20 years ago, the Sega Genesis (known outside of the U.S. as the Mega Drive) officially bit the dust, clearing the way for new consoles like the beloved Sega Saturn and the worldwide hit, the Sega Dreamcast. While hard-core fans have been fixing old consoles to play classic games on them for years, it looks like -- at least for fans who have preserved or cleaned up their Genesis systems -- the dawn of a new day has arrived. Tanglewood, a new game by UK-based Big Evil Studios, is a game made specifically for the Genesis with the same programming techniques and coding styles that were used in classic 90's video games. The game stars an adorable fox and functions as a side-scrolling RPG, like to many of the Sega Genesis' best games.
Speaking with the BBC, developer Matt Phillips explained how the whole thing came to fruition. In the beginning, Tanglewood wasn't even really Tanglewood -- it was a challenge that Phillips took on after getting bored with modern-day game development. The game itself was funded through Kickstarter last year. "I like to work with the restrictions of the system itself rather than making it for the modern PC on a modern engine. I've done a lot of that in my lifestime, and I'm getting a bit bored of that, so..." insert one bright-eyed, bushy-tailed fox.
Phillips built his own kit to development game that runs on a Mega CD, with the entire rig powered by a Windows 95 computer. "One of the biggest problems I face is none of this old equipment works very well anymore, I've had more repairs on this thing can I can count," said Phillips. "I started [development by] writing simple games like Pong and Tetris just to get my head around how to code something this old and it eventually came together into a small platform game."
The developer says he contacted a company in China to build the game's cartridges and a "guy in Canada" to build its printed circuit board. "It's got a very small memory, its got a very small ROM. I have to squeeze everything in with compression techniques and some very hard optimisation."
Tanglewood is currently only available for the Genesis, but Phillips apparently has plans to bring it to the PC, and to keep developing games for the Genesis itself. "It has taken a bit of my sanity with it," he joked. "But I'm pretty sure I'm gonna do this all over again next time."
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