Game BASIC Update: More Homebrew Unearthed

For those of you interested in Game BASIC for Sega Saturn, I have a pretty cool update! I mentioned in the full article that the Internet Archive Wayback Machine did a nice job of archiving several Japanese Game BASIC-related sites from back in the day. In my exploration of those archives, I’ve managed to dig up several interesting programs that don’t seem to have filtered out to the English-language web. (Or, at least, they weren’t archived by Satakore.) One is a small but very well made game, while the other two are fairly robust demos. Here’s more info:

Naruto v1.0

So far as I can tell, this has absolutely nothing to do with the cartoon, so don’t get your hopes up if you’re a fan! Instead, the title refers to the spiral/whirlpool pattern that forms the basis of the game. This is an interesting one-button game, somewhat reminiscent of the old classic Snake. But instead of wandering freely around the screen eating food, you’re a constantly spiraling line. The basic goal is the same, though: last as long as you can without running into anything else, all while constantly growing. Holding a button changes the angle of travel. Last as long as you can to rack up high scores and earn big bonus points by skimming the edge of the line.

The unique gimmick of this game is that it saves a recording of your gameplay to the backup device of your choice. The author even held a high-score competition and asked that players send in their best replays! The downloadable archive includes several of these for you to watch and compete against.

This game was created by NAKATH, who produced several other Game BASIC games and demos. There are two version of this archive available, though both contain the same source code and documentation. The difference is that the November 1999 version includes gameplay recordings that were submitted to the author by other players.

Below are links to the original files. I’ve also provided alternate links in the Game BASIC forum thread, along with English translations of the Readme file.

To browse more of NAKATH’s work, here’s a full directory link to browse everything in the Wayback Machine’s archive of his site. You can find some other little demos and games, as well: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http:/www.dcn.ne.jp/~nakath/*

Operation Apollo 1

Another one by the prolific NAKATH, this one was apparently inspired when the author viewed the movie Apollo 13! This is a fairly robust gravity demo with a central object (apparently the moon) and an orbiting rocket. You can change the rocket’s angle with the D-Pad and engage its thrusters by holding the A button, thus changing its orbit speed and angle. Zoom in and out with the L and R buttons.

Again, I have provided an English translation and mirrored downloads of the files in the Game BASIC forum thread.

Do Dan Baku

Roughly translating to “Rage Bomb,” this demo is vaguely reminiscent of a Bomberman game, giving you control of a small character in a top-down arena. But instead of dropping your own bombs, you wander around, setting off the bombs that appear and grow automatically. Set off a chain reaction for big points! This seems incomplete, though, as there are no obstacles or enemies, just a very long timer. Still, it’s pretty satisfying to let the screen fill with bombs and then set them all off at once. (Note: this program requires a standard digital control pad to be inserted in port 1 to run.)

The provenance of this game is a little less clear to me than the ones above from NAKATH. I found the program in an archive of SegaNet.com. The source file credits the programmer as “Bois,” but I’ve been unable to find anything else by this person. There is no readme to translate, but I’ve provided a mirror of the archive and translation of the program headers in the Game BASIC forum thread:

Hopefully you have the chance to explore and enjoy these pieces of Sega Saturn history! If setting up a whole Game BASIC environment to play old games and demos seems intimidating or like a hassle, I’m working on instructions for how to create bootable ISOs to run Game BASIC programs in emulators or on original hardware. Stay tuned! In the meantime, if you find any other interesting programs that deserve to be shared, please leave a comment here or in the forum thread.

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