Lincoln Games Research Network

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GameMaker Challenge #2: 60 Seconds ASCII Games

As part of their studies of becoming successful game-scholars, 1st year Games Computing students at the LSoC have to use and learn existing tools to rapidly develop and extend original game design ideas into fully fledged playable games. One of our favourite approach to the introductory of game studies is the use of game developing challenges. The rules of challenges: Make a game based on a given theme, within the available time scale. Volunteering students present and discuss their game in front of a playful crowd made out of their colleagues and university staff members. We previously reported about the Challenge #1; this post focuses on the results of Challenge #2.

Challenge #2: Design and produce a game which is based around the theme “ASCII”. Take inspiration from arcade games and Atari VCS games of the 1980’s by using the ASCII character set only as game components and graphics. The only other constraint on the game is that it must play in sixty seconds or less.

We were quite overwhelmed by the quality and brilliance of the games implementation submitted to the given challenge. The submissions ranged from dungeon crawlers, space ship battles, supermarket explorers, hacking terminals, serious games to tower defence, multi-player jump and runs, virus deletion, to racing games. As good as all game genres and ideas were looked at from a different perspective and re-engineered into a new innovative and fun game. Very well done to everyone who participated! As usual, Ben Kirman recorded the presentation sessions and created a short show reel video. The video is available on Youtube and gives a good glimpse of what is happening during the challenge presentation sessions!


In addition, we have hand-picked the following submissions; feel free to get them separately; or download them all in a handy zip file. Leave a comment and tell us what you think of the games!

Legend of Ascii by Kieran Hicks
Take control of a mighty warrior and battle your way through hordes of hellish monsters and kill the dragon that killed your father.  You shall have your revenge!


Neon Mage ASCII by Martin Smith
Minding your own business as a rogue mage, your home town is being attacked! Your most powerful spell, the teleport takes 60 seconds to charge, you’ll have to defend yourself against waves of enemy numbers with all you’ve got until it kicks in.


ASCII Blocker by Richard Lannigan
As the head systems analyst, it is your job to protect your base from a sixty seconds wave of enemy virus cells attempting to destroy it. Use blockers and turrets to aid you in your defence, or drop the almighty nuke and wipe out all enemies in range. Protect the system core at all costs to ensure law and order is upheld. Get it done analyst.


Enigma by Ashley Clewes
ENIGMA is a text-based hacking/decoding game, designed to appear like a simple terminal/console application which has been adapted by its creators to allow for a level of competition.


Asciinauts by John McDonagh
The evil Asciinauts have captured the inhabitants of the planet decimalus. It is your mission to kill the 10 evil asciinauts before they get away with their crimes towards the decimals. A retro 60 second fast action shoot em up. Can you save the decimals before it’s too late?


Mind by Laura Buttrick
A minimalist exploration of seasonal affective disorder.


Draw! by James Brown
Draw! The clue’s in the name.


@LAD by Jack Guerrier
@LAD is a cross between a Maze/race/collision style games, allowing the player to manoeuvre around other obstacles to reach a particular point before another object. Plan their path towards the point gaining object!


ASCroller by Jack Broughton
ASCroller is a space scrolling shoot em up with a rewarding level-up system. Take control of the brutish Battleship or control the nimble Yen ship. Collect as many points as possible before time runs out while dodging or destroying asteroids. Players can gain power by collecting objects and use it for special powers.


Rocket Racer by Christopher Dye
In Rocket Racer you have 60 seconds to test your rocket car! Using the arrow keys collect money to increase your score and speed, but watch out for potholes, hitting too many will force you to slow down and decrease your score!


ASCIIPE by Matthew Housley
ASCIIPE is an ASCII themed Dungeon Crawler. The goal is to navigate your character through one of three randomly chosen puzzles, fighting your way past enemies while finding the exit within the given time limit. Every time a puzzle is loaded the room will look different as it is randomly generated.


Astonishing work guys! Challenge #3 will be set in Unity and has been unveiled. Results will be posted in the following weeks!


  1. Martin Smith

    I’m actually really enjoying these challenges and can’t wait to see what people will come up with for the Unity one. 😀

  2. Kieran Hicks

    I hope this becomes a running thing with a challenge or two each semester. Seems like a good way of practicing crazy ideas without playing it safe due to it not being assessed

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