Contest Rules

Please note that these rules can be changed, added to, or removed from at any time. In such event, the contest staff will notify you through this thread and send a global announcement using any form of Social Media we have at our disposal. We recommend checking back often to ensure nothing has changed.

Everything described in these next sections applies to both the Contest and the Expo unless otherwise specified.

Entry Eligibility

1. Your entry must be based on an existing ROM or game tied to the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise. Homebrew submissions are not accepted.

Hack of Super Mario 64 converting it into a Sonic game.
Custom game engine with imported Sonic game assets.
Hack of a Sonic game turning it into a non-Sonic game.
Hack of a Sonic game introducing new features/content to the game.

Tech demos of console to PC/console conversions are acceptable if based on an existing ROM and/or disassembly.

2. Joke/Meme entries are not allowed in the Contest. Public evaluations clearly shown people did not like the abundance of them in previous contests. Once again we will not be allowing them. They will however be allowed in the Expo provided Quality Control Criteria are met.

3. All entries must be playable and cannot prevent judges from playing them if they have been uploaded. Judges have the right to look at your incomplete work if you have submitted it. However, judges will not allocate trophies based on any incomplete builds, only the last build submitted for the completed entry.

Submission Rules/Guidelines

1. Each entry by a participant may only be submitted to either the Contest or Expo. You cannot have the same entry in both. That said, nothing stops you from submitting any number of different entries to the contest and the expo.

"Sonic Hack R" in Contest AND Expo.
"Sonic Hack R" in Contest.
"Sonic Hack R" in Expo.
"Sonic Hack R" in Contest, "Sonic Hack Z" in Expo.

2. You must include media such as screenshots and videos. The staff will not waste time making these for you.

3. All submissions must be completed through the online site. Emailed or direct-messaged entries will not be accepted.

4. You must inform what has been changed or explicitly what has not. This can be zone and act breakdowns to a full change log, if need be. We need to ensure stock vanilla levels and completely untouched gameplay is not being judged and/or played by the general public. Submissions can inform of other information such as cheat codes, easter eggs, and other worthwhile information that would benefit your entry when being looked at and judged.

5. For 2D PC and 3D entries, please comment out your UpdateURL. While this will be checked and done on entries anyway, the entry specifically submitted needs this removed so that the version downloaded is specifically this year's contest version, and not auto-updated.

Regarding Submissions for 2DPC Entries

For entries based on official 2D ports, re-releases and remasters on PC (including Sonic Mania & Origins).

Please note the following below:

  • Mods of RSDK Decompilations (based on official mobile releases) are allowed.
  • Modified Retro Engines are allowed in both Contest and Expo if they are part of the mod itself.
  • Mods of Mods that can only run on a Modified Retro Engine/Binary are strictly Expo only.


A mod of Sonic Mania/Origins.
A mod like `Sonic 1 Forever` with a custom Retro Engine.
[Expo Only!] Mod that only runs on `Sonic 1 Forever` (Custom Retro Engine) or `Sonic 2 Absolute`.
Mods of fangames, such as those commonly found on [Sonic Amateur Games Expo]( (SAGE).


  • Mods of Sonic 3 Angel Island Revisited (A.I.R) are permitted.
  • The game uses the S3&K ROM for assets, with code translated using a scripting system similar to original 68K Assembly code.
  • Please note that this is an exception, due to popular demand.

Closing Remarks:

We are aware that the restriction of mods of mods to 2DPC only may disappoint some people; however, we have to ultimately draw a line into what should be allowed into SHC, otherwise we may risk a situation where every mod of a fan-production would be allowed. For example, we would not allow mods of Sonic Project-06 (an unofficial remake of Sonic 06 in Unity).

We are open to community feedback on these kinds of matters, please contact the SHC Judges for any inquiries.

Please note that the Quality Control Criteria will still be strictly enforced. Low-quality mods will not be allowed into the Contest or Expo.

Copyright & Intellectual Property

1. All work used from external sources/contributors (sprites, VGM conversions, etc) must be credited. Hacks found with stolen and / or uncredited content will not be tolerated. If anyone suspects an entry to have stolen and / or uncredited content either flag the entry or contact staff immediately.

2. If you have used asset collections such as music packs from the Internet, please be wary that they are known to contain content illegitimately ripped from other hacks. Please always double check your original sources.

3. If you are reusing assets from another game (such as its art as part of a level) or other assets not created by you, please mention the game or original location in the credits section of the entry page. This will be available this year on the website for you to credit all your work.

4. If your entry requires a user to manually supply assets from another game (for example, due to legal reasons where they must own the game said assets are in, rather than be included in the download itself), you must explicitly state this in the description and give instructions on how they can extract the assets to be used in your entry. You may include extraction or patching tools as an extra download option if this helps to do so. We have allowed similar cases before in previous years, such as with Sonic 3D: Director's Cut in the SHC2017 Expo, where the entry provided an IPS patch and the original ROM was necessary to obtain yourself in order to play it.

The general course of action for stolen content is that the participant will have all of their entries removed from the Sonic Hacking Contest.

What Not To Do

1. Cause or exacerbate drama. The contest is not an appropriate place to air your grievances with individuals or communities.

2. Include obscure jokes/memes that most people will not understand. If the entry focuses on inside jokes with no appeal to anyone other than those in the know, the Contest or Expo is not a valid place for it to be shown.

3. Have NSFW content accessed through normal means. Easter eggs are okay, provided accessible without prior knowledge of existence. Adding the method of access through your entry description, will be considered as "accessed through normal means".

4. Make a joke entry with the sole purpose of just gaming the rules/exploit any loopholes. You'll just be banned, from this year and possibly future years as well.

Other Considerations

1. No private entries. If you want to submit to the Contest your entry must be made available completely to the Public.

2. Offensive content without good context is frowned upon and should be avoided to prevent issues.

3. Give a thought about your target audience. Make sure your entry is not over-complicated to run or unnecessarily bloated. If a mod can be 200MB and easily installed with a mod loader, we don't want to see a 2GB submission that achieves the same thing requiring total file replacement.

4. All entries should be enjoyable for all to play. Please refrain from submitting monotonous, off-putting, or insanely difficult entries (such as "Kaizo" hacks). While these are enjoyable to some we want everyone here to be able to enjoy your entries, and unfortunately these just do not do so to most. If you feel you must submit one of these, please stick to the Expo rather than the Contest.

5. All entries are viewed equal regardless of who submits them. Do not be put off with people well known in the community potentially submitting that could win trophies - people do not win trophies because of who they are in this community, people win because their entry deserved to win.

6. Contact us if you have any issue regarding the Contest. While we do try to collect feedback and other responses from people following the end of the previous year's Contest Week, on occasion we do come across people who have something to raise regarding the Contest, but do not contact the proper people about it, leading to some issues or grievances not being addressed, which can lead to potential entries not being submitted in some cases.

An example of this can be the 2020 Contest Week being in the week of Halloween, which some people saw as an inconvenience, but people did not bring this up when SHC was announced months before, for which we could have altered the dates if this was preferred. People are entitled to discuss what they think about SHC with people in private settings, but ultimately the only people who can take action, are SHC staff.

It is therefore important that if you have had an issue with SHC at any point of time, to directly contact SHC. If there is anything you want to discuss regarding SHC, you can submit to this form, and staff will reply back in due course.

Please do not use this form to air your grievances about individuals involved in SHC or communities that do or do not take part in SHC activities.