Introducing: the TIGForums Bootleg Demakes competition. To explain:

The term “demake” was most likely coined by one Phil Fish, to describe a remake of a game on older-generation hardware (or, more likely, a remake that is made to look as though it were running on older-generation hardware). The most obvious demake is, of course, the 3d-to-2d demake.

Got it?

And to explain their notion of “bootleg”:

The term “bootleg” generally means “unauthorized or unlicensed copy.” For this competition it means that you cannot use any trademarked names or ripped materials. Everything must be 100% your own (although obviously inspired). Think “Cogs of Conflict,” “Master Chef,” “Great Giana Sisters,” etc. It is your decision how far to take the bootlegging, but under no circumstances can you violate someone’s intellectual property.

Sounds good so far. What blew me away was the quality of the responses in the month since the competition began.

Here is the post summarising every game that has some form of playable code. As you can see, there’s a lot, and they’re all worth a dig – some are funny, some are clever remakes, some are remarkable technically, and some play with the original game concept.

Highlights include:

But three really stand out for me.

The first is Super 3D Portals 6, a Portal demake for the Atari 2600. Not “2600-style”; this is actual code that will run on 2600 emulators, and thus should do so on a real 2600 as well. Outstanding for its commitment to retro-dom. (Note: I believe this was completed before the competition was launched, but it’s so awesome I don’t care).

The other has been linked up in many places, and is just remarkably thorough: Soundless Mountain II. The thread is long, and covers a lot of development, but the NES-style survival horror has some impressive touches and is clearly a real labour of love.

I think my favourite demake in the competition turned out to be STACKER: Nuclear Scavenger. The title screen makes it look like a STALKER demake, but in fact it’s so much more: it takes Diablo II-style inventory management, adds a Russian twist… and turns into a Tetris-clone. The more I think about it, the more it makes me smile. Gaming reduced to inventory management. Fantastic.

Anyhow, I thought all the games in the competition deserved bringing to people’s attention, and so that’s what I’ve done. I’m off to sit in a tent for a few days. Back soon!

1 comment on this entry.