Many, many indie developers have used the games they grew up with as kids to inspire their own retro-stylized games, but these are usually built on modern hardware. As simple as the games appear, coding them into existence was much harder back when 8 and 16-bit consoles were new and the methods of creating a video game were more primitive. (Though it’s about to get a lot easier with the NES….eleven hours to go).
Matt Phillips had a dream of creating his own Mega Drive game (that’s Genesis for Yanks), but he wasn’t satisfied with just cranking something out for Steam. No, he could only settle for nothing less than the real thing! So he purchased authentic development kits and software from eBay, as well as a Windows 95 computer to run them on. “None of this old equipment works very well anymore. I’ve had more repairs on this thing can I can count,” he says.
Phillips even had to go retro with the circuitry. Since modern circuit boards are built to accept a higher voltage than the Genesis was capable of putting out, Matt had to track down an anonymous guy from Canada to create the PCBs that would go inside his cartridges — cartridges he had to order from a place in China that would make the mold.
But at last, after many years, he’s done it. There’s a new Mega Drive/Genesis game, about a jumping fox, named “Tanglewood,” coming to a scratched-up console near you. But it won’t bear the Sega Seal of Approval. That was the one thing Phillips couldn’t recreate — he contacted Sega directly and was told they no longer have a department that handles quality testing for games on machines as old as this. They wished him luck anyway.
Watch the full story on BBC Video by going to this link.