Tags: Game Boy Gamedev

My current project is writing a new game compatible with Nintendo's original Game Boy console, but with support and optimisations for the later Game Boy Color.

I'm aiming to have the game be played on real, physical consoles. So while emulation will of course be an option, the design is informed by the limitations and differences of using a handheld with an unlit screen:

  • Gameplay sessions will ideally take between five and ten minutes to complete to limit having to look at the unlit screen for long periods, or having to worry that your battery is running low at a critical time.
  • Roguelike 'start over each time you play' style gameplay to avoid having to include expensive save-game support in physical cartridges.
  • Instead of tracking progress with saves, completing goals in the game gives the player secret information that will allow additional gameplay options on the next playthrough. More on this in a later post.
  • Turn based gameplay to allow the player to safely look away from the screen without instantly being murdered by monsters. Important if you're playing on a handheld outside or in a busy area.

Game prototype running on Game Boy Color console

The game is currently a barebones prototype with (very) placeholder graphics, so hasn't been very exciting to look at. When I reach the initial art pass in the coming weeks, there will be lots of sprites to look at, and doubtless some hints about the setting and combat implementation for roguelike purists to be angry about.