Of all the writers that have ever lived, Jane Austen is arguably the most successful; there are few other people I can think of who have been dead for over 200 years yet retain such a rabid fanbase to this day. Of course since her novels are so old, they’re firmly in the public domain, which allows things like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies to happen, or a 90s movie that turns Emma Woodhouse into a Beverly Hills valley girl, or, in the case we’re discussing today, an 8-bit platformer starring Austen herself.
Presenting Jane Austen’s 8-Bit Adventure, created for the NES by Matthew Justice yet playable on modern platforms too. The setup is that Jane was simply walking around Victorian England one day when she suddenly discovered someone ripped up her books and the villains from her novels escaped. Now Jane has to hop, bop and slay them all in real life, using a particularly lethal pen quill as a weapon. If you assumed Jane wasn’t a violent person, well, shows how much you know.
Jane Austen’s 8-Bit Adventure made its public debut as one of the demos in the 2022 NESDev Competition. The demo is still up and can be played here. The trailer suggests the weird diagonal jumping has been fixed, but if the controls are the same, you attack with B, jump with A, ascend stairs by pushing Up while facing them, and throw your quill at flying enemies by holding Up and B. Gameplay is a lot like the original Castlevania only…y’know, you’re Jane Austen.
There’s a physical NES cart of Jane Austen’s 8-Bit Adventure that’s available now for $60, but you can also get it for far cheaper by buying it on Steam, itch.io or mobile platforms like iOS or Google Play.