Retro games engine


When we used 8-bit computers in the 1980s, it seemed like every upgrade to the hardware was a step away from the blocky sprites and 3-channel music that defined the era. The assumption at the time was that future technologies would hide the pixels and the number of channels, making games and computing inextinguishable from the real world around us. This has happened, to some extent. It's now almost impossible to tell if CGI is being used in films, and even games are pushing the boundaries of realism. But what has been most surprising is that the 80s-era sprites and 3-channel music have not just survived into this future, they're flourishing, and it's not because of nostalgia either. It seems that developing games within the approximate limitations of 8-bit hardware brings out playability and design refinements that aren't possible with the infinite potential of 3D hardware.

With LIKO-12, you can play a lovely retro-themed game and then press Escape to edit its code, sprites, and levels from the integrated editor.

This is why LIKO-12 is such a great idea. It works like an emulator of old 8-bit hardware, except that the hardware it's emulating is fictional. Written entirely with the Lua scripting engine, LIKO-12 itself has been built to be its own fantasy retro games platform, letting you create and play games a little like games were created and played in the 1980s – only without the 20-minute cassette loading time (or without waiting for the shared television to become available). When first launched, you're presented with a lovely pixelated text interpreter, much like an Atari 800 or Commodore 64. You can get quickly started by typing install_demos and cd Demos. Type dir to see the demos that have been installed and then load followed by run to play with one. What's amazing is that after quitting, pressing Escape takes you to an integrated editor, from where you can edit the code, the graphics, and the maps to create your own awesome 8-bit games!

Project Website

2D platform game

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