There are plenty of homebrew games out there to be found, more than I have time to cover. So here is a look at some recent efforts to reward collectors of old hardware or push the limits on said hardware as to what they can do:
Quake II Engine (Atari Falcon) – For a while now, coder Douglas Little has been showing off his skills at pushing stock Atari Falcon hardware to the limits. The Falcon was Atari Corp’s last effort to compete in the personal computer space and it was discontinued before the Jaguar was. It wasn’t designed as a game machine and as such isn’t known for game titles but anything with the name Atari on it is bound to get something along these lines.
I find efforts like these most interesting in that they do not seek to use additional hardware that is available, but is seeing how far the boundaries can be pushed on the original vanilla design. At first I thought it was just Quake but realizing that it is Quake II comes off as much more impressive given the 16Mhz hardware.
The same coder also produced a nice looking port of the Doom engine to the hardware which I will include here.
Dragon’s Lair (C64) – Dragon’s Lair has been on pretty much everything but for low power platforms that could not handle the actual Laserdisc version, often other variations were created to make it happen. That is not the case with the effort for the Commodore 64, which is an experiment to port the laserdisc version to the hardware. It is on the opposite end of the spectrum as far as running something on vanilla hardware; to make it work a 16MB REU memory extension is needed but still this is cool to see (on a tangent, the Atari 7800 had a planned LaserDisc expansion player, one has to wonder how close DL might have been on that hardware to what we see here)
Metroid: Rouge Dawn (NES) – The desire for Nintendo fans to have more Metroid continues on and spills into the homebrew space. Hence this “prequel” to Metroid. It is designed for NES hardware although it is not using vanilla stock hardware – the game uses an Mapping chip to improve the look and abilities of what can be done (Video says MMC1, Nintendolife says MMC3; both were common enough that one could say it is original hardware but this title is not accomplished without that extra boost. Which is fine, just not as impressive).
The problem with making something that falls into the area of a well-known IP like this, even if apocryphal, is that you are going to make comparisons no matter what and what I notice above is the level design is distinctly not planned like a Metroid game – giving you those particular items up-front and in that quantity is a little odd. Metroid games are all about teasing you with locked paths that you have to wait to get to after exploring a bit and finding item per item. That said, if you are into NES homebrew then is sure to be a nice fit. Assuming that Nintendo doesn’t shut it down…
Bug Hunt (Sega Master System) – Here is an interesting twist on simple single screen frog-eats-bug games. It involves a creature that is pretty much Yoshi, trying to get as many bugs in a gulp without eating a bee or hornet
Abyssonaut (C64) – New scrolling shooter game for the Commodore 64, looks like solid fun and it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s IP in anyway so that’s a bonus. Admittely I find scrolling games that go left to feel odd.
Let’s end it with a new tech demo for the Atari Jaguar, Cloudy with a Chance of Metaballs. What makes this one special is that it was coded in BASIC – I am not aware of any commercial release on the Jaguar to use BASIC, even homebrews that has been a very rare thing:
That’s all for now!