BerandaComputers and TechnologyRetro Games Ltd announces a C64 and VIC-20 game development competition

Retro Games Ltd announces a C64 and VIC-20 game development competition

Retro Games Ltd, the company that manufactures the TheC64 (I never know if I should add the article before that name!), has announced a game development competition that seeks the best game for the Commodore 64 and VIC-20.

The first place will be awarded a brand new THEC64 with an additional boxed THEC64 Microswitch Joystick. The runner up will get a THEC64 Mini and the Joystick as well. They add that if there are enough submissions for people under 17, they will create a new category exclusive for the younger game developers.

The games can be submitted via email or using file sharing websites (e.g. Google Drive) starting now through December 11th, so there is not much time. People already working on an unreleased game might have some edge here.

The games have to be provided in a format suitable for the Retro Games products (THEC64, Mini and THEVIC20), and they must not require the keyboard to work unless the keys can be mapped to the machine’s joystick.

After the announcement, RGL added a post in their website clarifying a few questions that were raised regarding the contest:

We offered a prize as a thank you for the eventual winner of the contest and not as a financial inducement of any kind. We would obviously recompense any rights holder for their work should we wish to enter into a commercial relationship with them but this competition is purely for fun.

We are not asking for anything from the participants other than their permission to release their game on a future firmware update should they win. Our idea was to share new ‘homebrew’ style games with the wider community, the majority of who aren’t coders and game creators. We hoped that those participants would feel the same way, getting a thrill from sharing their creation with the wider world. (…)

To further clarify, we are not seeking ownership of the IP, trademarks, game design, copyright or underlying source code in the games. We are seeking permission to give the game away with a firmware update. That is the extent of our perceived ownership. We are seeking a free and in perpetuity license that only extends to the firmware updates of our machines. The author is free to market and or sell their game in any way that they see fit. Should we elect to use the game as part of a future retail release then we would of course extend our standard financial terms and licence agreement to the author.

Official rules


The game has to be your own work, or where it is a collaboration, all people working on the game must be fully credited. This does not mean that you cannot use online coding tutorials as a base as long as you come up with something that is original. We encourage teamwork and getting help and advice from the wonderful C64 and VIC-20 communities. And we encourage young developers to join in and learn C64 and/or VIC-20 programming as some of us at RGL did back in the 1980s.

Review Process

Each game will be reviewed by our team at RGL and some of our associates; a scoring system for the overall game will be applied to each entry. The highest average score from our panel will be the winner. Where the scores are tied, the panel will decide on which is the better overall game. The review process will only begin once the submission date has lapsed and all entries have been verified to include fully credited work, source code files and executable program binaries, or disk, tape or cartridge images.

Submission and rules:

• You may make any sort of game that you want as long as it does not contain any sexually explicit content, profanities, excessive or gory violence, or is offensive in other ways.

• You may submit more than one game, if you find the time to do so, as long as any additional entries are sufficiently different from your others.

• Entries must be submitted in a viable format for THEC64, THEC64 Mini or THEVIC20, please refer to chapter eight of our User Manual for details here:

• Games must not require keyboard inputs that are not mapped to THEC64 Joystick with a Commodore Joystick Map (CJM) file. Please refer to chapter eight of our User Manual linked above.

• Games should not be multi-disk and should fit in a single .d64 disk image or a single-load .tap image. If a larger amount of space is needed, consider using a .d81 image (800K).

• All code, graphics and sounds must be developed during the competition period and must not have been in development before the start of the competition.

• Entries must include the source code and all developers, artists, composers and any other person working on the entry must be properly credited.

• You agree that your submission will be considered for a future firmware update.

• You agree that RGL has the non-exclusive right to release your game digitally through their official cloud platforms and website and that all parties who worked on the submission will retain the appropriate copyright and IP for the game.

• Entries may be developed in BASIC or Machine Code, or any high-level languages that build C64 or VIC-20 games, such as C compilers, or Turbo Rascal. You may, if you wish, mix languages

where you feel that it is appropriate.

• You must not use middleware development applications like the Shoot-em Up Construction Kit even if you have customized the machine code within the game

• Optional: Say what influenced your game, and something about yourself.

• Optional: If you are a young developer under the age of 18 then please say so. We may have a children’s category if enough young developers join in!

If you have questions about the above rules, or require any further clarification, please email directly.

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