2021 Apr 26
February saw the 11th Alakajam 48 hour game jam, with the theme ANCIENT RUINS. My interpretation was to make a game for ANCIENT hardware, the orignal Nintendo Entertainment System 'NES'.
This was my first NES game, and squeezing it into 48 hours wasn't trivial. I used the very accessible and fun 8bitworkshop, a companion site to a 'how to make games for various obsolete platforms' book series. This is an 'online development environment' theoretically allowing for the entire game to be created in the browser. While the code can be written in this environment, and graphics can be edited with the crude but functional image tool, it's really not suited for working with media such as graphics or audio. I had some trouble setting up my own local NES development toolchain though, and this online environment is completely preconfigured and ready to go, which is very useful for game jams.
As for the game itself, the gameplay is quite basic, guide the player character around a partially flooded cave / ruins, toggling switches to open doors. The art is extremely minimal due to time constraints and much of the game world is quite empty and boring as a result. I'd planned on adding ambient critters who live in the world and pose no threat to the player, and more varied tilesets for the various areas of the ruins. In particular I wanted to give the ruins an 'ancient temple' feel with various shrines and symbology throughout.
I did manage to implement the main hazard of the game, patrolling water-snakes. The flooded areas often contain a snake to prevent the player from passing. Short distances of water can be crossed, but anything more than a few steps and the snake will catch the player. An in-game item allows the player to move faster than the snakes and access the protected parts of the map.