Kongregate Developers Blog

November 2018 Contest Winners

Each month, developers win cash prizes for having the highest-rated new games! Click here for official rules. Check out the official contest page here.


We reached out to the top 5 winners to ask about their inspirations and experiences developing last month's top games on Kongregate!

  • Second-Place Winner

RogueSword, developer of Dungeoneers: The Rogue Sword team has been putting games on the Internet since before that was legal.

We began in 1989 as CyberGraphics (MMO development -- 10 years too early), then Outland (Internet Mac games), then TEN (online service for hit games like Duke Nukem and AD&D Dark Sun Online), then Pogo (casual web games), then Electronic Arts (whatever they do).

After the stint as EA minions, we began the game we always wanted to make: Dungeoneers. Using our experience with both hardcore and casual games, we set out to distill the classic table-top RPG experience into quick runs where you get right to the good parts. In other words, we want you slaying dragons for lunch.

Now that the core system is in place, we plan to keep adding lots more content and interesting gameplay elements. We've been developing Dungeoneers for a long time, but the adventure has just begun.

We're happy to be on Kongregate and thrilled with the positive reception. See you in the chat room!

  • Third-Place Winner

flori9, developer of circloO 2: Hi everyone! I'm really happy and pleasantly surprised with the third place for circloO 2. Thanks everyone who played and rated it!

I'd also like to congratulate the other winners with their prizes. I didn't play them all, but of the ones I did play I especially liked Rogue Fable III, Just Passing and Mr Tulip Head's Puzzle Garden.

circloO 2 has actually been in development for a few years. I started making new levels shortly after releasing the first game, and then got distracted by other projects and by university. I picked up development multiple times, each time making just a few levels or polishing the game a bit. A few months ago, I finally made the last four levels and finished the game. I'm really happy to have finally released it and also with the result.

From my experience making this game, I have a few tips to share for other developers:

  • Almost every developer has a few projects just lying around that just need a bit more development. Finish those projects and release them -- it will feel great and allow you to fully focus on new projects again!

  • On the other hand, do feel free to start a (short) new project if you really don't have inspiration left for your current one -- you might get great new ideas while you're working on the new game! Just don't forget to eventually go back to your old project after the side project is done.

  • Think a bit about how difficult designing levels will be when designing your game. Designing levels for circloO 2 is quite hard, as there are a lot of requirements and restrictions. For example, the player must never be able to get stuck, and previous level elements are always still in the level. If I would have loosened them a bit, I might have been able to release the game much earlier, with more levels too. Still, restrictions can actually fuel creativity and make a more focused game, too, so you certainly don't have to avoid them completely.

  • And well, physics games are fun, so maybe try making a physics-based game if you need a new project idea. :)

  • Fourth-Place Winner

JoelLikesPigs, developer of Just Passing: I originally came up with the idea of "Just Passing" way back when I first started making games in mid-2017, though originally it was gonna be named "Ghost Town USA" and was a little bit different -- instead of living in an unnamed afterlife scenario, you'd be some dude coming to a village to get rid of ghosts haunting a town (presumably in the USA). Like I mentioned, I've been making games for a little over a year now, and the journey has been a lot of fun. I make most of my games in my free time, and luckily for me, October is always one of my quietest times of the year. "Just Passing" specifically was a mix of free time and a Twitter hashtag that was popular during the month (#DevTober), spurring me on to make something and post about it every day. And this is what I ended up with, for better or for worse haha.

The game takes some obvious inspirations, mostly from the Mother/Earthbound series, and any opportunity to use bad jokes and puns is a good one for me, which is why you'll experience a lot in this game. Plus, seeing the response to my awful jokes is always fun, even if they are mostly groans, rather than laughter. Though the game, story, and graphics are all me, I don't think the game could have been even as remotely as atmospheric or as good without the help of Viktor Kraus, who made the excellent music throughout the game. I plan to continue working on the game over the holidays with a sequel of sorts, but I'm still writing down some ideas and playing around with some mechanics... Plus I'm sure I still need to fix some bugs here and there in the current build, which is always fun.

But overall I think my favorite thing so far about making games has just been interacting with the community; I always loved playing games on sites like Kongregate as a kid, and being able to give something back to the community (and somehow win a prize -- whoa) is honestly a truly incredible experience.

  • Fifth-Place Winner

DrSplutterworth, developer of Let's Learn Japanese! Hiragana: I spent a year living in Japan and faced a great struggle learning to read Japanese. That’s when the idea for Let’s Learn Japanese! Hiragana was born. I was inspired to make a game to help others learn the Japanese alphabet, hopefully having a little fun at the same time.

By taking inspiration from popular game archetypes like Match-3 and Fruit Ninja, I was able to make a basic but catchy game using the Phaser JavaScript library. Having limited experience with UI design, I decided to keep it simple with a plain white background. The last step was to create a "kawaii" mascot character, so Taiyo joined the game to greet and encourage players as they take their journey through learning hiragana.

This was my first browser game and I’m very proud that it’s won a prize. I have already had several requests for Let’s Learn Japanese! Katakana, and you can expect to see that online very shortly. Thank you Kongregate, and thank you gamers!

Congrats to the rest of the winners below!