Indiepocalypse Roundup: Original Hardware

Indiepocalypse Roundup: Original Hardware

Games are often inspired by the limitations, design ethos, or general feeling of games on older consoles. And withe right tools, games can be made for most any console that’s existed. This month’s Indiepocalypse Roundup puts the focus on five game made for a variety of older consoles. (and in one case an older console’s accessory)

8 Bitty Games by Patchwork Games – Game Boy
Created with Game Boy Development Kit, as opposed to the now more commonly used GB Studio, 8 Bitty Games is a collection of (technically 7) mini-games. Spread across a wide variety of genres, 8 Bitty Games feels akin to a style of demo cart the Game Boy (to the best of my knowledge) never had. Puzzle, sports, and rhythm games are represented, but more abstractly there is also a music making toy and an NES game starting simulation. The final game, is a narrative choice game played in conjunction with the Game Boy printer, where the responses to your choices is relayed solely through printed messages representing the computer your talking to in game.

The Shaking… Demo Reel by Gabriel Walter – ZX Spectrum
Fashioned after old adventure serials, The Shaking… Demo Reel is a branching story told across a series of tapes. At the end of each scene you are presented with an option of what action to take with a corresponding number for the tape to insert. Now granted, in playing the game on a modern computer there are no “tapes”, but you do need to load a new .tap file into your emulator to load each scene. This gives the game the same physicality of switching a tape or flipping the pages of a book, exploring a personal linearity in a work that is ultimately open and wholly accessible from the start.

neMULEsis by John Vanderhoef – NES
neMULEsis is the fifth entry in the MULEniverse series, a collection of homebrew NES games that work equally as an homage to NES era design and (as the intercap implies) the seminal 1983 business sim M.U.L.E.. This particular entry takes inspiration from the run-and-gun games of the era and arguably lives among them as a peer. It’s conflicting power-ups, widely varied settings, and backgrounds-as-bosses are all elements of the of early run-and-gun genre more than nods and throwbacks. And importantly, neMULEsis understands this and uses those elements well.

Paddles of Nuclear Gunnery by Donstathemonsta – Sega Genesis
If you take some one of the primordial elements of game design (“what if we made table tennis (ping-Pong if you will) but in a computer”) and cranked it up to its extreme, you would have Paddles of Nuclear Gunnery. No longer are you confined to strictly one axis of movement. You aren’t even restricted to your side of field. Instead you are are given a free range of movement and with it,points are no longer the main goal, but fuel for your titular gunnery that you must use to destroy the other paddle. Relentlessly fast-paced, and one of lesser seen multiplayer video games within the Indiepocalypse library.

Graveyard Dude by Rani Baker – NES
Box (or box-adjacent object) pushing is an essential part of gaming language. It places us in the space of the game and in puzzling out how navigate it, familiarizes us with it. Graveyard Dude is not about putting objects in their place so much as is about getting them out of your way. Within the ever-shifting goals, filling an impassable hole with a coffin is sometimes a means to an end (such as collecting more skulls) and sometimes it is the end. What you need to do to solve each screen feels familiar but with a fresh new approach. A new perspective is gained each time you set forth to clean up a new graveyard.

8 Bitty Games was featured in Indiepocalypse #1
The Shaking… Demo Reel was featured in Indiepocalypse #19
neMULEsis was featured in Indiepocalypse #21
Paddles of Nuclear Gunnery was featured in Indiepocalypse #32
Graveyard Dude was featured in Indiepocalypse #28