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Retro Revolution: Drunk On Homebrews

Posted on Friday, July 20 @ 14:09:24 PST by KevinS

People have been creating their own games for their favorite platforms for years. Old computers used to come with a breakdown of their preferred flavor of programming language (usually BASIC) that players and aspiring developers could access to start planning out personal projects. There's an entire generation out there of developers who got their start from Commodore 64 manuals, programming Atari BASIC on their Atari 400/800 and fiddling with their Amigas to find cooler ways to make controllable rainbow colors.

I know it's a stronger machine than that, but it's known for its GUI and the colors were preeeeeeetty. That, and I've only ever met two or three people that have owned an Amiga.

With hardware reaching inexpensive price points and devoted gamers reaching career ages, the past few years have helped us to rediscover the roots of our industry and experience true nostalgia. And what's awesome about that? Those gamers are developing new materials based on the roots that made many of us gamers in the first place. And they're doing it cheaply… in some instances, the games are downloadable for free.

I'm not focusing on the indie games market that's been growing in notoriety over the past few years (they're awesome too, by the way), but on the retro-game homebrew development scene. Individuals are making their own games for retro consoles, some to play with their fellow retro-loving friends, and others just to experience a unique (and impossible) moment from the good ol' days. It's easy to find tech documents for the old hardware of a programmer's choice, forums dedicated to talking shop, and even websites that sell new cartridge shells, circuit boards, and anything else an aspiring retro-dev could ask for.

Have you been dreaming of a brand-spakin'-new NES game? There's always Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril.  More in an old arcade mood? Medieval Mayhem for the 2600 might scratch that itch. Oh, and then there's Mighty Mighty Missile for Sega CD, Beggar Prince for Sega Genesis, Edge Grinder for Commodore 64, a plethora of new titles for various Atari platforms.

Those systems ain't obsolete, people! There are dedicated nerds putting out some kickass new stuff. And, like other indie devs, they deserve support. So if you find yourself with a few bucks and a hankering for some new-classic game time, I'd suggest checking out a few new-old-school games!

And if you've got any suggestions on any I should look into, I look forward to hearing about 'em!

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