I've been considering blogging about this subject for a little while now. And I suppose in a sense I sort of have in that I've already blogged about one of the games I'm going to mention here. I think what finally pushed me over the edge was seeing Kyle Hilliard's post titled, "Retail Special Edition Of Gone Home Now Available In SNES-Themed Box". You can read it here. When I saw the box, I loved it. I like Gone Home and I always get a kick out of seeing modern games get a throwback box or cartridge.

When I think about some of the games I've played or watched this year, quite a few of them are clearly inspired by the classics. You may recall my blog not all that long ago about Super Time Force. A great little indie game that just released back in May, but full of design elements reminiscent of games from the 80s.

Super Time Force Ultra is coming to Steam this summer! We'll be bringing STFU to PC players in the not-so-distant future, and while we're at it, we're adding some very cool (but presently very secret) stuff to our crazy time-traveling game!

Hah. How clever.

Well, tonight I played yet another fine example of a new game you would swear is a game from the late 80s - early 90s when Nintendo and Sega were battling back and forth. This game is barely a week old, but feels like its 20 years old (but in a good way). Maybe you've heard of it. A little game called...

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight is a 2014 action platformer video game developed and published by independent developer Yacht Club Games for the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, and personal computer platforms. The game was released worldwide on June 26, 2014.

Shovel Knight is a 2D side-scrolling platform game. The game features 8-bit graphics designed to resemble classic games. While the color scheme used adheres to the Nintendo Entertainment System's original color palette, the game features modern graphical techniques, such as parallax scrolling. The player controls the eponymous Shovel Knight character, who wields a sharpened shovel that is used to attack enemies, destroy barriers, and dig up treasures. As an homage to the game DuckTales, the player can use the shovel as a pogo stick to bounce off obstacles or the heads of enemies.

I'm no Nintendo or Wii U expert, so I'm not ashamed to say I don't know how active the independent developer community is on the Wii U...how many of them partner with Nintendo...but I was surprised to learn this game was created by independent developer - Yacht Club Games.

So, I've played it for about an hour and I'm happy to say...it's awesome. It's funny; it's fun; and it's scratches that nostalgic itch many of us get from time to time. Everything about the game is polished and the attention to detail to recreate that retro feel is unmatched. I wonder what it's like developing a game like this on platforms that are far more powerful. Easier? Harder? I don't know...

Everything about the game is a joy to experience. The story is intriguing, the dialogue is entertaining, the graphics are wonderful and the sounds...the sounds are like stepping into an arcade, or sliding the cartridge into your NES and pushing it down into the system.

Shovel Knight features a chiptune soundtrack composed by Jake Kaufman, with two contributions by Mega Man composer, Manami Matsumae. The game's soundtrack was released for download via Bandcamp on the same day as the game, as was a separate album featuring various arranged versions of the game's tracks.

The Wii-U continues to impress. After an abnormally long drought of no games, it's refreshing to continue seeing so many amazing games  being released for this beleaguered platform, especially when they harken back to the days when Nintendo was on top of the world.