This week’s Kickstarter is one of the most unique projects I have seen. Not only are they creating an 8-bit game, they are doing so ON AN NES CARTRIDGE! However, they did not stop there. In addition to the 8-bit game, they are creating a current generation downloadable game that will share data with the 8-bit cartridge. We talked with Mystic Searches‘ creator Joe Granato about this ambitious project.
Digital Nerdage: Please tell us about yourself.
Joe Granato: I grew up in a small town in central New York, and was exactly the right age to have properly enjoyed the NES era of gaming. I was in my formative years when games like Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, and so many others were first introduced. To me, these games weren’t just passive, entertaining ways to pass the time. They prompted me to want to be a creative. Now as a writer, filmmaker, game developer, and musician, I can attribute the impetus for most of my creative success to the time spent in those 8-bit worlds.
DN: Tell us about the game you are Kickstarting.
JG: The game is Mystic Searches. In a few sentences, this is the description:
Mystic Searches is a cross-platform fantasy adventure game. Taking cues from the imagination of a child growing up in the NES era, the NES component of the game is reminiscent of the original Legend of Zelda, Crystalis, and Star Tropics.
In this open world journey through a unique and compelling mythology, the young vagabond Julian will strive to undo the deceptive actions of the rogue sorceress, Amriya, and restore control of the supernatural elements to the Mystics before the imbalance leads to the catastrophic end of the natural world.
The development team behind the game has pooled our collective love for the 8-bit aesthetic, and has tried to hone and combine some our favorite experiences in NES worlds. This includes open world exploration and hidden secrets, diverse methods of play (including some platforming, as the game is 2.5d and the character can jump despite it being a top down perspective), interesting puzzles, and many other things.
DN: What inspired you to make Mystic Searches?
JG: When I was eight years old, I created design documents for my opus, Mystic Searches. I actually sent them to Nintendo. Like so many others my age, the plans were returned to me with a simple form letter. I was crushed. The ideas were filed away and forgotten. I grew up and found other passions. And then not long ago while visiting my parents in upstate New York, I stumbled upon them. I was instantly transported to a simpler time. With sort of a chuckle, I realized I could actually make the game a reality now, and wondered if I could actually make it for the NES as my 8 year old self had intended. And thus, the journey to make Mystic Searches was born.
DN: Whats your favorite reward?
JG: Well, for those that don’t know the full scope of the project, it’s not JUST a NES game. Yes, it’s a NES game cartridge that will work on actual hardware. But also, we are making a modern game playable on PC/Mac and with the intent to port it to consoles. We have developed a peripheral that will allow players to share data between the NES game and the modern game…so for instance, if you unlock an ability in one game, it becomes available in the world of the other. I think this is a really neat way to bridge the generations of gamers, and is a very unique aspect of this project.
DN: What was your favorite game as a kid and why?
JG: I love a good action RPG. I like the pace of an action game, but love connecting with the characters of an RPG, so games that can blend the two seamlessly tend to be the ones that make the top of my personal list.
This is one of my favorite projects I have seen on Kickstarter and one of the most creative as well. I never would have expected to see any one trying to create an NES cartridge in this day and age, but combined with the current generation “data-sharing” this is something unique that should continue to be encouraged. A big thanks to Joe for taking time to talk with us. If you would like to back the project, Mystic Searches can be found n Kickstarter here.
P.S. A big thanks to my cohort Corey for doing the leg work on this one.