Spooktober VN Jam

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Spooktober VN Jam
Spooktober 2022 key art.jpg
Key art for Spooktober 2022
Years active 2019 to Present
Host Remort Studios
Duration 1 month (September)
Theme Spooky, Horror, Halloween, non-NSFW
Prior work Not allowed
Most entries 160 (2022)
Latest URL https://itch.io/jam/spooktober-vn-jam-2022

The Spooktober VN Jam is an annual event where in the month of September participants create a visual novel themed around Halloween and/or a "spooky" or horror theme, in any genre (e.g. drama, but also comedy is allowed). Entries are judged and prizes are awarded to winning participants in October, after the jam's main (creation) phase is finished. The name "Spooktober" references October 31th (Halloween).

The jam is run and strongly promoted by the DevTalk VN developer community, and general awareness and preparations for the jam start months in advance. The jam's official itch page allowing participants to join is usually published about 1 month prior to the start. In 2021 Spooktober VN Jam became the first and so far only itch.io VN jam to produce more VN entries than NaNoRenO in a given year.


The first Spooktober VN Jam took place in 2019.


There are two main phases to Spooktober, one being the creation phase, and an additional phase, where the jam promotes its creations and encourages people to "celebrate the spooky season" by playing its entries while the entries are being judged. The availability of VNs to play during the Halloween-themed time is the reason why the creation phase is in September. Only in its first 2019 iteration did the jam's creation phase take place in October.

Preparation Phase

This natural phase of a jam consists of preparing for the "Creation Phase". Participants may sign up, form teams and do other typical activities allowed by the jam rules. Restrictions apply, such as for the creation of final in-game assets. In the DevTalk server two Meet and Greets are organized to facilitate team creation and recruitment. In this phase participants are encouraged to clarify open questions in regards to jam rules.


The jam's main rules are:

  • work on final assets can only start within the jam period
  • adherence to theme of Halloween, horror, etc.
  • free availability of VN for the judging period
  • no NSFW content / appropriate content warnings

Creation Phase

This is the "main" phase of Spooktober, taking place during September. Participants create, finish and must submit the VN to the jam page before the end of the submission window. Late submissions may be allowed on a case by case basis, but are not eligible for judging or prizes.

Playing and Visibility Phase

After the jam submission period is finished, the playing and visibility phase begins. At the same time that the judges start their process (see Judging Phase), DevTalk promotes and facilitates post-jam activities in the context of Halloween throughout the month of October. These are encouraging playing and commenting on entries, hosting or highlighting people's Let's Play streams, encouraging reviews, and working to increase the overall visibility of the jam and its VNs.

Judging Phase

The judging phase also starts after the jam submission period is finished. Judges download all submissions as they are at the time of the jam's end, and disregard any updates to the VNs made between the end of submission period and announcing of results, to ensure fair treatment of all entries. Judges play and exchange views on submissions privately, and do not publish any preliminary results.

The judging approach is dependent on the number of expected submissions, and it is possible that not all judges will play all VNs. The judging process may involve individual shortlists, or splitting submissions between the judges. Once a consensus on the winners is achieved, the results are published on the jam page, and announces though various other channels.

There are no set overall judging criteria, however each year judges will introduce themselves and present their personal focus points and judging values, e.g. focus on emotional impact, self-expression, or overall cohesiveness.

Year Judging Team
2022 Nai, Arimia, HusbandoGoddess, John, Chaplin
2021 Nai, Arimia, Chloe, TundraFlame, Fra
2020 Nai, Arimia
2019 Nai, Arimia

Categories and prizes

The prize categories for Spooktober may vary from year to year. In addition to a "grand prize" awarded to the top three VNs, secondary prizes in various categories may be awarded. The amounts and types of prizes can also vary from year to year, even in the same category, as they are often dependent on sponsorship agreements made for that year. Prizes can be monetary, or license keys for software.

Judge Favorite

This is the most prestigious Spooktober award and is given away by the judges for the "best overall" VNs in the form of a "top three" ranked order. This award serves to highlight standout titles rather than ordering all submissions, therefore no accompanying further or expanded ranked list is published.

Year 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
2022 Our Fantastic Wonderland Elevator Hitch All That (Probably) Glitters
2021 StillWater Stardander Revenant Romancing Flesh
2020 Therapy with Dr. Albert Krueger Last Meal at Cafe Mori Night of the Lesbian Vampires
2019 Not It (not awarded) (not awarded)

Judge Shortlist

Before the final three titles of the Judge Favorite award are established, a selection of candidates is picked by the judges from the entirety of the submission pool. These include the future Judge Favorite titles.

Year Count Titles
2022 32/160
All That (Probably) Glitters, Autumn Spirit, Beneath the Crushing Sky, Blue Thistle Ghosts, Cal's Costume Conundrum!!, Confessions Amongst the Poppies, Corvus Clueless, Curse in Bloom, Don't Die Alone, Elevator Hitch, Girlfriend Simulator, L.S.D.s --- AKA: Love-Sucking Demons, Lachesis ∨ Atropos, Loose Oddities and Entities, Melissa :heart:, Nameless - The Departed Cycle, Nowhereplatz U3, Offal, Our Fantastic Wonderland, Panacea: Rebirth, Parasite in Love, The Cryptic Caper, The Graveyard Shift, The Madness Of [Redacted], Vivica's Heart, VVVVV, waterborne: immersion (waterborne 2), Who Killed BigFoot?, Wilting Regrets, World of You, Yokai Detective Kou
2021 39/112
All That Ales Yew, Belladonna, Candy Scabs, The Case of the Serialized Killer, DUFE: Masquerade, Falling Stars, Frightwood, Ghost Switch, Graveyard Girls, The haunting of my childhood mall, Hearts & Hexes, The Housemate, Hush Little Lily, InSomno, Jill O’ Lantern: First Slice, Last One There, Limbo Line, The Life We’ve Chosen, Misty Hollow, Mitra, Mothdude, Moths to a Flame, Paranormal Buddies, Perfection Paper-thin, Pumpkin Face, Pusoy Dos, The Raven, Romancing Flesh, Scary Gourmet, Silverblood, The Spider and the Bride, Stardander Revenant, Stillwater, Tales of Misteria, To All the Wolves I’ve Slain, Up All Night: Rumination, waterborne, Wolfskin’s Curse, Who Is the Red Queen?
2020 (0) (not awarded)
2019 (0) (not awarded)

Itch.io Favorite / Public vote

This is the result of the public voting system. The system follows the itch.io 5-star system, and is calculated with the top result being the highest average score, regardless of the amount of ratings received. In 2019 the results for this section ("community favorite") were announced with Not It (score 4,89 via 9 votes) in 1st place before Halloween Hearts and Bliss Cafe (both scoring 5,00 with 2 votes each) because of the weight of the quantity of votes. In 2022 the winner was not determined by the jam's scoring system as the custom categories were created to add to the spooky nature of the jam rather than offer precise feedback to elements of the submissions, and the single winner was established via the popularity sorting rank on the submissions page.

This overview lists the top three places only, following only the average score (not weighing in the amount of votes)

Year 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
2022 Melissa :heart:
(most popular)
(not awarded) (not awarded)
2021 Mitra
(score 5,000 via 10 votes)
The Case of The Serialized Killer
(score 4,941 via 51 votes)
Up All Night: Rumination
(score 4,929 via 14 votes)
2020 (not awarded) (not awarded) (not awarded)
2019 Halloween Hearts + Bliss Cafe
(score 5,000 via 2 votes)
Not It
(score 4,889 via 9 votes)


Award for the best thumbnail image on the submission's itch.io page.

Year 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
2022 Yokai Detective Kou (not awarded) (not awarded)
2021 DUFE: Masquerade (not awarded) (not awarded)
2020 Therapy with Dr. Albert Krueger Bewitched Hearts Oh! Terry!
2019 It's Just The End of the World, Love (not awarded) (not awarded)


Award for the best log line (1-3 sentences with what the visual novel is about).

Year 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
2022 (not awarded) (not awarded) (not awarded)
2021 Wolfskin's Curse (not awarded) (not awarded)
2020 Up All Night Devil's Door Play Dead!
2019 I'm A Love Interest In my Childhood Friend's Halloween Story (not awarded) (not awarded)

Monster / Costume Design

Year 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
2022 The Cryptic Caper (not awarded) (not awarded)
2021 Romancing Flesh (not awarded) (not awarded)
2020 What Grows in the Night House Last Meal at Cafe Mori
2019 Bliss Cafe (not awarded) (not awarded)

Best Cinematography / Scene Presentation

Year 1st place Nominated
2022 Our Fantastic Wonderland Our Fantastic Wonderland, LSD AKA Love Sucking Demons.
2021 Romancing Flesh (not awarded)
2020 (not awarded) (not awarded)
2019 (not awarded) (not awarded)


Awarded for the best recurring motifs in submitted visual novels.

Year 1st place
2022 (not awarded)
2021 (not awarded)
2020 (not awarded)
2019 I'm A Love Interest In My Childhood Friend's Halloween Story

Best Unity Submission

Year 1st place
2022 (not awarded)
2021 (not awarded)
2020 Soft Drizzle: B-Track
2019 (not awarded)

Best Score

Year 1st place Nominated
2022 Parasite in Love Parasite in Love, Autumn Spirit, Vivica's Heart
2021 (not awarded) (not awarded)
2020 (not awarded) (not awarded)
2019 (not awarded) (not awarded)

Best Voice Actor / Human Voice Performance

Year 1st place Nominated
2022 Rachel Schumacher Trickle, Rachel Schumacher, Vera Tan
2021 Paradoxxxical (not awarded)
2020 Nick Chang (not awarded)
2019 (not awarded) (not awarded)

Best Monster Performance

Year 1st place
2022 (not awarded)
2021 (not awarded)
2020 MAHO Cody
2019 (not awarded)

Best Live Streamed Performance

Year 1st place
2022 (not awarded)
2021 Project Flawesome
2020 Tundra Flame
2019 (not awarded)

External Links