*** RECENTLY UPDATED FAQ SECTION BELOW. This includes a question about the $50 reward tier as well as international shipping costs.**
When I was 7 years old (1987), my life WAS Nintendo. I wasn't just a passive consumer. Games like the Legend of Zelda compelled my young creativity.In the spring of 1987, a childhood friend and I painstakingly 'designed' a game called Mystic Searches. We designed everything from the manuals to the storyline to the concept art to map layouts and even music and sound effects (recorded with a crappy tape recorder and cheap casio keyboard). We sent Nintendo of America a letter asking them to send us, and I quote, "all the stuff to make our game". We waited all summer for the delivery truck to roll up with our 'space age computers', certain we'd intrinsically know how to use them. We were crushed when all we got was a form letter. The designs for that 8-bit world were lost to time. We grew up.
As a filmmaker, it occurred to me that this project would make for a great documentary. Yes, a documentary about the ambitious homebrew community is long overdue, but beyond that, this quest to *save this virtual world from oblivion* will perfectly illustrate the hero's journey. If our band of heroes prevails, this virtual world will be saved. If we fail, it will be lost to time. Each member of the proverbial party will have their own challenges to face in retrofitting their craft to something that will fit within the extremely limited capacity allowed by the NES hardware. Over the course of the project, our creatives will be interacting with a series of professionals in the gaming world and homebrew community. The growing list includes:
- Dain Anderson, owner of Nintendo Age
- Sivak, creator of Battlekid
- Brian Provinciano, creator of Retro City Rampage
- Joe "Memblers" Parsell, creator of Garage Cart
- Marc Ericksen, box and promo artist for actual NES games, including Strider, Tetris, and Megaman 2.
- Tommy Tallarico, head of Video Games Live
- David D'Angelo, programmer for Yacht Club Games and their recent release, Shovel Knight.
- John Lester from Collectorvision
- Rob McCallum, writer/director for the documentary Nintendo Quest
- Paul from InfiniteNesLives.com
I am incredibly humbled to be surrounded by such an amazing team for this project. Below is a bit of information about each member. Others are helping the project as well, and as this Kickstarter moves forward, I will be adding their stories to this list.
JOE GRANATO is a creative chameleon. He realizes his creative compulsions through the medium best suited to express them. His day job vocation is Videographer for Ringling College of Art and Design, and outside of work he is an established filmmaker and documentarian. He is a musician with national touring experience, playing with bands such as the Toadies and the Misfits, and has since settled down a bit to work more on film score composition and production. He is a writer and aspiring novelist with a working draft of his first novel recently reviewed by 21 time best selling fantasy author Piers Anthony. He is a game developer, and has been teaching game development in different educational environments for nine years. As the mastermind behind The New 8-bit Heroes, he is looking to synthesize all of these creative and technical skills into a single project which will pay homage to his lasting affinity for the 8-bit aesthetic and the NES era of gaming.
AUSTIN McKINLEY is an award-winning author, cartoonist and video producer. He was the 2011 grand prize winner of the national TVMe television treatment contest, and the Florida Film Network’s 2012 Operation: Logline contest, which facilitated the production of his third short film, “Quicklime.” His short film “Life in a Glass House” took home an honorable mention from the 2013 Boston Science Fiction Film Festival. From 2009-10 he was the lead writer and a production artist on "Cold War: Clambake," a text-based role playing game on Facebook. In 2012-13 he was the lead artist on "Haunts: The Manse Macabre," a crowd-funded turn-based RPG. Austin’s worked in comic books, local television, and created video segments for live performances with the Sarasota Orchestra. He wrote and illustrated Squareasota, a weekly cartoon in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for seven years. He lives and works in Sarasota.
Jherin Miller is an artist and designer, studying interaction design at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He was raised on the NES, and has been creating pixel art for 8 years. Jherin has been fascinated with videogames for the majority of his life. He’s inspired by games like The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy, as well as films from Studio Ghibli and Spike Jonze. Today he continues to hone his skills as both an artist and designer in order to bring life to his work. Jherin also runs a game development and pixel art blog at: Blackboxpixels.tumblr.com, where he shares his adventures in creating games and game art.
Born in England to British parents, then whisked away to Norway at the tender age of 3, Wilson spent half her childhood scaling snowy glaciers and the other half somewhere deep in her imagination. At age 18 she returned to her native England to study Criminology and Journalism at the University of Lincoln, reigniting an old passion for writing about the odd and unusual. In 2011 she settled in Florida with her husband Matt and baby daughter Olivia. Here she studied under the late NY bestselling author Scott Ciencin, with whom she co-authored the mystery series The Humbug Murders (Simon & Schuster Gallery, 2015) under the penname LJ Oliver. Wilson’s truest passion, however, lies in writing contemporary comic fantasy, with her novel Ascension Denied receiving wide critical acclaim. She has penned several short stories set in profound fantasy worlds as well as frequently publishing essays on metaphysics. Besides writing, Wilson studies theology, legend, myth and metaphysics, and is an ordained minister.
Justin Vachon grew up on video game magazines. Nintendo Power, EGM, CGW, Gamepro, OXM, PSM, Edge, the list goes on. They lined the shelves of his room and filled the void in between sessions of Zelda, Half Life and Metal Gear. From a young age there was an inherent desire to join the industry he loved. His passion for video games (and editorial design) eventually led to his pursuits as a designer. Justin attended Ringling College of Art + Design in Sarasota, Florida where he received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design. He now works for IGN in San Francisco as a product designer, creating design for everything from E3 to the desktop IGN experience. When he isn’t at IGN he runs his own gaming side project Press Start To Begin, a small digital magazine/gaming site with a focus on editorial design and industry coverage.
Jessey Foster grew up embedded in music, as his father was a producer and owned a studio on music row in Nashville. At a young age, he fell in love with orchestral music. He pursued a career in music by studying classical composition, and currently holds an associates in Music Composition from State College of Florida. He currently is continuing his studies at the University of Central Florida. Jessey has played and written in many genres of music, from rock and country to baroque and romantic and everything in-between. He has scored music for five films and looks forward to translating his skills to music for games.
Devin has spent the past two years working for different interactive digital agencies where she honed in on her Project Management skills . She also has experience as Director of Communications for a Futurist, producing a documentary on Burning Man that premiered at the Sarasota Film Festival, and planning and promoting events for creative organizations. Devin earned her degree in the Business of Art and Design at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL. When she's not at work, Devin crafts, paints, bikes, cooks, and gets serious on the dance floor, seriously.
Josh is an electrical and software engineer. While he has spent the majority of his professional life writing code and designing systems in higher level languages for the past 20 years, he has never strayed too far from the metal, working with various microcontrollers in his spare time. He is also an avid gamer. He started gaming back with the old Atari VCS and has continued up the Xbox one. He has modded quite a few of the consoles that he has enjoyed and customized many of them for friends.
Thomas Eyester is a towering giant with a knack for creativity and a love for all things animated. After 4 years of training in motion design at ringing college, he decided to venture fourth into the mysterious realm of game design. During the global game jam Thomas met Joe Granato and many other great creators of interactive video awesomeness. Realizing it was to *dangerous to go alone* he dove head first into realm of game design and the treasures it held.
While this is certainly a passion project, even passion projects have their expenses. Just like any film, real documentaries are expensive to create, starting with the legal fees and production insurance. There are travel expenses, and this documentary will, at the very least, take us to various locations across the US. Also, we have to account for being able to deliver you high quality rewards - that means very likely assembling cartridges by hand and testing each one, duplicating a run of blu-ray discs, pressing a run of soundtracks, and all of the other fun things we intend to make to reward our backers for their kindness. Incidentals include all of those unplanned things; replacement bulbs and batteries, gallons of coffee for coding-all nighters, etc. Anyone who has ever been on a production knows that they're always unpredictable...this is a small contingency budget for whatever form that unpredictability might take.
What are people saying about the New 8-bit Heroes project?
Some other great write ups around the web:
On All Gamers (France):
On Nintendo Enthusiast:
On Retro Dustbin:
On 8-bit Central:
On Game Info (Brazil):
El Blog Del Afro (Chile):
Risks and challenges
One challenge is making sure the game is localized for different countries. We are working diligently to test the game on different region systems.
Another is the element of time. To release this game to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the NES, we will have exactly 1 year development cycle from the day the Kickstarter ends. That is breakneck pace for NES development. However, we have developed good relationships with other successful NES developers in order to help us get through rough spots and meet this deadline.
Another challenge is trying to get this game to work on NES, emulators and clone systems, both NTSC and PAL. Our primary concern is an actual hardware NES...that is the vision for the project, after all, but we are going to work hard to make sure we are testing it along the way on every type of console that we can and posting reports on behavior.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)