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For those who don't recognize the strange grey box in the photo, that's an NES, a Nintendo Entertainment System. Easily one of the most influential consoles in gaming history, this drab looking box dragged gaming out of being considered a fad into a booming industry. The system itself is a little over 30 years old now (yeesh) but even so there are still people breathing new life into it. Enter Andrew Reitano, an electronic engineer with a passion for tinkering and his new NES game Super Russian Roulette.
Initially, this game was just something Andrew did as a test of the NES's limits and his own programming skill. He wanted to make a game using the now infamous zapper and he wanted to do it well. With some tinkering and input from his friends, the result was a party game that was immersive and a bit on the dark side. The programming work that went into this was no small feat. The NES cartridge may have been innovative for its time, but it doesn't have as much room as one might think.
Andrew took what could be seen as limitations and saw them as a creative challenge. What followed next was a game with AI, a fully voiced cowboy, and a lot of fun. As you spin the cylinder, put the zapper to your head, and pull the trigger, the cowboy goads you on. He slings campy insults at you and it really feels as though he's at the table with you being a complete dick. People were immensely receptive to this design as Andrew himself attests.
All of the (many many) late nights I spent programming were instantly validated the first time I witnessed the cowboy turn friends against each other, slamming their fists against the table and chanting in unison with a fictional character. I've heard the cowboy-assigned nicknames stick with people long after the game is over, and the players looked at each other as much as they looked at the screen which really is something magical.
Who knew Russian Roulette could bring people closer together? The story would have ended there if not for the fact that Andrew took the game to Fantastic Arcade 2015 where it won the Audience Choice Award.
Super Russian Roulette won the Fantastic Arcade 2015 Audience Choice Award. It was a huge honor to be considered alongside some of the best indie games of the year. So I started thinking that the audience for SRR might be bigger than I thought.
A few days ago, he started his Kickstarter campaign and it's garnered $34,000 in funding, which is $14,000 over his $20,000 goal. Honestly, it's very surprising and heartening to know that there are still people out there with working NES systems that they still use. In a world of high octane games and shiny graphics, it's nice to go back to the old school every now and again. If you want a copy of this game, I suggest going over to his Kickstarter. Don't worry if you're international, as of February 21st he announced that the game will be available both in NTSC and PAL.
What's your favorite NES game?