7 Strange Games Released After Their Consoles' Death
Your favorite consoles aren’t going to be around forever. Rumors of Nintendo halting the Wii U’s production and murmurings of an upgraded PlayStation 4 on the horizon have people talking about shortened console life cycles. This conversation doesn’t even include consoles like The Ouya, which was dead on arrival. After a console is long gone, and becomes a regular on pawn shop shelves, what strange games inhabit a dead system’s ecosystem? We explore a few of the strangest games to release on a console long after its console's expiration date.
Pier Solar (Sega Genesis, 2010)
Released on Sega Genesis with a limited run of cartridges, this throwback to the 16-bit golden era of RPGs was put together by a small group of developers at WaterMelon. Originally intended for the Sega CD, the homebrew project’s ambition ballooned, and development was switched over to the Sega Genesis. Because the game was being made for CD-ROMs, the transition to Sega Genesis cartridges meant that they had to jam all that content into a special cartridge with 64 megabits of memory, making it the most sizable cart for the system. Just in case you don’t want to lug out your Genesis from the dusty closet it’s probably resting in, you can play the HD rerelease of Pier Solar on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Ouya, and Dreamcast.
Super Russian Roulette (NES, 2017)
People bend over backwards to transform their retro titles into drinking games, but many quickly discover that it takes a lot of alcohol to make Mario Party fun. But what if you had a retro game specifically designed to be a drinking game? Super Russian Roulette is a successfully Kickstarted NES game that utilizes the console’s Zapper to engage in a deadly game of light-gun roulette. An 8-bit cowboy taunts you and your friends with nicknames, encourages you to chant, and participates in the gunslinging festivities. You can see more about the novel concept, and watch an excellent trailer on the game’s Kickstarter page.
Nightmare Busters (SNES, 2014)
Nightmare Busters is a two-player sidescrolling action game that was originally developed in 1994, but didn’t see the light of day until 2014. It has a bizarre art style with distinctly European depictions of trolls and leprechauns, and its 20-year delay makes the game stand out as a lost oddity. Nightmare Busters originally surfaced after a development build was uploaded to the internet in 2007, but an official licensed release can be purchased complete with an authentic-feeling SNES box.
Project Y (Sega Genesis, Release TBD)
The developers behind Pier Solar don’t seem interested in divorcing themselves from the deceased Sega Genesis. The team's next game is inspired by Streets of Rage and the system’s rich library of beat-em-ups. Project Y captures a throbbing cyberpunk aesthetic with its beautifully rendered pixel art depicting a post-apocalyptic metropolis. There have been no updates on its development since August 2014, but you can check in on the progress on WaterMelon’s site.
Gunlord (Neo Geo, Dreamcast, 2012)
German indie developer NG:DEV.TEAM took parts of Contra and Turrican for the Commodore 64 and pieced them together to make the 16-bit sidescrolling shooter Gunlord. While the game may not look impressive at first glance, enormous sprites stand out with their vibrancy and detail. NG:DEV.TEAM launched an Indiegogo campaign to bring the shooter to Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, but weren’t able to amass enough funds to see the project’s completion. Gunlord is currently available for Neo Geo and Dreamcast, and a port was in development for the failed Coleco Chameleon.
Duck Attack (Atari 2600, 2010)
Adventure for the Atari 2600 is one of the earliest examples of an action-adventure game, and Duck Attack started out as a ROM hack of the 1979 title. Duck Attack was eventually coded from scratch as its own title, and it’s surprisingly fun to play given the limitations of the system. You spend the game collecting radioactive eggs spurred from a mad scientist’s muddled creation of a mutant duck. This enormous duck pursues you relentlessly. If you have ever felt Nemesis breathing down your neck in Resident Evil 3, or had SA-X hunt you down in Metroid Fusion, then you will be familiar with the dread of Duck Attack.
Invasion of the Zombie Monsters (MSX,
ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, 2010)
A generic name like Invasion of the Zombie Monsters doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that this platformer on old PC hardware is going to be fun, but the game was well received when it released in 2010 and brims with charm. The chunky 8-bit graphics are complemented by the chiptune soundtrack by César Astudillo, who has composed numerous old PC titles. With end-level bosses, familiar 8-bit sound cues, and a twee barebones story, Invasion of the Zombie Monsters is like video game comfort food.
To read more about where consoles and games go to decay, check out our feature about the organizations fighting for game preservation here.