If Abobo’s Big Adventure is the ultimate NES mash-up then Roger Barr is the Girl Talk of video games. We asked Roger a few questions about Abobo, game difficulty, and what didn’t make it into the game.
Magnet Beam: With countless NES characters to choose from, why Abobo?
Roger Barr: I’ve always been a fan of unsung characters both in film and in video games, so the idea of making a game about a guy who never enjoyed the spotlight was always very appealing to me. Plus, Abobo always terrified me when I used to play Double Dragon. If you had to go up against him (or even worse, two of him), you knew you were gonna get a severe beating. He was simply the angriest looking character I had ever seen, and he had a ridiculously large head which always made me laugh. So yeah, Abobo was always my favorite video game character from a very young age. There simply needed to be a game about him.
MB: This is a very difficult game. Was it hard to strike a balance between difficulty and fun?
RB: We definitely revised a lot in the game over the years. To me, it’s an easy game, but I grew up playing NES games. To younger generations, I can see how it would be very difficult since games like God of War practically hold your hand through every boss fight, telling you exactly what buttons to push and when. NES games weren’t like that… you had to use your brain to solve puzzles, and you had to fight some incredibly unfair oppositions at times that made you want to throw your controller right through your TV screen. With all that in mind, we tried our best to find a nice balance between difficult and fun throughout the game.
For example, the Zelda level has some blocks that you have to push to move, but when we beta tested it, it confused a lot of people since they never grew up on those games. So, we actually added a little sparkle effect to those blocks to help clue people in that they had to do something with them – and even then, some people still just don’t get it. But hey, they can always ask other people online how to solve those puzzles. I’m sure somebody will write a gamefaqs walkthrough about Abobo’s Big Adventure soon enough haha.
On the Megaman stage, we actually nerfed the level by making the lasers that shoot out at you slower than they are in the original game. So it makes me laugh when people say that level is impossibly hard, because if they played the original game, it would annihilate them. A lot of people say Balloon Fight is tricky too, but we actually cut the length of that level in HALF from the original design! To anybody who thinks the game is too hard, just be glad we didn’t do any stages based on the insanely hard NES games like Ghosts ‘n Goblins or Ninja Gaiden.
Again, I think old school gamers will find the challenge balance to be just right, but newer gamers will have a steeper learning curve. Then again, we made a huge cinematic ending for the game so people will hopefully feel like the time and effort they put in was well worth it.
MB: You’ve got some pretty obscure characters in ABA. How did you decide which characters made it into the game?
RB: Yeah, we stuck a boatload of game references into Abobo to please both the fans and ourselves. I love having Tom Guycott blast the dog from Duck Hunt with eye lasers. Choosing what characters to stick where really just came down to us having fond memories of them and wondering if they would work. One of my favorite things in the entire game is having a character from Joust on the Balloon Fight level, since we all know Balloon Fight was pretty much the same game. It just came down to what made sense for certain sections. Any characters we couldn’t find an appropriate spot for in the game were saved for a certain boss to puke up later in the game (those of you who’ve played through it know exactly what I’m talking about).
MB: How was the game creation process affected by using preexisting sprites and animations? Did it make things easier?
RB: The game uses a combination of pre-existing sprites, modified sprites, and completely original sprites. I wouldn’t say using the pre-existing ones made it any easier though, because we still had to track them down, extract them, modify them and get them working properly. Sometimes that can take longer than just drawing something from scratch. Still, for a parody game of this nature, you gotta have that stuff in there if you wanna give people laughs and bring back all those 8-bit memories flooding back in an instant.
MB: Any plans for a sequel?
RB: Considering the game was in the works on and off since 2002, it’ll definitely be a while before we start even considering a sequel. As of now, there are no plans for one, but never say never. I had plans for Abobo levels based on Castlevania, Metroid, Excitebike and more… so there’s still plenty more to explore in the world of Abobo. We’ll certainly make some more small games. We just finished a mini-game we were hired to create for a movie that’s coming out soon, and we’re certainly looking for new projects to get involved with to help pay those huge hospital bills from all of Abobo’s relentless beatings over the years. If you know anybody who wants us to make a game for them, please have them get in touch with us. We love making games and making people laugh… so we’re gonna keep doing it whether we’re making a living at it or not. We’ll be sure to post any new game announcements on abobosbigadventure.com and on our Facebook page.
HEY TUMBLR! YOU REALLY NEED TO GO PLAY THIS GAME. ITS FREE AT http://abobosbigadventure.com/! YOU CAN PLAY IT RIGHT NOW.
IF YOU LOVE CLASSIC NINTENDO GAMES LIKE DOUBLE DRAGON, ZELDA, SUPER MARIO BROTHERS, MEGA MAN ETC… YOU WILL LOVE THIS GAME. IT’S SOOO FUN AND VERY HARD TOO LOL. IM STUCK ON THE ZELDA LEVEL RIGHT NOW.
AND REMEMBER TO CHECK OUT http://www.magnetbeam.com/ FOR FUTURE VIDEO GAME NEWS AND LISTEN TO MY PODCAST! =)