Made for Global Game Jam 2019

"Home for Jack" is an ASCII-based platformer adventure about the troubles of leaving home for the first time to live by yourself. Follow Jack as he tries to understand the situation he is now in and figures out what exactly home is...

It is recommended to use Chrome, other browsers haven't been tested.

While it says to use arrow keys and space in the tutorial, you can also use WASD keys and any gamepad controller.


Log in with to leave a comment.

Good idea mixing words and the home theme, to convey a story and have some platforming gameplay. Now I know ascii platformers have to be rigid because the pixel size is pretty much a whole ASCII character, but I would really love for someone to make an ascii game with a smooth gameplay.

Nice concept! The way to use text as actual terrain was awesome. To just use words to directly "write" what something represents, combined with the ASCII style that's otherwise extremely abstract, made the game surprisingly detailed. For example that the moving platforms representing different vehicles brought a logic into the platforming element to WHY I am jumping around on these things. Platformers otherwise have a very "its moving blocks, deal with it" approach to the reasoning to why you need to jump on stuff.

I would however have liked if you where a bit more consistent with using the text as terrain, as some levels you just had it placed in the corner or in a box. The charm of using text-as-floor with a platformer (I feel) is that you make the player "read" the text as he walks over the words (or at-least encourages them to). Placing the text on a random spot just to be read makes the player instead have to: stop, read, then continue, and it just disrupts the flow.

Also, cant say I felt much for the story itself... I get that its a take on a journey and the notion of "home", but it honestly got a bit lost on me forwards the end. I would highly recommend the game "Thomas Was Alone" for a take on story-told-directly-in-platforming-levels, it has flaws, but your able to follow the story quite well. 

Lastly I am sorry to say that the platforming itself left a lot to be desired. The controls/movement could use a bit more work, as right now it can be a bit wonky trying to land on a moving platform. Otherwise it is the levels themselves that need the most work, while most are ok (you are working with very few platform-tools after all), the more challenging ones need a better start layout (especially the last level before the end). When making a level where the player has a high risk of dying over-and-over, I feel that the how the level restarts is very important, so that there is no wait time for my next try. Example: The last level had the issue with the moving platforms being miss-timed, so every time I restarted I had to WAIT for the platform to make a full back-and-forth run before jumping. This made me frustrated not at the platforming part, but at having to wait every time I failed.

Overall, great job! Cheers.

Thank you for the large amount of feedback :)

This was my first attempt at writing a (proper and full) story and designing a large set of levels. In hindsight I agree that I probably should've used the text as terrain more often. I found from playtesting that players were more likely to notice and read the text when it was part of the level design. I also agree with your view on the last level. I have heard alot of good things about "Thomas was Alone" but I haven't played it myself yet, maybe I will look into it.

All that being said, I probably won't be changing or updating this game in the future, since I usually am a "finish it and forget it" sort of developer, especially with gamejam games (unless there is a huge bug or flaw). However, I will keep your feedback in mind for future games.

(2 edits)

Cool concept and the music is nice. I tried your game in Firefox. First thing I noticed was that space bar seems to move the page down. I figured out that up arrow key also works for jump but someone just reading the game might not figure that out as only spacebar is listed for jump. Also if I selected show only this frame or put the game in fullscreen mode,  then everything was fine. I also tried your game with the gamepad. For me it was very sensitive. You might consider increasing the deadzone a little bit.

Also I'm not sure if this intentional or not but on the screen that says, "HOME" NOW FELT A LITTLE DIFFERENT, HOME is spelled as HOWE. Maybe that was intentional but in case it wasn't I'm just pointing it out.

That "space" moving the page down only should happen if the focus isn't on the game, so you have to click on the game to fix that. I might edit the description to point that out. As mentioned in the description however, you can also use WASD keys.

Also the "HOWE" was not a mistake, alot of people don't seem to notice this but that scene is the house from earlier but upside-down (hence the 'W', which is an upside-down 'M').

Thanks for the feedback though ^-^

Yes I tried clicking on it to focus it multiple times but it didn't help. Maybe it's just a quirk with Firefox. And that's neat that it's upside down. I didn't notice that. You're welcome about feedback, I saw your request for play testing on Discord and wanted to help you out.