Submissions open from 2019-12-13 18:00:00 to 2019-12-20 18:00:00
Starts in

8 Bits to Infinity presents TEXT ONLY JAM, a week-long game jamming challenge to create a game using only text for visuals.

Thanks to benjames171 for the awesome logo!

The final theme vote is open! Vote here

What is 8 Bits to Infinity?  A game development community working to improve creative and technical skills through rapid iteration and honest critical feedback.  We host a new game jam every month!

Not sure what a game jam is? Want to know how to do well? Check out these articles on game jam success.

Join us on Discord to discuss game dev and the jam, join the logo challenge (in #challenges), form teams (in #team-up), and generally have a good time. :)

Not sure where to start in game development? Follow the link above to our Discord and ask away! Our community is glad to help you get started in programming, art, design, or game development in general.

Want to form a team? Check out the Crowdforge page or join us on Discord above.

Check out Joshua's Patreon to support his projects, including the 8 Bits to Infinity community and jams. Perks include extended feedback on your game jam games!


Fri Dec 6 @ 12 Noon ET / 5pm UTC
Theme Elimination Begins
Mon Dec 9 @ 12 Noon ET / 5pm UTC
Theme Voting Begins
Thu Dec 12 @ 12 Noon ET / 5pm UTC
Keynote posted
Fri Dec 13 @ 1pm ET / 6pm UTC
Jam Begins
Fri Dec 20 @ 1pm ET / 6pm UTC
Jam Ends
Sun Dec 22 @ 12 Noon ET / 5pm UTC
Mr. Joshua McLean feedback stream


Entries  which break rules or have no clear relation to the Requirement will be removed.

  1. 1-4 members per team, one entry per team.
  2. Credit everything in your entry, including Creative Commons 0 assets and your own work. This must be accessible from the start of the game (in the title or a credits menu).
  3. Answer all of the questions on submission completely and honestly.
  4. Must work in Windows 10. Web builds are fine.
  5. Cannot require unusual peripherals (have keyboard and mouse as a backup).
  6. Make everything during the jam or use freely available assets (including open source code). Exception: You may use general-purpose assets (general-purpose code, logos, or fonts) made before the jam.
  7. No NSFW content. This includes sexual content (including language), nudity, or excessive realistic gore/violence.
  8. All participants must be at least 13 years of age to submit a game.


Create a game using only ASCII text and solid colors for visual elements.

Not sure what we mean by ASCII text? Check out this chart. No, you cannot use the "extended ASCII codes."

You may use any font that matches closely to the standard ASCII graphics for characters as shown in the above chart's Char/Chr column. For instance, you can use cursive, bold, all-caps, or "handwritten" fonts. You may not use fonts that introduce unusual graphics such as Wingdings or a custom font with unusual images replacing standard ASCII characters.

You may draw lines with symbols like the hyphen --, pipe ||, and underscore __, but you may not use the ASCII line drawing symbols as these are part of the extended character set.

You can make interactive fiction (text adventure), an ASCII game (in a terminal/console), a game using nothing but GUI, or even a 2D/3D world where the only shapes are standard ASCII characters. There is no requirement to lock your text to a grid.

Single solid color graphics are allowed for e.g. button backgrounds. More sophisticated background images are not allowed.

Use of color is also allowed, but we strongly suggest sticking to one color per symbol (character/letter) to avoid any ambiguity.

There are no limitations on mechanics, engine, or genre.

You are allowed (encouraged) to use audio.


In addition to the theme, we will include optional challenges which have no effect on judge rating, but can make the jam more fun.

Be sure to mention which challenges you accepted in your jam page, so players know to look for them!


About the Requirement

Can I use Unicode or extended ASCII characters?

Can I make a board/card game? 
Sure! But it needs to be a digital version for the judges to play it.

Other Questions

What tools/engines can/should I use? 
Anything. Literally anything. We've seen games made in PowerPoint and Excel - if you want to use those, all power to you! Although, we suggest using something more geared toward games like Unity, Godot, Unreal, etc.

For text games, you might want to check out Inform or Twine

I'm awful at music. How can I still have cool background audio in my game?
Get free royalty-free tunes from Joshua here or from various other websites such as OpenGameArt (where you can also find Joshua's stuff). Simply google "free to use music" or "free royalty-free music" and you're sure to find something.

Should I build a Windows/Mac/Linux/web/[insert system here] version?
The more systems you support, the more people will be able to access your game. Some people prefer web versions because running downloaded software can be spoopy, while others prefer a download to keep the games locally and avoid the extra problems associated with web builds.

If you're using something like Unity, export versions for all systems! Most of the time, they'll work fine without any testing.

I didn't finish. Should I still submit? 
Yes! A solid prototype could still win the jam, and it's worth showcasing your work to get feedback.

How can I get more people to play my entry? 
Play other entries and leave quality feedback. Be sure to politely ask the dev to play your game, so they know you want feedback. There's a new feature on that shows your entry when you comment on the game's jam page so be sure to do so there.

Can I make a multiplayer game? 
Yes, but it's not recommended because it's difficult for most judges to test.

Can I make a 2D/2.5D/3D game?
Yep! But keep in mind the text only limitation.

Can I enter other jams with the same game?
Absolutely, as long as you follow all of the rules and time limitations for each jam. Note that we lock submissions, so you won't be able to upload new files after you submit to this jam.

Where can I ask more questions? 
Ask away in the community or on Discord.


Games will be rated by a panel of judges with differing views but a shared interpretation of star values and voting categories. Judge entries and disqualified submissions will not be rated. Judging will be on the following criteria:

  • Fun: Enjoyment of the game. Are the mechanics interesting? Do I want to play more?
  • Technical: Implementation polish and complexity. Does the game push technical boundaries or have special tech to stand out? Are there few, if any, bugs? For heavily narrative games, this will include grammar and spelling.
  •  Music/Sound: Audio presentation. How well does the music/sound fit the game? Max 4 stars if external assets used.
  • Graphics/Animation: Visual presentation. How clean/consistent does it look? Are animations fluid? Is there clear understanding of color, contrast, and other visual skills? Max 4 stars if external assets used. For heavily narrative games, includes mental imagery and quality of prose.
  • Theme/Limitation: Implementation of jam theme and limitation. Is the theme prevalent? How unusual is the interpretation? How strictly does the game follow the requirement? Out-of-the-box thinking on the theme (not taking it literally) will score more points.


Three winners will be recognized: Judges' Choice and Community Choice.

  • Judges' Choice will be the highest-ranking overall game in the jam.
  • Developers' Choice will be selected by a closed vote among everyone who entered the jam.
  • Community Choice will be selected by an open vote by the 8 Bits to Infinity community and anyone else interested in playing the games.

All winners will receive the following:

  • A choice of two games from a list of several available Steam keys.
  • (Optional) Showcase of a commercially released game you choose on Joshua's stream after the voting period. The game must be in his collection, available for free, or gifted.
  • Priority feedback from Joshua on an updated version of your game with at least two weeks notice. The game will be streamed to completion (defined at Joshua's discretion).

Each entry may only qualify for one prize, regardless of how many categories they win.

In addition, the winners will be added to the list of 8 Bits to Infinity Jam Winners.

Tweeter of the Month

Any tweet with the #8bitstoinfinity hashtag in December counts toward winning Tweeter of the Month, given to the person with the highest quantity of relevant tweets. The winner's Twitter handle will be displayed on Joshua's stream for the month of November, with a link to their Twitter placed among the chatbot's random messages.