to have hardware beyond a keyboard and mouse (so no VR games, webcam games, and no controller-only games). 
  • The itch.io file limit is 1GB. You can compress your game as a ZIP, RAR, or 7Zip file (ZIP is preferred).

Can I make..?

We try not to limit what people can make, as long as it fits the eligibility discussed above.

Just note that many players may be alone (so they may not be able to adequately judge local multiplayer games) and will likely only have a few minutes to try your game (so get to the point quickly!)

NSFW content is not permitted. This includes any pornographic content, excessive gore and other suggestive topics/themes. Your game must not contain nudity, or hateful language or visuals. This will see your game being disqualified. Please consider avoiding extremely strong language and excessive gore, as the jam should be suitable for a general audience. If you’re uncertain, err on the side of being less gratuitous.

What you can use.

This game jam is about making a game during a 48-hour period. This is a race to make a game, and everyone starts running when the jam begins! As such, we expect you to make the vast majority of the game during this time. 

However, as the jam is primarily about flexing your design chops, we don’t expect you to make everything in the time slot (unless you really want to!) So...

Can I use pre-existing code?

Yes! You can use pre-existing code, libraries, and functions. But we ask that you don’t write code specifically for this jam, ahead of time, or use generative AI tools that can create code, such as Github Copilot or ChatGPT. The use of AI tools could see your game being disqualified.

You can also create things like a blank Unity project, a GitHub page, or your itch.io profile in advance to save time.

Can I use pre-existing art and/or audio?

Yes! You can use whatever art and audio you have the legal right to use. We'd recommend making your own stuff (especially your own art) but it's up to you.

That means you can use pre-existing sprites, textures, fonts, models, shaders, animations, sound effects, and music - including public domain assets, assets you have purchased, assets you have made yourself, or assets that are (legally acceptable) derivative works of existing media. 

However, we ask that you do not use generative AI that can create assets, like Midjourney or DALL-E. Again, the use of AI tools could see your game being disqualified.

You should credit all external art and audio in your game description. 

Upon submission, you will be asked whether your team created the vast majority of the game's art during the jam. (This does include animations, but not shaders or fonts). And you will be asked if you made the vast majority of the game's music, during the 48-hour period. (This doesn't include sound effects).

This is a way of highlighting the artists and composers who were involved with the jam, and this should not impact your rating. (Again, note that it is the convention attendees that are voting, and we can encourage criteria, but not hold them accountable to it.)

Can I use generative AI to create code, art, or music for me?

No, the use of AI is not allowed. Again, the use of AI tools could see your game being disqualified. All the code, art, music, written text, and so on should be made by a human. 

Also, you shouldn't use these tools to brainstorm or provide help. This includes the artwork on your game's page and thumbnail. Though this won’t lead to your game being disqualified.

The jam moderators cannot advise you individually on what code or assets you can use,  including the use of AI, so if in doubt, be cautious and make your own stuff! And they cannot advise individually on what answer you should provide to the submission questions, so please use your best judgment.


Full rules can be found here - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NHSCytvM6E2SXFmBqhgPqrG_e9vgV6DWcD7Ju__kfoU/...