One of the coolest Kickstarter products we’ve ever seen is for NES Maker, a PC software development kit that will allow anyone to build their own 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System games from nothing. NES Maker uses GUI menus and graphics editors instead of code, and yet it’s surprisingly robust in options and features even at this early stage.
“Early” being in terms of introduction to the general public. NES Maker’s creators started building the game creator years ago, out of necessity while coding Mystic Searches, their homebrew NES game. You may have noticed most indie NES titles happen to be hacks of popular games. This is because the NES only understands Assembly language, a primitive and cumbersome way to program. Most coding today is done with plain English words, but Assembly requires an involved knowledge of the very ones and zeroes the game is made up of. Not many people have the patience for it, especially when no job today requires it.
Now the campaign is entering its final five days, and they’ve sweetened the pot. New stretch goals have been added…when the campaign reaches $200,000, they’ll throw in a malleable version of Troll Burner, the demo game they created in eight days with NES Maker (see above). Wannabe game makers will be able to have fun right away by rearranging and swapping around trolls and coming up with their own enemies and hazard placement.
If you make a pledge tier and add $56 to the amount, you’ll gain Beta Tester access. This is huge because beta testing was originally walled off at the $256 amount. Now for as little as $92 total, you can mess with the game as early as Memorial Day (the planned 1.0 release to the general public is in August).
Adding $40 to your pledge gets you this lovely NES Maker strategy guide. Amount of content TBD. “The more people that order this add on, the more intricate we can make it!”
But the highest new goal, the one that’s so involved it’ll take the form of a DLC patch after release…..is Memory Mapping, set at the mark of $256,000. Since the NES is limited in storage, you’ll only have a fixed amount of room for all your data — graphics, music, physics, etc. Currently, this amount is set in stone, but they’re considering an extra feature that will allow you to take memory from one element and move it to another (example: a cutscene-heavy game could steal some data from music, etc). Memory Mapping is crucial for a lot of the ideas backers are throwing around. They need all the help they can get to reach this goal!
No matter which of the goals are reached, NES Maker could lead to a new explosion in homebrew development, and we can’t wait to get out hands on it. You have until February 12 to make a pledge and guarantee your own copy.