If you want to make a retro game, using a blocky sprite style on modern hardware is the popular way to do it. It’s another task entirely to make a game that actually runs on an old system like the NES. It’s not a matter of how simplistic the graphics and code are, but of what language said code is: all NES games run on the obsolete and archaic 6502 Assembly language, useless in modern society. Up to now, NES coding has remained a hobby for the hardcore only.
That’s why we’re over the moon to discover something like NES Maker is in development. This GUI-based interface does all the heavy lifting code-wise and lets the game maker focus on creating graphics and scenarios instead. Using NES Maker, it’s possible to get a fully functional game running in 30 minutes (or even less). This could really become a hit!
- Design sprite graphics and color palettes that are automatically constrained to the NES limitations.
- Create assets with properties and behaviors to give developing for the NES an object-oriented feel, similar to modern tools such as GameMaker and Unity.
- Use a text editor to create text strings for NPCs or other narrative devices your game might have.
- Create *special screens* like start screens, end screens, menus, maps, and more.
- Customize AI
- Set initialization parameters (items obtained, player strength/defense, starting screen, etc) for easy testing.
- Use the base engine to create adventure games, basic RPGs, basic platformers, basic brawlers, and several other types of games.
- Assemble with one click for testing in an emulator.
- Flash to cartridge in one click for play on actual hardware.
If you’ve been burned by Kickstarter games before, I get it, but this is not one of those cases. The people behind NES Maker have been working on it for the past three years. They’ve been showing it off at retro gaming conventions across the country and it’s nearly complete now. Pat Contri has used it, knows the programmers and vouches for its authenticity. If you fund this, you WILL get one, and you’ll be living your childhood dream of making games before long.
While it’s true that NES Maker is going to lead to a lot of junk games by complete amateurs (just look at Super Mario Maker for proof), it’ll also give people with a lot of ideas but no coding experience the opportunity to create some new classics. And they will be legal to sell, should they choose. A new NES renaissance is upon us!
Support NES Maker by contributing to the Kickstarter here.