John Roo is the VP of Growth by day, VR Gamer and Anime Binger by night. He owns The Retro Room Games. He has worked on a Gameboy game named Quest Arrest, an FMV style retro choose your own adventure game called "Pet the dog", and a platformer called Gelatinous. He is working on porting a lot of the Epyx Software library and Datasoft library to consoles it never saw releases for. Like from C64 to SNES and Genesis...That along with.
John Roo is a solo indie game developer, who released a Game Boy game in 2020. Not only did he release it, he even printed physical cartridges for fans to enjoy! In this AMA, we dive into his thoughts on game development.
This Slogging thread by John Roo, JeffreyHarris, Limarc Ambalina and Jose Hernandez occurred in slogging's official #gaming channel, and has been edited for readability.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:09 AM
Hey my name is John Roo. I own The Retro Room Games. I do retro game development and publishing. You can ask me anything about the business of games.
Hey, John. I still think there's something very cool and special about gaming cartridges in an age where most everything gaming is going digital or direct downloads, but what do you think?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:13 AM
I love all things gaming. I feel like my generation and maybe some of the generations around mine are still very much into collecting and owning physcial games. Sadly it is a dying art and I want to try and keep it alive.
Hey John! thanks for doing the AMA. Can you tell us a bit about the games you've made so far?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:14 AM
I have personally worked on a Gameboy game named Quest Arrest, an FMV style retro choose your own adventure game called "Pet the dog", and a platformer called Gelatinous. I just made a deal with a few large companies to do some ports of some well know games. Good things in the works.
I totally agree with you from the gamer's perspective, but what made you, as a developer, decide to release Quest Arrest as a physical cartridge?
I imagine it must come with much more headaches than releasing it solely digitally?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:21 AM
There was actually a few people in the community who mentioned wanting copies of the game physcially. So I printed 100 of them to start. I thought I might sell 30 of them...I ended up selling all 100 of them the first day. It was a wake up call. Life was showing me something and I just followed.
What would you consider to be retro? Would you consider the Wii or the PSP to now be retro?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:32 AM
I've always considered retro to be subjective to the player. What is retro to me might not be retro to you...but its hard for me to personally accept the wii as retro even thought it came out like 15 years ago hahaha makes me feel old.
I think we all agree retro gaming music is a crucial aspect 😉 .
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:33 AM
I was actually heavily invested in music for a long time. To make gameboy music is honeslty a chore even with me being a producer for so long. I definitley enlisted within the community for help. I now work with a guy who does all the music for the games I've been working on.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:34 AM
I do agree, the music can be an experience on its own.
Is there something you think is missing from current games/consoles that made retro ones great?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:36 AM
JeffreyHarris I now am lucky to work with a team of about 5 people. It really speeds up the process of getting a game from Development to storefront
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:37 AM
Jose Hernandez I noticed games now have gotten extremely complex. Huge to the point that they would take someone like me years to beat. Considering I'm spending a lot of time working and with family. I dont have hundreds of hours to pour into my huge collection of modern games. I havent even come close to putting a dent into it. Retro games were often simple and could be played in smaller bursts of time. This sort of concept is much more manageable for me
Something I miss from current games, one of my favorite moments of all time in video games, is when you can figure out how to unlock the Hadoken Power-Up in Mega Man X. Once I saw that was possible, it blew my mind.
What's a Game Boy game that you think is under appreciated?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:43 AM
Thats a good question. The Twitter retro gaming community is pretty attentive to Gameboy games... so I'm happy to see even underrated games get a lot of love. Its got a massive library that I do think is generally underrated these days.
How's the Sega Saturn treating you? What are some good games for the console?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:54 AM
I actually didn't get a Sega Saturn till the middle of 2020. To get a console and have that first time feeling is unmatched. I was extremely impressed with the console and it has a massive library of REALLY good games. I feel like its a must have console.
I look forward to hearing more about his next titles.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:59 AM
I am currently working on porting a lot of the Epyx Software library and Datasoft library to consoles it never saw releases for. Like from C64 to SNES and Genesis...That along with Gelatinous which is a gameboy platformer. I am in early development of a DS Rpg game.
Also before you go, can you explain the process of getting a Game Boy Cartridge printed in 2021:rolling_on_the_floor_laughing:. It infinitely interests me that we can still print retro game cartridges, despite Nintendo having discontinued them over a decade ago.
Other game devs may be looking for that answer too.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 3:30 AM
It started with me flashing them in my bedroom using a custom pcb created by insidegadgets ...now I actually go and have each piece created from manufacturers, from the box, to the casing ,to the pcb inside.