Coding remains the biggest barrier between day time dreaming video game producers and the real deal. So when products such as Super Mario Maker bridge over that barrier and let the common gamer creativity take over it usually results in something quite special.

Currently already fully funded in a mere 48 hours NESmaker is aiming to become to all-in-one solution to NES game development and all of this without the need for a single line of code being written by the user. The tool was actually developed accidentally and out of necessity; Quoting from the Kickstarter project page:

"A few years ago, while developing our NES game engine in the archaic 6502 Assembly language, our team (made up of mostly non-programmers) realized that we needed a much more efficient method for rapid prototyping and testing.  Instead of digging into the assembly every time we needed to make changes, we conceptualized wysiwyg* tools for common tasks that would output, reorganize, and manipulate the underlying code; developing screens, building animations, altering AI...things like that.  We recruited Josh Fallon, tool developer extraordinaire, to help realize these tools. Before we knew it, we had inadvertently created NESmaker."

NESMaker hopes to become the go to solution for aspiring NES developers by having all the required utilities needed to make a complete game presented in a user friendly graphical user interface for modern personal computers. Even better, it will support direct upload to flash cartridge which will enable you to test your creations directly on real hardware, an excellent compliment to testing games on emulators. Here are the currently implemented features:

  • Design sprite graphics and color palettes that are automatically constrained to the NES limitations. 
  • Create assets with properties and behaviors to give developing for the NES an object-oriented feel, similar to modern tools such as GameMaker and Unity.
  • Use a text editor to create text strings for NPCs or other narrative devices your game might have.
  • Create 'special screens' like start screens, end screens, menus, maps, and more.
  • Customize AI
  • Set initialization parameters (items obtained, player strength/defense,  starting screen, etc) for easy testing.
  • Use the base engine to create adventure games, basic RPGs, basic platformers, basic brawlers, and several other types of games.
  • Assemble with one click for testing in an emulator.
  • Flash to cartridge in one click for play on actual hardware.

The current stretch goals aim to implement game genre specific modules to the existing base program, adding further functionalities that will help in making beat'em ups and shmups. What do you think about this project? Would you love to make your own NES games? Do you have any game making experience on old hardware? Are you the next 8-bit Shigeru Miyamoto? Compile and run those answers on the comments section below.

* Acronym for "What You See Is What You Get".