By Josh Speer / March 30th, 2020
If you know anything about oprainfall, you know we love niche and indie projects that speak to us. And since I personally love crowdfunding and retro, this particular game spoke to me. It’s called Trophy, and was developed by Gradual Games. It’s being published by 6502 Collective, and it looks like the love child of several NES classics, but most notably reminds me stylistically of Mega Man. But perhaps the most interesting part about Trophy is that it’s a new, crowdfunded project being made for the NES.
Though I haven’t delved into the phenomenon in earnest, the theme of making new games for old systems is pretty fascinating. Nostalgia can be a heavy, heavy drug, and Trophy looks to give fans of NES platformers their latest fix. If you’re interested in more details and specifics, just keep reading for more. And keep in mind you still have a few days left to contribute funds to the game and help nab some cool physical rewards.
Trophy is a brand-new action platformer for the original Nintendo (NES). It is a love letter to such iconic games as the Mega Man series and Capcom Disney titles, featuring colorful characters, vibrant backgrounds, and giant bosses. The game features the classic movements of running, jumping, and shooting, and strives for a pure platforming experience, unhampered by excessive power-ups or useless abilities. Although the emphasis is on purity, Trophy features advanced technical features which have rarely been used in homebrew titles.
Trophy was programmed from the ground up in 6502 assembly language by Derek Andrews of Gradual Games over the course of three years. He also did the music for the game, with Laurie Andrews drawing the graphics. Andrews has been programming for the NES for a decade, and Trophy is Gradual Games’ third release, following on the heels of Nomolos: Storming the Catsle (2012) and The Legends of Owlia (2016). The character of Trophy began life in Derek’s mind when he was 12 years old, as a simple drawing of a robot with a head that looked a bit like a trophy cup. Twenty-plus years later and the world is able to see his childhood idea come true.
Trophy is being published by The 6502 Collective, a joint effort between Retrotainment Games (Haunted: Halloween ’85, Haunted: Halloween ’86, Full Quiet) and Sole Goose Productions (Swords and Runes, 0-to-X, Spook-o’-tron). Our goal is to help support developers in making new games for the NES through publishing and distribution (Rollie, Trophy, Candelabra: Estoscerro), in addition to undertaking commission-based programming projects (The Convention Quest, Zao: Reformat/Reboot).
On the far fringes of space a peaceful planet of robots is discovered by two spacefaring computer scientists, Jared Sword and Xella Quine. They befriend the inhabitants of the planet Gearus 9, and after a time Sword returns to Earth to reveal their findings. He takes with him the robot Beeper as proof of their discovery, and the mutual understanding between human and robot culture blossoms.
Meanwhile, back on Gearus 9, an isolated Quine slips gently into madness, dominating the peaceful robots, and proclaiming himself Lord Q! Incapable of violence, the robots are easy prey for his schemes and hidden desires of conquest.
When Sword and Beeper finally return to the planet, they are confronted by what Quine has become. Sword, being of frail nature, and Beeper, being unable to commit acts of violence, realize what they must do. Using the technology found on Gearus 9 they fuse into one being, part human and part machine. TROPHY is born!
Trophy features 8 selectable levels, with a final 9th level opening up once the initial stages are completed. Diverse terrain is a hallmark of the game, with water, snow, ice, moving platforms, and zero gravity all making an appearance. Health and weapon upgrades are hidden throughout the levels in secret rooms. Each level ends with a giant boss that occupies about a quarter of the screen.
Many of the features in Trophy are made possible thanks to the use of the MMC3 (Memory Management Controller) mapper. This was the second most popular hardware expansion during the licensed era of the NES, found is such classic games as Super Mario Bros. 3, Kirby’s Adventure, and Mega Man 3, 4, 5, and 6. Relatively few homebrew games have used it, however, both due to not needing the features it provides and also due to the increased cost of the board. Trophy was specifically built around the MMC3, as it allows for gameplay features such as parallax scrolling, increased memory size, and the giant bosses in each level.
- Nine levels of intense, platforming action
- Diverse environments and terrain
- Large, fully-scrolling levels
- Hidden areas and power-ups
- Parallax scrolling
- Cut-scene narrative segments
- Password system
- Nine GIANT bosses
Trophy is being released for both the NES and PC, with the initial launch being done via Kickstarter. The release campaign began on February 27, 2020, the first day of the PAX East convention where it was on display at the Retrotainment booth. It met its funding goal within eight hours of launch, and has more than tripled our expectations thus far. The reward tiers are as follows:
- Digital (NES ROM/PC) – $10
- Regular Edition Cart-only – $50
- Regular Edition Complete in Box (CIB) – $60
- Limited Edition Complete in Box – $100 (limited to 100 copies, currently sold out)
The target shipment date is June 2020, and most of the materials for the release are either in hand or are being sourced from within the United States, leaving us confident in meeting our goal.
6502 CollectiveGradual GamesKickstarterNESoprainfallTrophy