In recent times, fan game development has become a bit more difficult than usual. It’s been under fire from lawyers and internet sites, with claims going around that it’s of questionable legality. It’s seen an increase in take downs from paranoid companies (like Nintendo and Konami). And with the recent track record of projects released to classics like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, many developers are now looking for an alternative.
And in most cases, that means turning to indie game development. Or just rebranding their projects so they’re not based on an existing IP.
So here are some examples of this. Here are some examples of fan game creators becoming professional game developers, starting with a small company you may not have heard about yet…
Despite actually knowing the fan games they’ve developed. Why? Because the folks at Fusion Gameworks were responsible for Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, Super Mario Fusion Revival and Mega Man Day in the Limelight. Yes, that Mushroom Kingdom Fusion:
The one where Mario (and a bunch of other characters) save the multiverse from the forces of evil in an absolutely gigantic mega crossover. That was these guys’ first (and most well known) project.
Since then though, they’ve slowly gotten tired of the fan game world, eventually culminating in their recent decision to stop making them altogether. That’s in part because of Nintendo’s recent fan project shut downs, and the team deciding Super Mario Fusion Revival (their most recent project) was too risky to continue in that form.
So they quit fan game development for the time being, and are working on a bunch of indie games with a similar gameplay style to their fan projects. I can’t say more than that yet, but they do look really good none the less.
And hey, talking of crossover fan game devs, they’re not the only ones to have moved to the indie scene…
Oh no, their ‘rivals’ in crossover fan game development are doing likewise. That’s because Exploding Rabbit are the creators of a game called Super Mario Bros Crossover, and they’ve also decided to move into the realm of indie games.
They’ve done this with a game called Glitch Strikers, a 2D platformer mixing various gameplay styles from the eight bit era. This project (previously titled Super Retro Squad) was announced back in 2012 and had a successful Kickstarter campaign to go with it, raising over $50,000 from more than 1,800 backers.
Unfortunately, that’s where the story kind of goes a bit wrong. Why? Because it turned out that $50,000 isn’t really all that much in the greater scheme of things, and the title’s development eventually collapsed on itself. This was not taken well by certain people online. Nor by certain gaming blogs, who accused them of ‘spending the money on a house’ or funding it with Super Mario Bros Crossover revenue.
Still, it’s back in development now, with a new trailer:
And more updates on their official site and YouTube channel. Hopefully this revitalised attempt at making the game will work out a bit better than their first one.
Either way, onto a slightly more experienced example of fan game dev turned pro now. Why more experienced?
Well, because they’ve actually made multiple games. Two full titles in a series called Last Legacy, and without having to raise any funding for either on Kickstarter.
But this wasn’t where they started off. Oh no, they started off with some fairly well known fan game projects beforehand, and those were what they build their name on. Said projects were a Super Mario 64 demake called Super Mario Sunshine 64:
Plus a more advanced one called Super Mario 63:
Both were damn impressive works in general, and their indie works were arguably just as good. So yeah, it seems making the move from fan games to indie games can be done successfully.
Ever since the MSU-1 patch was developed for the SNES, we’ve seen an upsurge in remastered SNES games with MP3 quality soundtracks. It’s happened for Super Metroid. It’s happened for Donkey Kong Country 1 to 3. And yes, it’s also happened for The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past. It’s a pretty standard, traditional hack now.
But this mod here on the other hand… that’s different. Why? Because it’s not ‘improving’ the soundtrack.
It’s making it simpler and more retro styled! Yep, thanks to a modder called thepsynergist, A Link to the Past has now been redone so its soundtrack is in eight bit style instead, to take advantage of his Game Boy Color style Zelda music. Here’s a trailer showing the hacked game in action:
As well as some samples of the music included within:
On an artistic level, it’s an interesting little project really. The songs have been reduced in quality without sounding terrible and yes, they do sound like they’re from a really ambitious GBC game.
On a practical level though? Eh, I’m not really sure I get the idea behind this. It’s creative yes, but it also just feels like missing the point. Like you’re making the game worse just to prove it can be done. Just strikes me as very strange in general.
But hey, that’s just my opinion on the matter. What about you? Do you like this redone Link to the Past mod with the eight bit soundtrack? Or do you think ‘demaking’ a game’s music for a mod like this is a less than brilliant idea?
A while ago, Nintendo held a presentation about The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild at the Game Developers Conference 2017. At some event, they mentioned a 2D prototype of the game similar to the original Zelda in terms of its art style.
Unfortunately for those who want to try it, said prototype is unlikely to ever be released. Sad I know, but this is Nintendo. They’re not exactly a company known for releasing beta versions of games on the eShop. Or heck, anywhere else for that matter.
But there’s good news ahead. Why? Because the fans are doing what Nintendon’t here! Indeed, game developer WinterDrake is making a 2D Breath of the Wild style. Named Breath of the NES, it literally reimagines some of the new game’s mechanics in the style of the NES game. Like the prototype Nintendo showed off at GDC.
So here’s a trailer showing it in action:
As well as a page where you can download it:
Plus the Twitter account with updates from the game’s creator WinterDrake.
It’s a pretty good game really, which does a decent job of marrying the Zelda 1 aesthetic with some of the basic mechanics found in Breath of the Wild.
However, here’s the problem. It’s a Nintendo fan game.
In a year where Nintendo fan games do not have a great track record. Where Nintendo’s lawyers see projects like this as a threat. Heck, it’s so bad Fusion Gameworks don’t make fan games any more! As in, the MKF devs think it’s too risky!
And sad to say, that’s probably going to doom this title long before it sees a final release. I mean, look at AM2R. Look at Pokemon Uranium or No Mario’s Sky. Basically, look at all these recent games. Almost every big project here has been hit by Nintendo’s legal team. Like a near guaranteed occurrence when a fan game gets popular.
Or when people hype the hell out of a new fan game. Which unfortunately for us, they’re already doing since Kotaku, Polygon, Gamespot, Engadget and even the Daily Express have written articles about it. Basically, one guy’s free fan tribute announced on the Zelda subreddit has now blown up online and is now right in the crosshairs of Nintendo’s overly paranoid lawyers.
So yeah, enjoy the game while you can guys. Because with the internet being the way it is (and news sites writing all these articles about it), I suspect it won’t be online for very long.
For the last day or so, ROM Hacking.net has been available online. A main hub for the modding community with thousands of hacks of classic games available to download, the site is basically seen as the centre of the whole community. It’s a site no one expected to go down, and people haven’t taken it well as a result.
As a result, people are now looking on social media sites for answers. Where it seems there are two pages talking about the site’s closure. These pages (like the one on Twitter) imply that Nintendo was behind the whole thing. That thanks to the site hosting mods of classic Nintendo games, the company was threatening to sue the site and its creator pulled it down as a result.
It’s a typical yet scary message. The kind we saw with AM2R and Pokemon Uranium, as well as various other projects since.
But here’s the thing.
It’s also completely false. Why?
Because ROM Hacking.net does not use social networking sites at the moment. There are no links to them on its site, the admin has said he has no interest in the services and the only off site ‘discussion’ portals mentioned are via IRC and Discord.
In other words? The social media pages for ROM Hacking.net are fakes. They’re hoaxes by trolls to trick the unwary, as mentioned in the official IRC chat.
Instead, the actual reasons for the site’s downtime are likely a lot more standard. Like say, the site’s admin being snowed in. Or him having forgotten to pay the hosting bills this month. In other words, typical admin related errors on websites.
The fake ‘legal threats’ posts on the other hand are (apparently) by trolls from another popular ROM hacking website. One that’s on bad terms with the ROM Hacking.net community and wants to make the situation look as hopeless as possible. It’s like the whole Jason Allen thing we had going on a while back. Except you know, with the affected fan game host being a fake rather than the ‘lawyer’.
So yeah, don’t believe these pages. They’re not affiliated with the site, and have no insight into why it’s currently unavailable. Instead, check out the site’s Discord here and IRC chat room here. That’s where you’ll find real updates about the site’s situation.
Just a quick warning message, to avoid fake news getting spread any further.
It’s been on the cards for a while, and we’ve hinted about it in the past already. But now, it’s finally happened. Gaming Reinvented and Gaming Latest have now merged.
So what does this mean for you as a user?
Well, a few things really. Firstly, the forums will now entirely reside on the Gaming Latest domain rather than the Gaming Reinvented one. They’ll still have the same content and many of the same staff (like myself), but the domain and hosting will be under Demon Skeith’s control instead of mine.
And there’s a good reason I’ve done that. Namely, I don’t have the time and energy to keep running a large gaming forum.
I mean sure, I can run a smaller one. Something like Wario Forums where the amount of daily effort needed for generating content and keeping out troublemakers is greatly reduced. That’s well within my capabilities at the moment.
But for a big, nearly big board level community with hundreds of thousands of posts and many thousands of members, that’s just a bit too much for me at the moment. I’ve got a startup to get going, events to attend, news to post on this site and marketing to do on social media. Adding ‘large community management’ to the list is just too much stress.
So I’ve decided that we can now focus on what we do best instead. I can worry how to run a great news site, whereas Demon Skeith can worry about the general forum management aspect. It’s a simple deal really.
As well as one that will help the site immensely. Why?
Because now Gaming Reinvented is the official news site for Gaming Latest too. It’s where members are encouraged to submit gaming content in the form of articles, it’s going to have various articles posted to the forums via RSS, etc. This will bring more attention to our platform, and allow for fun contests like this one.
Where you’re rewarded with eShop/Steam/Xbox Live credits for writing the best articles for the site.
So yeah, the merge is now active. However, that’s not the only thing that is here.
Oh no, we’ve also been working on improving another feature. What is it?
The comments system.
Yeah, as you can tell, we’re now running a new comments system with far better features than before. This system (called wpDiscuz) basically acts like a self hosted version of Disqus.
Except you know, without the annoying forced ads. Or recommended articles shoved at the end.
And it has tons of cool features. For example, you can now upvote and downvote comments like on Reddit:
Subscribe to comments on a per article basis, with replies sent through email.
As well as other additions we’ll be adding on soon. Like the ability to use @ tags like on Twitter, or the ability to post videos and other media directly in the comments section. It’s much more stylish and useful than the bland old WordPress default, and will hopefully make commenting less of a chore in general.
So enjoy the site everyone! It’s now aligned with a new gaming community, has a new comments system and will have numerous other neat features in future as well.