DOS Games Jam

One of the things that has helped keep sanity the last few years with the whole pandemic and all has been organizing the DOS Games Jam. The DOS Games Jam is a casual game jam I’ve been running twice a year since the beginning of the pandemic that is focused on celebrating games from that era by making new DOS games and games for modern computers inspired by that era. It’s important to me that the game jam is as stress free as I could possibly make it; there’s no voting, required theme, it’s a month long and often gets extensions, and people can start development before the jam officially starts. I guess it could be argued it’s not much of a game jam if it’s this casual but I’ve never been very comfortable with how many game jams force people to crunch.

If you ever wanted to start making DOS games but didn’t know how to get started, here are some tools that could help:

  • PunyInform is a library written in Inform 6 which allows people to create text adventure games / interactive fiction to be played on 8-bit computers as well as newer platforms.
  • LoveDOS – A framework for making 2D DOS games in Lua.
  • dos-like is a programming library/framework, kind of like a tiny game engine, for writing games and programs with a similar feel to MS-DOS productions from the early 90s. It’s technically not for making DOS games, just games that feel like they’re from that era, but it’s very cool and I’m putting it in the list anyway.
  • Lantern Text-Adventure IDE lets devs create text adventures for retro computers in an approachable way
  • DOjS is a JavaScript programming environment for systems running MS-DOS, FreeDOS or any DOS based Windows (like 95, 98, ME).
  • jSH is a script interpreter for DOS based operating systems like MS-DOS, FreeDOS or any DOS based Windows (like 95, 98, ME).

If you have game development questions or just want to talk about DOS games in a welcoming and inclusive environment, consider joining the DOS Shareware Zone discord

With the most recent jam wrapping up just now, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite games from previous jams. I had to leave a ton of games I really like off this list or else this writeup would go on for forever. If you’d like to see more, check out the page for the newest jam, which has all the entries for this jam and links to the previous jam pages.


SlipSpeed is a futuristic racing game for DOS and Windows that looks a little like the classic Micro Machines game for the NES but with hover cars. The composer for the game also co-hosts the lovely DOS Game Club which had me on as a guest to talk about the game jam. It also exists in a big box physical version. If you bought the Indie Bundle for Palestinian Aid you already own this game.

Death Taxi 3000

Death Taxi 3000 is a game like the Crazy Taxi series where you pick up passengers and drop them off at different points in the city all while trying to save time by taking shortcuts and avoiding obstacles. While the full version of the game is on Steam, the shareware version is for DOS only.

Neut Tower

Neut Tower is a puzzle game for DOS and web browsers about escaping an office tower after an earthquake. It reminded me of puzzle games I used to play on shareware compilation discs in the 90s.

Super Spray n’ Slay 3D

Super Spray n’ Slay 3D is a surreal FPS for modern computers where you play as a maid cleaning up a hotel. During the 90s there were a lot of FPS doing unusual concepts after Doom came out and this feels like something that would fit in along that group.


One of the fun things about the DOS Games Jam is seeing how people revisit concepts tried in games that never took off for various reasons. I really like the adventure game Kalevala because it uses the ellipsoid aesthetic that obscure DOS game Ecstatica used but hasn’t been seen since then.


Acronia is a platformer game inspired by DOS platformers like Duke Nukem and BioMenace. It’s currently in an alpha state but I couldn’t be more excited for the full version based on my experiences with this early version.


The DOS Games Jam isn’t just for computer games. ASCII Delve is a solo tabletop rpg inspired by Rogue and it’s fun seeing how tabletop games can use aesthetics and ideas from older computer games when so many of those were inspired by D&D.

The Anarchic Kingdom

The Anarchic Kingdom is a strategy game for DOS where you play as a lord building up your kingdom and attack other lords. I also really enjoy Cyningstan’s other games and recommend Ossuary as well


SpaceButton is a text adventure that can be played with just a single button. I thought it was a well-designed text adventure but what I really loved was its focus on accessibility. The web version even has screen reader support.

Cats of Broombas

Cats on Broombas is an adorable puzzle game for DOS where you guide cats around on Roombas to gather all the stars on a screen. I thought the puzzles were well designed and not frustrating, and loved the EGA graphics too. I hope we eventually get a full version.

Hopefully you discover some cool new games and consider looking at some old games for new ideas to try putting in your next game!

Favorite Games of 2022

It turns out 2022 was a great year for adventure games and interactive fiction. Typically, they’re genres where you can kinda sorta play all the big ones that come out that year but there was such an overwhelming amount of them that there’s many I’ll have to get to next year like Perfect Tides and Blood Nova. Instead of picking one Game of the Year to rule them all, I just selected four in no order that were my favorites this year. I’m also leaving off a ton of stuff I really liked such as Immortality just because I have to stop somewhere. All four of these games are also discussed on various episodes of the Adventure Game Club podcast, so consider checking that out if you want longer discussions on why I thought these games were so good.

Return to Monkey Island

I never expected it but we got a new Monkey Island this year and we didn’t have to wait too long for it after the surprise announcement on April Fool’s Day. I feel like people have varying opinions on parts of it like the art style and ending but I don’t care, I loved it all. I also thought that mechanically it was one of the best designed adventure games, meaning all the quality-of-life stuff like double click to run, an in-game hint book, item highlighting, and hovering over items to get text on what Guybrush was thinking. Adventure games have had some of these things before but it was still nice seeing all of it executed so well in this game.


I loved the writing in this game and will be thinking about it for a long time. The way this game talked about poverty, family members with illnesses, and living in a city that is slowly decaying resonated strongly with me and they’re all things we don’t see discussed enough in games. I thought the art was beautiful, loved the soundtrack enough to buy it on vinyl, and the game continues to improve by getting patches that add features like being able to skip the combat. 

Citizen Sleeper

This was another game I had been waiting a long time for and it did not disappoint. I loved how it was strongly influenced by indie tabletop rpgs to handle how you take actions and I hope we see other video games look at indie ttrpgs for inspiration instead of getting so many games borrowing dated mechanics from D&D. The ending I got was beautiful and made me cry so I guess that means it’s Real Art. I’m also failing to mention everything else about the game that worked for me like the way it handles exploration to come across events, the art, and music, but I thought that was all incredible as well. I’m looking forward to revisiting the game once all of the DLC is out.

He Fucked the Girl Out of Me

If you follow me on social media you’ve probably seen me discuss this game a billion times, including a post I just made a few days ago, so I’ll just briefly say that it’s a fantastic game plus it’s short and free (but leave a tip anyway!) so if you’re ok with the things mentioned in the content warnings then it’s a must play.

Best Old Game – Riven: The Sequel to Myst

I replayed Riven earlier this year for Adventure Game Club and huge surprise, I still think it rules. It still looks great and the world building is incredible. If you’ve never played a Myst game before, please do not start with this one. The new Myst remake is a great place to start. I will never shut up about Myst.

Best New Trend – Indie Game Anthologies

So this isn’t actually new or a trend but it seemed like there were more of them this year than previous years and I’m ok with that. I previously wrote about them here.

Anyway, those are my GOTY awards no one asked for. It turns out video games are pretty neat!

Games You May Have Missed in 2022

I’ll do some sort of GOTY list sometime soon but I thought I would write about various games I enjoyed that people may have missed while all the holiday sales are going on. There’s a ton missing from this since it’s just a list I quickly threw together and I played a lot this year.

He Fucked the Girl Out of Me

If there’s a game on this list where I would do some sort of For Your Consideration Lynch-inspired campaign where I would sit outside with a cow, He Fucked the Girl Out of Me would be it. This is a game about the developer’s experiences doing sex work and the trauma that came from that. It was one of my favorite games this year and I thought the writing was incredible. Making a Game Boy game of something Nintendo would never approve for their platforms was an interesting choice too. The game lists the content warnings so please read those before playing.

Dungeon Lad

Dungeon Lad is an arcade roguelike where you’re constantly on a timer and must quickly move through floors while picking up power ups. Just started playing this after picking it up in the Steam sale that’s going on now and it’s been a lot of fun. 


Mezzanine is a free adventure game absolutely nails the look and feel of mid-90s Myst clones that I haven’t seen any other indie game do. It’s worth checking out if you’re into Y2K aesthetics.

Cartomancy Anthology

I actually wrote about this one before but Cartomancy Anthology is great. It has games by a lot of developers I like and I loved the tarot theme too. More game anthologies please!

Elsewhere in the Night

Elsewhere in the Night is a short (60 minutes) first-person adventure game with art by Sierra’s Manhunter series. Even though I am a defender of those games, this is vastly more playable and fair but is still very weird. The same developers also released the game Blood Nova a few months ago and I’m excited to play that in the Adventure Game Club

Legend of Etad

I was just really impressed by how they pulled off this dungeon crawler for the Playdate. The community for the handheld is doing a lot of neat stuff and I’m looking forward to what they do next year.

Funny Walk – A Garbage Voyage

I’m a big fan of Graceless Games and it was nice to see them release another game a few months ago. The use of digitized sprites that a lot of adventure games did in the 90s is something I’m extremely into and they have a unique sense of humor that I love.

BOSSGAME: The Final Boss Is My Heart

I don’t know if this game is that obscure because I’ve seen it covered on a few games sites but whatever, I’m going to mention it anyway. BOSSGAME is a mobile game about two girlfriends fighting monsters and it rules. Even if you’re not great at action games, there’s some nice accessibility options in here and it’s worth playing just for the art and writing. I have it on iOS but I’m looking forward to the PC versions that’s coming out in the spring. 

Jennifer Wilde

Jennifer Wilde is a point-and-click adventure about a young French woman in the 1920’s teaming up with the ghost of Oscar Wilde to solve the murder of her father. I discuss it more in my review for Adventure Gamers but I was pleased by how they managed to pull off this absurd sounding concept to tell a queer story with unique puzzle mechanics.

Ten Tales From the Records of the Adamant Gambit

I guess this was technically made at the end of last year but Itch publish date lists this as earlier this year, possibly a revised version, so I’m listing it anyway. This is an anthology of short games made in Bitsy telling stories about the people on a massive starship. I was shocked by how much the developers could do in Bitsy.

Hope you had a nice holiday season and discover a few games from this list that you end up loving!


Something I’ve been into this last month has been writing in notebooks for game design and notes for myself while playing games. There’s a couple of things that happened at the same time that kicked this off for me. At the beginning of this month the Adventure Game Club started playing the text adventure Colossal Cave Adventure, a game that requires note taking to understand the layout of the caves. While I’ve made notes plenty of times for adventure games, they were always on scrap pieces of paper that got thrown out after I was done playing. After coming across some notes I took for Dark Fall a while back and enjoying looking through them, I decided to get something that I can actually write notes in and not lose a week after I finish the game.

The other thing that motivated me to pick up a couple notebooks has been #Dungeon23. This is a project where you create a mega dungeon, one room at a time, over a year. I just do tabletop rpg design as a hobby so it’s been a lot of fun for me to do something as big as a mega dungeon but in a very manageable way. I’ll eventually post some of the rooms on social media after doing this for a month or two. They’re kinda sloppy since it’s my first time really doing something on this scale but it’s been a fun project and I encourage people to try it.

It’s just been a nice way to process my thoughts and have something that feels a little more personal than going on Backloggd or wherever, saying I completed a game, assigning a star rating, and then moving on. Doing little doodles for each game is fun too. I’m not abandoning Google Docs for game dev note taking either but I think occasionally going to a notebook for slower note taking is useful too and allows me to think about game design in a different way.

Plus it’s just fun to cover your notebooks in stickers! If you sell stickers for your game or whatever, please leave a link in the comments. I would like more!

two notebooks covered in stickers