Submissions open from 2021-06-04 21:00:00 to 2021-09-09 21:00:00
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It's the 30th Anniversary of the SNES!

Yet, in this modern day, the old grey (or yellow) box doesn't get nearly as much love as it should. Let's celebrate by making a game for the system!
In this three-month long jam, create a SNES game from scratch that runs on the actual hardware. The jam will start on June 4th, and end on September 9th - the release of the SNES in North America, 30 years ago.

It's 30 years old! How do you even do that??

Being late 80s - early 90s hardware, the SNES runs on a 3.5 mhz processor, 128k of ram, and really only runs well with Assembly. (There's a reason why this jam is three months long!) Yet, this isn't as daunting as it might seem. Here are some (non-exhaustive) resources to help you out!

  • Retro Game Mechanics Explained - has a multi-part series going into the working theory of the SNES, with helpful animations and diagrams. Each video is worth a watch!
  • Programming the 65816 - an old technical document about the SNES's processor, the 65816. It starts from the very beginning - this is extremely helpful if you don't have any prior experience with assembly.
  • fullsnes.txt - a huge, comprehensive text file about the SNES' features that has been constantly improved for years. If you have a question about a certain register or feature, check here.
  • SFC Wiki - many different tutorials and documentations about the SNES all under one roof. I'm not entirely sure how often this gets updated though - use at your own risk.
  • libSFX - a comprehensive development framework for the SNES. It includes an assembler, helpful macros, many different tools, and examples. I highly recommend it.
  • SNESMOD - a great tool for converting from ImpulseTracker (.it) files to .spc SNES music. I use this with OpenMPT.
  • bsnes-plus - a fork of one of the most accurate snes emulators, with added debugging features.

If you get stuck, there are a couple spots you can ask for help in (note, none of these officially sponsor this jam):

  • SNES Development Discord - a fairly active spot to get help and show off.
  • SNESdev forum - for the dinosaurs who haven't moved on from the phpBB good old days. Also fairly active, and you can search to see if your question's already been asked.

Theme?

There will be a theme, which will be released when the jam starts. Stay tuned!

How will judging work?

Games will be open to be judged by people who've participated. Limiting it to those who have participated helps set expectations for three months of development on the SNES. Judging is in five categories:

  • Theme: How well the game follows the given theme, and how cohesive the theming is.
  • Creativity: Self-explanatory. Did you explore a unique mechanic? How much of your game was from scratch? That sort of thing.
  • Utilization of the hardware: Despite its raw specs, the SNES is powerful, and held its own well into the 32-bit era. How well did you make use of the SNES?
  • Polish: It's worth going the extra mile to implement a smoother animation, screen shake, or other features to make your game feel "richer". Did you put that bit of extra love into your game?
  • Fun: Probably the most important of all. Is your game fun to play?

Rules

  • Games must run on real, SNES hardware. Don't fret if you don't have a flashcart - bsnes or mesen-s are both very accurate representations of the SNES.
  • Games must state whether they were created for PAL or NTSC systems. NTSC is preferred.
  • Only expansion chips that were used in an era SNES game are allowed. E.g. Super-FX is allowed, but MSU-1 is not. Games must state if they require an expansion chip.
  • Games must follow a theme, to be released when the jam begins.
  • Groups are allowed. Be sure to attribute  contributors so people know that multiple people worked on your submission.
  • The vast majority of your game must be created during the game jam. If you use any external assets, code, or libSFX macros, be sure to state that you used them in your game page, and follow any licenses they might have.
  • The main development period begins on June 4th, 2021, and ends on September 9th, 2021. Past the deadline, minor bugfixes are allowed, but changes to content are not.
  • No bigotry, sexual content, or extremely controversial topics.
  • No manipulating votes.