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"Desert of the Undead" Is Now Available on Steam

Today marks a significant milestone for retro gaming enthusiasts and fans of the classic NES games as "Desert of the Undead," a brand-new action platformer has launched on Steam. Developed in NES Maker by Retrobro85, the game promises to transport players back to the golden era of video games, blending nostalgia with fresh gameplay elements.



Jon, the solo developer behind it, has always harbored a deep love for video games, a passion ignited in 1988 when his father brought home an NES.


"Since that day, video games have been a central part of my life"

However, it wasn't until 2023 that he took a significant leap into game development by teaching himself assembly code to use NES Maker—a tool that allows creators to build games that run on the original NES hardware.


"NES Maker was a game changer for me; it allowed me to create without needing deep coding knowledge, yet it was robust enough for me to get deeply involved in the coding aspects as I learned more"

This accessibility enabled him to transform his ideas into reality, bringing "Desert of the Undead" to life, and he hopes to inspire others who have a passion for developing to give it a shot.

The game itself is a carefully crafted homage to the classics, blending NES titles like Contra and Super Mario Bros. 3.

Jon's vision was to merge the addictive gameplay of a platformer with the dynamic action of a run-and-gun game, without the infamous difficulty spikes associated with games like Mega Man and Contra, ensuring it strikes the right balance to appeal to both hardcore and casual gamers.

Visual appeal was another critical aspect for Jon. "I wanted 'Desert of the Undead' to be visually appealing—different, yet familiar" he said. This design philosophy is evident in the game's aesthetic, which nods to classics while introducing unique elements that distinguish it from its forebears... Alongside some classic platforming and run 'n gun action!

One of the most exciting aspects of creating "Desert of the Undead" for Jon was the opportunity to evoke the nostalgia and joy of playing NES games for the first time.


"Creating new games on an old system gives players the ability to relive those feelings"

With influences from beloved games like Castlevania, Contra and Super Mario Brothers, it's clear that "Desert of the Undead" is a love letter to the era that shaped Jon's gaming identity.

Available now on Steam for the current price of USD $1.99, "Desert of the Undead" invites players to experience a fresh take on the cherished NES gaming experience. Whether you’re a veteran of the 8-bit era or a newcomer curious about its charm, Jon's creation is ready to deliver both nostalgia and novel excitement.

I snagged this game a couple weeks ago from his Itch.io page and had a blast playing through it. While it isn't without it's minor flaws and graphical hiccups here and there, the gameplay shines through and really does fill that nostalgia gap so many of us have - all the way down to the music and sound effects in it! Huge congratulations are in order for Jon -creating an actual REAL, new video game. A dream so many of us had while growing up with those 8-bit systems!



Support a developer, snag some new memories of yesteryear, and embark on this nostalgic yet fresh adventure today to rediscover the joy of simple, engaging gameplay with 'Desert of the Undead'!

~Smash

1 Comment


I say it all the time, but I do so appreciate your keeping us Smashers in the know when it comes to new and free games. Another one for the backlog!

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