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Some fun retro game jam entries from 2017

Most of my posts on this site end up being about something I’ve built, but I think it’s time to try something new. I recently participated in Ludum Dare for the 3rd or 4th time, and I realized that I had played a lot of really impressive games. Game jams are a fun test of skill, where you challenge yourself to go from nothing to a functional (and more importantly fun) game in a very short period of time. Success relies on having a commanding knowledge of your tools, and usually a strong engine to build off of.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or energy to go through all of the games I’ve played, but I thought it might be nice to highlight some of the cool games made for older consoles such as the NES and Gameboy. Details and screenshot and more beyond the fold!

Lunar Limit

Game Jam: Ludum Dare 38 (Compo)
Time limit: 2 days
Theme: A Small World
Restrictions/Limitations: None
Author: pubby
Website
Entry Page

Lunar limit is an 80s-styled arcade shooter for the NES. You’re a mini earth, and you’re being orbited by a satellite (aka “The Moon Cannon”) that is capable of shooting down your enemies. Oh, right, enemies – the miniature earth is being bombarded by alien ships and needs to survive.

I regularly do NES games for the Ludum Dare competition, and this one blew me away. It feels like a complete game, and the graphics were incredibly polished. The controls were unique, but very easy to get used to.

3D Vector Space Cab

Game Jam: Ludum Dare 38 (Compo)
Time limit: 2 days
Theme: A Small World
Restrictions/Limitations: None
Author: Fell^DSS
Website: N/A
Entry Page

This is a very simple game, but still very fun. It targets the Vectrex – a vector video display based console from the early 1980s. The system was effectively two colors (black background, white vectors) but you could simulate a colorful world with an overlay. (Which this game does!) Your task is to pick up and drop off passengers on a tiny world. You have to maintain your fuel as well, or you’ll come crashing back down to the tiny world.

Sticky Hooves In The Temple Of Vel-Cro

Game Jam: BitBitJam #4
Time limit: 1 Week
Theme: Velcro Sheep ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
Restrictions/Limitations: One button controls
Team: DimaChotin, iamVaultKid, infected_bytes, and StonyyBird
Website
Entry Page

This is a (not-infinite) runner on the GameBoy! You’re a sheep running through a temple to get through to the end. There’s velcro in the temple that you can use to stick to the ceiling. The player automatically runs, so your only control is the A button. This is a surprisingly fun little game, especially given the limitations.

Polka Sheep

Game Jam: BitBitJam #4

Time limit: 1 Week
Theme: Velcro Sheep ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
Restrictions/Limitations: One button controls
Team: zal0, sergeeo, and kirblue
Website
Entry Page

Polka sheep is a platformer made for BitBitJam 4, and actually the #1 entry! (Followed by Sticky Hooves, then my own Dizzy Sheep Disaster) You’re a sheep trying to rescue your friends. It uses single button controls, where there is a cursor moving left to right and you jump in that direction when you hit the A button. The controls and game are quite simple, which lends itself to a decent game.

I actually strongly recommend checking out the rest of the BitBitJam games as well. There were some really solid entries for that 1 week window.

 

As a last note, game jams are a big thing for me – over the past year I’ve made 3 Jam games of my own: Fluffy Space Escape, (Ludum Dare 40) Dizzy Sheep Disaster, (BitBitJam #4) and Missing Lands. (Ludum Dare 38) They all came out pretty well in my opinion, so give them a try if you liked the rest!

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