Nintendo recently announced that they will be selling a new miniature NES system with 30 built-in games and an HDMI out port for modern tvs for the price of $60. However, it seems as if this new console will not be able to actually play NES cartridges which is a damn shame as, believe it or not, some developers are still making games for the original Nintendo Entertainment System! That is absolutely correct, despite the system being released over three decades ago, some brave developers are still releasing new games on the console (including an almost 100% complete demake of Final Fantasy. So, this editorial will cover three notable homebrew games that were made (or in one case, being made) in the 2010’s specifically for the original NES.
First on the bracket is Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril which was released in 2010 and developed by Sivak Games, was interestingly enough only available through buying an NES cartridge instead of also being available online to download. According to his own website, Sivak was inspired by a 2007 release of Sudoku on the NES which happened to cross over with him learning more about assembly programming, leading him to start developing Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril. The game is very similar to I Wanna Be The Guy due to its punishing difficulty and trail-and-error based gameplay with all hazards being insta-kill, although in this case the protagonist controlled much more like a “Mega Man” game than a “Super Mario” game. The game also includes a pretty hefty amount of content with over 500 individual rooms and 30 different enemy types and a boss at the end of every stage. While Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is still nice to see a game with so much work put into it for what could be considered a very niche marketplace. Since then, Sivak Games has made Battle Kid 2: Mountain of Torment which was released in 2012, and the developer hopes to make a third entry in the future if time permits.
Some people make mistakes, others have situations, but this game is neither, as it is The Incident. Honestly there was no better way to introduce that game, but it was released last year for the NES and is actually the 7th title released by the developer Kevin Hanley of K-Han Games that has been exclusively on the NES. Other titles by Hanley include Ultimate Frogger Champion, Larry and the Long Look for a Luscious Lover, E.T., along with a 4 pack of his older titles into one NES cartridge for those who did not buy them the first time around. Hanley has actually been developing NES games since 2009 after a period of unemployment and looking at some tutorials on NintendoAge.com. As for the game itself, The Incident is a block-pushing game with 100 levels that takes a page from another title known as Sokoban. What is spectacular about The Incident though is that the game is also programmed with auto-solve solutions for if the player is having a hard time with a particular puzzle, and there is also a level builder with import/export functions which is pretty unheard of for NES games.
Now to set the stage for the final game, picture the player alone on a dark night without anyone to love. Depressing thoughts begin to waft through their mind like the scent of peppermint at Disneyland. They do not own a gun because they could never afford one due to their tremendous spending on Babybel cheese. Lord knows why they spent so much money on grocery store cheese but it is too late to undo that series of mistakes. Instead, the player puts an NES Zapper to the temple of their brain, and faces a cowboy dead in the eyes. Wait, now there is a cowboy involved, something has changed. That might be because the player is actually playing Super Russian Roulette, a game that was recently funded on Kickstarter that is literally just Russian Roulette but on the NES against a cowboy and up to two other friends. The player can choose to shoot or just spin the chamber for the next player, but what really makes the game is the randomized cowboy that will have different appearances and personalities each instance of play. That along with actual human speech, albeit it greatly compressed, make Super Russian Roulette, a charming and inventive game that might make players want to pull out their NES from the garage and boot it up once again.