Find The Golden Ticket – $500 Christmas Giveaway

Find The Golden Ticket – $500 Christmas Giveaway

Welcome to my fourth annual Christmas giveaway! This year I’m giving away $500 US dollars in a fun event where you need to find a special golden ticket. This event is 100% free to enter with no strings attached. Read the instructions below for a chance to win.

This event is now complete! The lucky winners have been notified by email.

Why I’m Doing This

I’ve had another fortunate year running my online business, especially in recent months, and in fact 2016 has been my most successful year ever. If you’re not familiar with my work, I’m a self-employed video game developer with over 10 years of experience.

On this website, I blog about game development and business, and encourage my readers to pursue their passions online. I’m also a published author working on my next book, Learn To Make Games, which is designed to teach absolute beginners how to make video games even without prior experience.

Each year, I aim to show my appreciation of the community by giving back to my loyal readers and fans. I’m so thankful for everyone who follows my work and supports me, including on Twitter and Facebook! I hope this event adds to the holiday spirit.

How It Worksgolden-ticket

I’m trying something different this year: I have created a brand new game just for this event! To win a share of the $500 prize pool, you will need to find a golden ticket within the game, which is called Santa’s Helpers.

The idea is simple: Santa is thinking of specific gifts to add to his presents, and you have to help him find them. Collect as many gifts as possible before time runs out! If you find enough gifts, you might be lucky enough to discover a golden ticket.

You do not need to install anything to play the game, and it will work on PC or mobile.

Ready To Play?

To access the game, simply click below and enjoy! Note: the golden ticket feature has been disabled now that this event has finished.



The total prize pool is $500 USD. There will be 5 random draws for $100 each, resulting in a total of 5 unique winners. The winners will be notified by email on December 25th 2016. Payouts will only be sent via PayPal and unclaimed prizes will be forfeit after 30 days.

Attempting to make fake or duplicate entries will result in disqualification from the draw and future events. We have implemented a range of security measures to ensure the draw is fair for everyone involved.

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas, and good luck in the draw!


This event is now complete! The lucky winners have been notified by email.


  1. Ben


    Hi Matthew,

    I’ve been reading your blogs and tweets for a couple of years without ever commenting. I just wanted to thank you for inspiring others and being open about your income, etc.


  2. Jason


    You are living the dream we all aspire to live. Keep it up Matthew!

  3. Santi


    I just want to say thank you for sharing your experiences and be so transparent regarding your incomes. You are a good example and inspiration.

  4. Travis


    Not just posting because of the holiday contest, but it is a good excuse to do so~

    I have Game Maker: Studio because of you, and as a result I’ve earned a bit over the years. You’ve always been great at pointing people in the right direction, and helping give them a goal to shoot toward. It’s inspirational that you’re so young and see such independent success through all of your hard work- even for an old fogey like myself! Keep up the great work- it’s always a pleasure seeing what you create, and even working with you on stuff!

    • Thanks Travis, I appreciate it. I’m looking forward to working with you in the New Year too.

  5. Adrián Arroyo Calle


    Hi Matthew,

    You’re an inspiration, always reading your monthly report.

    Greetings from Spain

  6. Abel Antúnez


    Thank you for give me a reason to go bakc and try Game Maker and thank you for demostrate us that Game Maker can be a strong engine to make videogames and thank you for share your knowledge with us, happy new year!!!!

  7. george


    Hi Matthew,
    Because of you I switched to HTML5 and that gave me a boost for a year!

  8. Jonathan Moreau


    Thank you for your works.

  9. Fuxe


    You are a truly inspiration to all people aspiring to be a gamedev! Thank you for your book and sharing your stats.
    Keep it up!

  10. Yolanda


    I’ve been following you on Twitter and I like your income reports. I actually haven’t played any of your games, BUT as I started to get interested toward game development, I’m sure I’ll give your games a try. Your technique of distributing products is worth to learn, I’d like to check your book someday!

  11. kevin


    Thanks Matthew, your job is an inspiration not only to us as game developers but also for anyone who ventures into the life taking the initiative to start something new in pursuit of their dreams, keep your dreams alive and strive to achieve them!

  12. xot


    Thanks for hosting another fun giveaway and continuing to inspire struggling game makers. Good luck in your continuing quest to find modest housing. :)

  13. Ezy


    Matthew I have seen your work and been a twitter follower from the near beginning. I’ve never posted anything, but i do like and favorite your tweets. You are truly amazing, and I hope that you will continue to grow and become even more successful. :) Your passion has driven me towards starting my own company up, and I am happy I followed you from the start. Thanks again, and keep it up.

  14. Brent Roady


    Your income updates are informative about where the money in a post-Flash world lies. We need more posts about business ala patio11 / Kalzumeus (I assume you read Hacker News)

  15. Rob


    Hey Matthew, first off you have the same name as my brother so obviously big ups to you, I have read about 90% of your updates and told my wife that your book would be the perfect christmas present. With that being said, I found you from your battlestation post on reddit and followed the blog from there. This is the first “dev blog” I have ever followed but still to this day it is the best one I have read. Also… my wife loves Australia so me showing her your battlestation only fueled her desire for us to move there one day. Happy Holidays!!

  16. Jason Lee


    Hey Matt!
    To start off, I want to thank you for giving back to those who follow & support you. We all admire & lookup to your dedication to game making and hardwork. I’m also sure everyone really appreciates your transparency in terms of finances & plans.
    For me personally, your blogs over the past year have given me motivation to give gamedev a shot!(I’m starting at 19 too haha). Again, I can’t thank YOU enough.
    Anyways, cheers Matt! & Merry Christmas everyone :”)

    ***P.S. Thanks for following me on twitter like 1hr ago! ***

  17. neplul


    Hi, Matthew! Thanks for your blog. Maybe you already wrote about it, but how’s your workday going?

  18. Gil


    Thank you Matthew for all the effort you’re putting into this.
    May 2016 bring you even more success!

  19. Scott


    I think your level of transparency in regards to your game development and income is refreshing. It’s inspiring to know that a livable income can be earned despite how saturated the market is these days. And I also think it’s great of you to stay so engaged with your community and that you’re giving back with these giveaways. Good job!

  20. SpaLert


    People are saying that HTML5 is dead.
    Every month you prove us otherwise.

  21. Daniel


    I have no interest in making games, making a living as an independent developer and although installed it I very much doubt i will ever use Game Maker. However I still find myself reading your site/income reports and tweets as its an inspiring read and find them a great motivator.

    • That’s an interesting perspective! Thanks for following along.

  22. Leon Oscar Kidando


    This is meaningful to me and I hope will also have weight to you and the rest of the community.

    The best feeling in the world must be to wake up every morning and get to work on what you love to do. Getting paid for it is even more awesome.

    This is why I and so many other game devs are determined to take on the challenges and lessons that come with building a name in the game dev space.

    It’s websites like this and people like Matthew that inspire us to never quit and grow smarter quickly. Why? Because just as important as the technical work is behind making games, we should just as much appreciate the business side.

    Cheers dude :)

    • Thanks Leon! I hope 2016 is the year to make it happen.

      • Leon Oscar Kidando


        I know it is. I can just feel it!!! :). Wishing you are productive year as well.

  23. Damir


    “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

    Always remember that. :)

    Keep inspiring people.

  24. David Gohr (PanzerDave)


    Hope you have a wonderful holiday Matt <3 School is going well for me so far! I decided on programming after realizing I enjoyed making web pages for class. Keep up the great work <3

  25. Manu Gil


    Hi there, I also want to win, you make me learn a lot about game development and game publishing!

  26. lukaszkups


    Hello M!
    I was always against using tools for creating something – I was always doing everything from scratch (I’m talking about programming here – e.g. I was always doing mini games from scratch, not using e.g. Game Maker). Thanks to You, I’ve tried Game Maker and found it pretty interesting to work with and started creating first game with it – thanks for that!
    Going further I’ve also give a shot to php (I work full time as a webdev) which I’ve always categorize as a technology from past decade, but like I’ve though about Game Maker I’ve found it pretty interesting to try.
    Btw. could You write something more about Your nickname? :)

  27. Macocco


    Hi Matthew,
    I would like to thank you for all your tips and income reports over the years. They really helped me getting a clear idea of what it’s like starting a business. And your giveaways at the end is pure kindness!

  28. Richard Guile


    You’re an inspiration. So open and honest in helping others achieve what you have achieved. Very grateful in what you do.
    Thank you. And merry Xmas.

  29. Sven


    I read your blog since the beginning of my GM:S journey and it’s always inspiring and overall motivating. Thanks for that!

  30. Rick


    Hey Matt.. have followed you for about 2 years now.. very inspired by your success. Very cool of you to do this during the holidays!

  31. Waldmeister


    I’ve been eyeballing your progress since 2012, I even had the infamous white-on-orange pre-order edition of your book, unfortunately I lost it when an older backup server went down :(
    These days I’m only doing it for hobby purposes, but in 2013 almost 50% of my income was from HTML5 sponsorships.. a market that I had no idea about and discovered it through your self-promotion.

    • Haha, I hope you lost the last remaining copy – I had no idea what I was doing when that came out ;)

  32. Warren


    I have been reading your blog and following you on Twitter for a long time. You are an inspiration to all game developers. I used to think you couldn’t make money making games unless you had a big budget for marketing and advertising. Your book and monthly income reports shows anyone can do it with a little hard work and lots of fun!

  33. Benjamin


    Matthew, it’s really nice to see a developer who is so transparent about his earnings… It really inspires me to read of how you make a living from mostly just making relatively simple browser games, because it’s something I’d love to do in the future.

  34. alberto


    Sooner or later i need to dedicate some time and buy your book… I’m tired of only reading your tweets :)

  35. signz


    Matt, you’re simply amazing. Giving away money to those of us, who might need some for presents and stuff. You are the true Santa.

  36. Hayden White


    You are the greatest GM friend I’ve ever had. :)

  37. TA418


    First I want to say I’m shocked at how well your doing! I’ve been following you since 2013 and can’t believe how far you’ve come! It awesome to see someone who starts from scratch get so far.

    Second… Please bring back Myriad Online! I really miss it and following its dev progress.

    Any who! Congrats again! And merry Christmas

    • One day I will bring Myriad Online back (when money is less of an obstacle/priority). It might be quite a long wait though.

  38. Jonathan


    Thank you for hosting this giveaway! Your monthly earnings posts are always really encouraging, knowing that someone out there is maki g a really decent living making games. Gives me something to shoot for :)

  39. Ricardo Zangrandi


    I haven’t won as much money as you with HTML5 games, but your blog was definitely the kick that made me start in the game market, so: thanks for it! Happy xmas and good luck with your new projects :)

  40. Diego


    Matthew, you are doing an awesome job with your life and you are an inspiration for all the people who want to enter the video game industry, not only on HTML5. Keep doing what you love and you will be better than ever.

    Also, merry christmas beforehand xD

  41. Nommiin/Aleksandr


    Hello Matthew!
    I’d just like to say thank you so very much for hosting this giveaway, it is incredibly generous of you to do this. I’ve been using GameMaker for 6 years now and I’d been reading the GameMaker blog and your personal blog for a few years now. The GM blog is great for finding out news on the latest in GM, and the work you’ve shown on Twitter and your blog has shown that you’re incredibly talented with GM. Thanks again for hosting! Can’t wait for next year’s posts.

  42. Lux


    Merry Christmas, man! We appreciate how openly you share, particularly in a sphere like this one that’s so afraid of the numbers.

    • Merry Christmas! I definitely wish more developers were open about the business side. Undoubtedly, there are more positives than negatives.

  43. Michelle L


    Merry Christmas!

  44. Joseph


    I am as always, impressed with your work Matthew. Been following you for a couple years, it’s great to see you spreading the wisdom (and wealth!).

    You’re an inspiration. I’m determined to make something of 2016.

  45. Dustin Sanchez


    Dude, you’re killing it. Love coming here for motivation in this sometimes up sometimes down business.

  46. Garrett C.


    hopefully I win!

    Just wanted to say thanks for being an inspiration in regards to gaining an income online. I’ve failed several times this year, but I’m determined to try again and push myself uphill to get where I want to go. You and others have been a source of inspiration for me.

    • Thanks Garrett. It can be difficult to get started, but if you make it, the effort is definitely worth it.

  47. Dionelou


    Hi Matthew,

    I really like your games! I wish I win! :D

  48. Ivo Vicente


    Hi Matthew, in your xmas game its not possivel to add @ in email at the end of the game, and then cant submit to apply for the Christmas GIveaway. Thanks

    • Hi Ivo – a few of the less conventional keyboards have been having that issue. I recommend playing on mobile: the game uses an “on screen” keyboard for that, which should solve the issue.
      Matthew recently posted List of HTML5 Game Publishers & SponsorsMy Profile

  49. Kartikey


    Hi Mathew,
    There is one question in my mind, that all the artworks and animations on your game and sprites are made by you?, or someone else, you hired or something?

    • Hi Kartikey – I work with a small team, I’m not an artist myself.

  50. Horizonicblue


    Game is nice with a simple game play yet engaging. The art and animations are done very well.

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