A Useful Diversion – In 13 Kilobytes

It’s been kind of a rough past couple of weeks, so in the spirit providing a little bit of a diversion, I thought I’d pass along this interesting competition I just read about.


js13kGames is a contest for HTML5 developers to create the most fun, creative, and enjoyable game in only 13 kilobytes of data.

In addition the overall size restriction, there are other technical rules designed to give the game developers some useful constraints – no external libraries, no external sources (like images), and no external scripts.

This means that developers must be creative about reusing assets and writing DRY (don’t repeat yourself) code. It reminds me of some of the imaginative solutions that had to be used by early Nintendo game developers (for example, the clouds and the bushes in the original Super Mario Bros. are the same asset, just re-colored).

Incidently, the NES cartridges could hold up to 768kb – much more than the 13kb limit in this competition!

The Games

You can find a listing of the 2020 winners here, and a complete list of *all* entrants (for all years) is here.

The theme of this year is ‘404’ – the error code generated when a webpage is not found. You’ll see that (and other numerical codes) in many of the games.

While I didn’t get a chance to play through all of them, here are some that were especially enjoyable or impressive to me:

Hopefully these can provide you with a few minutes (or hours) of diversion in the coming days! It’s also recognition that while we all have limitations (in time, in repertoire to practice, etc) sometimes these constraints can be beneficial.

Find all the 2020 winners here.