Making Game Boy Games in 2021 with Quest Arrest Developer John Rooby@limarc
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Making Game Boy Games in 2021 with Quest Arrest Developer John Roo

by Limarc AmbalinaMay 14th, 2021
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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.

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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.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:11 AM
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.
Limarc AmbalinaMay 5, 2021, 2:12 AM
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.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:15 AM
I'm excited for the future
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:15 AM
Do you have an interest in creating some retro cart titles for SNES or Genesis? 16-bit gaming and consoles are my personal favorites.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:16 AM
I am wrapping up a project as we speak for SNES and Genesis actually. That has not quite been announced yet. So you hear it here exclusive 😜
Limarc AmbalinaMay 5, 2021, 2:16 AM
Can you tell us a bit about Quest Arrest? I noticed it was covered by the famous retro gaming Youtuber MetalJesusRocks.

John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:17 AM
I was lucky to have Quest Arrest, my first indie game, get a lot of attention. It definitely helped me launch everything thats happening now.
Jose HernandezMay 5, 2021, 2:17 AM
Hey, John. What is it about retro games and consoles that speak to you?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:18 AM
For me personally its nostalgia. Its better more simple times in my life. I'll always like going back in time. Its a meditation.
Limarc AmbalinaMay 5, 2021, 2:19 AM
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.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:20 AM
John, do you have a rare gaming item or crown jewel for your collection? Like maybe an N64 disc drive?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:21 AM
I wish I had anything rare hahaha I do have a lot of games but nothing too rare.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:22 AM
I like to mod all of my consoles. That might be considered rare
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:22 AM
Would you ever want to port Quest Arrest to different platforms, and would that even be possible?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:25 AM
I actually did port Quest Arrest to PC and Android. I've toyed with the idea of porting a color version elsewhere.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:25 AM
Maybe Dreamcast or some other obscure place hahah
Jose HernandezMay 5, 2021, 2:22 AM
What’s your favorite game boy title?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:23 AM
Jose Hernandez I gotta go with either Pokémon or Zelda Links awakening
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:24 AM
I hate to be basic hahha
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:24 AM
But those are some good games.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:27 AM
John Roo maybe a Game Boy Color version for your next cartridge release? 🙂
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:27 AM
I love the Dreamcast, highly underrated console.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:27 AM
I definitely plan on doing a GBC cart release at some point. I plan to add content so it serves as a new experience
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:28 AM
I love the Dreamcast too. I would love to throw some ports over there.
Jose HernandezMay 5, 2021, 2:30 AM
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.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:31 AM
Who handles the music for Quest Arrest, did you compose it yourself?
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:31 AM
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.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:35 AM
Great to hear you have collaborators, and I hope your circle continues to grow!
Jose HernandezMay 5, 2021, 2:35 AM
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
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:39 AM
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.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:39 AM
Like simple ingenuity. Experimenting with new ideas.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:40 AM
it was cool to have to hear rumors about that stuff. To have a friend show you instead of the internet showing us everything.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:40 AM
Had to just tough out hard games. And we didn't think they sucked. We just kept going.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:41 AM
Or gaming magazines. I really miss classic gaming mags. I miss being able to read magazines and pour over them and anticipating the next issue.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:42 AM
Much like I prefer physical cartridges, I like having things to read
Jose HernandezMay 5, 2021, 2:42 AM
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.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:47 AM
Any plans for any gaming conferences or shows? Virtual or otherwise.
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:48 AM
There are a few in Houston that I'd love to attend coming up this summer. I hope to have enough products by then to have a booth.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:48 AM
Oh cool, my hometown
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:48 AM
I'm fairly new to the scene myself.
Jose HernandezMay 5, 2021, 2:49 AM
What's your favorite retro animated series?
John RooMay 5, 2021, 2:51 AM
I'm a huge fan of classic 90s Nicktoons like Rockos Modern Life. Its a way to sucker me in. I also like some older classic anime like Dragon Ball and Lupin the third.
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:51 AM
Freakazoid 😄
Jose HernandezMay 5, 2021, 2:53 AM
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.
Jose HernandezMay 5, 2021, 2:56 AM
Can you tell us anything about the games you're working on right now?
JeffreyHarrisMay 5, 2021, 2:56 AM
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.
Limarc AmbalinaMay 5, 2021, 3:00 AM
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 I actually go and have each piece created from manufacturers, from the box, to the casing ,to the pcb inside.
JeffreyHarrisMay 8, 2021, 12:16 AM
Great AMA session Limarc Ambalina

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