This jam is now over. It ran from 2023-09-01 04:00:00 to 2023-10-02 03:59:59. View results

Are you a streamer looking to stream for the jam? Be sure to check out our totally free Live Screaming Kit on Itch!

Looking for the winners? It's at the bottom of this page!

Welcome to our 5th annual Spooktober Visual Novel Jam!   We are running a jam contest with prizes based around the best holiday of the year!


Here's how it works. During the month September,  participants will have the entire month to create submissions based around the holiday.  Then, through the month of October, we'll invite itch users, streamers and the visual novel community to join in to celebrate and vote on their favorite submissions!  Teams will be selected by our panel of judges to receive awards and prizes!

We are DevTalk!  We represent a vibrant and diverse community of visual novel creative professionals and hobbyists.  Our objective is to provide a safe learning space for people to develop professional skills related to visual novels, provide networking opportunities focused around actionable problem solving.  Our community, between jams we host or support, our Twitter bots, and our helpful Discord Server, helps over 300 visual novels get created annually, many of which are available here on on! The Spooktober Visual Novel Jam is our biggest event of the year, and is our only sponsor backed event.  We hope that Spooktober Visual Novel Jam being the competitive event that it is will encourage game developers to try their hand at visual novels using any and all of their skills, and inspire existing visual novel developers to shoot for the sky with their submissions.

In this Game Jam, you are tasked for completing a spooky or Halloween themed visual novel.  This could mean...

  • A Horror Genre Visual Novel
  • A Visual Novel that takes place on the holiday
  • Individualized themes related to Halloween.  Examples: Monsters, Ghosts, Costumes, or Candy.
  • Creepypasta version of an existing work you created.

Offshoots, spin offs, and 'fan-disc' style submissions are allowed and encouraged!  Please see this from our community if you intend on making a spin off entry:

We will be offering awards for the following categories! Awards do not have prizes unless otherwise noted.

Submission based criteria:

  • Judge Favorite: Receive the most votes from the judges!  1st place 50% of prize pot, 2nd place 30%, 3rd place 20%
  • Itch.IO Favorite:  Receive the most votes from the public!
  • Best Logline:  Judged to have the best log line (1-3 sentences with what your visual novel is about.)
  • Best Thumbnail: Judged to have the best thumbnail in your submission!
  • Best Monster/Costume

Creator based criteria:

  • Best Voice Actor
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Music

Jam ends September 30th and judging ends October 28th!  Extensions may be requested, but it disqualifies your team from prizes!

  1. Tag your submissions appropriately!  If there is violence, substance abuse,  mature themes or other such things, please list the types of content within it.  Not respecting this rule will count against your submission in judging!
  2. We respectfully request that all submissions be made without explicit sexual content.  We won't complain if you change it after the jam.
  3. Submissions containing depictions of suicide or self-harm will be disqualified and removed.  Text, whether in-game or in the files of the submission, containing instructions, encouragement of, or statement of intent of suicide or self-harm are similarly disqualified.
  4. Submissions must be made in their entirety between the jam's running period of September 1st and October 1st. You are permitted to create colorless sketches, stand alone color palettes, written outlines, visual or audio motifs intended for use in the submitted games prior the start date. Concept art, script samples, and other demonstrative creations may be created before the jam working period, but may not be included in your final submissions. Third Party resources are exempt from this rule as long as they are also available for usage/purchase by other participants.
  5. The usage of generative AI for any part of your submission is prohibited! Humans must illustrate, write, program, etc every part of your submission!
  6. Your jam submissions must be made freely available during the month of October 2023.

Due to an abundance of submissions in 2021 and then again in 2022, we are including adding the following criteria. Failing to do the below will not result in removal from the jam, but may count against your final scoring.

  1. Include the Spooktober Visual Novel Jam 2023 logo either as a splash screen or on the title screen in your game.  Feel free to grab the one below.  You may color shift, desaturate, or pixelate the logo to better fit the aesthetic of your game as long as it remains legible and distinct.
  2. Have a log line in your submission somewhere.   The tag line field when you make your game is a great place for it.   
  3. Credit your team members on your submission page. If you are the only member, please credit yourself as a sole developer.
  4. Be mindful of your loudness!  Consider having someone master your audio prior to submission.  Especially your on-launch sounds and title music!

Can I submit my (Other Game Jam) Jam submission too?

As long as it fits the above criteria and was created within the same time span as this jam, then yes! 

Are you looking for judges?

Yes!  Inquire on our Discord Server or at

Can I charge for my submission?

We expect that people be allowed to stream and consume the content during the month of October freely.  If you'd like to add a price after October 31st, we won't object. 

Who owns my game jam submission?

We claim no ownership of any jam game submitted.  By submitting to the Spooktober Visual Novel Jam, you do agree to allow the hosts of Spooktober Visual Novel Jam and its sponsors to use all or part of your submissions for promotional and news purposes.

Where can I ask for feedback on x, y, z?

If you have any concerns about your jam submission, whether it be a rule based on or you'd just like some feedback on improving it before submitting, check out our Discord server.

We'd like to thank our wonderful sponsors for supporting this year's competition!  More details to come about each of our sponsors and what they do for visual novels and developers like us!

RATALAIKA GAMES is a publisher of video games and visual novels!  They return this year as our top sponsor again and are seeking visual novel developers to assist in taking their products to the Nintendo Switch!

JAST USA & JAST BLUE is a publisher and localizer of Japanese video games and visual novels.  They're looking to work with visual novel developers working on Otome and BL products and sponsored us this year to show their support for the event and community!  This is the first year they've sponsored us and we're excited to work with them!

VOGRACE is a manufacturer and provider of merchandise.  They create a wide array of services to produce merchandise for developers to sell to their audience, including charms, standees, pillows and more!  This is their first year sponsoring us and we welcome the awesome opportunity to work with them!

PENGUIN POP GAMES is a publisher of video games and visual novels! They seek to work with visual novel developers looking to publish their visual novels on the Switch!

VISUAL NOVEL DESIGN is a content creator on YouTube focusing on demystifying and detailing the secrets of great visual novel design!

VISUAL NOVEL MACHINERY is a new Unreal based visual novel plugin for experienced Unreal developers!  If you're looking to make a visual novel for this year's competition and want to use Unreal, but don't want to build a visual novel framework from scratch, give it a look!

Each year, our sponsors contribute to a prize pool for our participants in cash, goods, and services.  The cash pot is split between the top three overall entries at a rate of 50%, 30% and 20% of the total prize pot.   Additional categories, like 'Best Voice Actor' and 'Best Monster Design' are specifically funded by sponsors.  

We've amassed a grand total of $7,500 in prizes from our partnerships and sponsors!  

1st Place: $2,750 and a $100 Vograce Gift Card

2nd Place: $1,650 and a $75 Vograce Gift Card

3rd Place: $1,100 and a $50 Vograce Gift Card

The top 20 runner ups will receive a $25 Vograce gift card!  

We have six special categories this year! 

Best Character Design, Sponsored By Vograce: $200 Vograce gift card.

Vograce is sponsoring our Best Character Design category, offering a $200 gift card to their store.  If you make some cool merchandise of your winning design, be sure to show us!

Best Voice Actor: $100

Best Cinematography:  $100

Best Soundtrack: $100

Best Voice Actor returns this year as an ongoing emphasis on creating high quality works utilizing sound and visuals.  We encourage you to cast voice actors either through our jam community page here on Itch.IO or our Discord server linked above.  Pre-made voice packs are eligible for this category, but passionate participating voice actors will dominate this category!

Best Cinematography is an emphasis on step-by-step visual display of your visual novel, using a combination of character placement and movement, camera shots, visual effects, and other on screen elements to create a unique, memorable, and visually appealing display line by line.  Visual novels full of motion and life will dominate this category!  

Best Soundtrack is a continued emphasis on creating a great audible experience for your visual novels.  Collections of licensed third party music and songs are eligible for this category, but custom made, balanced and well mastered audio will dominate this category!

NEW: Best 3D Character Model: $100

Best 3D Character Model is a new emphasis on unique and memorable 3D models to be used in visual novels!  Use 3D Modelling, rigging and texturing tools to create something stunning.  Premade models and still pictures of 3D characters are eligible, but hand made, moving characters will dominate this category! 

NEW: Best Itch.IO Store Page: $100 (Deadline: October 22nd) 

Best Itch.IO Store Page is an ongoing emphasis of DevTalk to encourage developers to pay attention to their marketing efforts!  One aspect of that is writing copy and providing strong visual support for your product on the store!  Use any and all tools at your disposal to really sell your work!   (Disclaimer: Submissions still need to be free during the month of October!)

Good luck and stay spooky!

Do you love Spooktober as much as we do?  You can get a commemorative Spooktober 2023 Jam Planner, now with a hard cover edition!   

Check out the black and white softcover here

Or our new hard cover edition here!

Best 3D Character Model:
Winner: First Do No Harm

Best Character Design :
Penny (Model Employee)
Tabbie (This Magical Girl is a Btch: Act 1)
Lydia (Ghostly Delights)
Mio (Reaplaced)
WINNER: Pearl (Beary the Hatchet)
Plum (Love, Pumpkin, and Other Complications)
Mirabell (Us Three Joined by Flesh)
Kara (Trick or Treat)
Cassie Cortega (Satan is an Astronaut)

Best Voice Actor:
Taylor Fernandez as "Strength" (This Magical Girl is a Btch: Act 1)
WINNER: Davon Oliver as "Milo" (Long Time No See)
Lauren Kong as "Phoebe" (Freak The Town)
Pamela Santos as "Bee" (Freak The Town)

Best Cinematography:

The Final Prize is Soup
First Do No Harm
Shared Beauty
The Widow's Shadow

Best Soundtrack: 
WINNER: Reaplaced
Satan is an Astronaut
Undead Air
Phantom of the Black Rose Revue: Act 1
Model Employee

Best Itch.IO page:
Satan is an Astronaut
WINNER: Shared Beauty
The Final Prize is Soup
Sea Fever
NG: Cursed in Love?!
Model Employee

Honorable Mentions & Shortlist
Angel Hare's Learning Adventure
Are We Still Friends?
Ball of the Black Cat
Beary the Hatchet
Curse of the Juniper Tree
Dead Set
Death is a Guest
Eldritch Idol
Eva and the Fallen Star
Fear Me: The Silent
Freak The Town
Ghostly Delights
Goblet of Mercy
Hardships Of A Vampire
Head Over Heels
How May I Direct Your Curse
I love my follower (count)
Imago Dirge
It's Inside
Living With Ghosts
Long Time No See
Model Employee
NG: Cursed in Love!?
No Time For Mercy
Please, don't trust me
Red Zero
Remnants: Counsel of the Dead
Satan is an Astronaut
Scarlett's Sorrows
Shared Beauty
So Below
Stares Back
The Final Prize is Soup
The House on Limbo Lane
The Killer at Moonlight
The Phantom of the Black Rose Revue: Act 1
The Widow's Shadow
The Wrong Evelyn
This Magical Girl is a B⭐tch [ACT 1]
Trashwing Crowchild
Trick or Treat
Undead Air
Undo the Mustache Curse, Witch!
Wrong Turn

Overall Winners:

1st Place: Model Employee

2nd Place: The Final Prize is Soup

3rd Place: Reaplaced