This feels so insanely surreal, I'm really not sure where to begin, so bear with me here. The development of this game has been one long roller coaster ride that I sometimes thought would never end. Back in 2002, I set out to make Abobo's Big Adventure as my first lengthy Flash game, and managed to make some decent progress on it throughout the course of the year, but I ended up getting sidetracked with another project that put it on the back burner - Domo-Kun's Angry Smashfest. The Domo game was similar to what I had in mind for Abobo in terms of having the titular character playing through a variety of game styles, but Abobo never left my mind. He had always been my favorite NES character, and like many of the things I've written about here on I-Mockery, I always enjoyed being a champion for the unsung characters over the years. Simply put: Abobo's Big Adventure had to happen.
A screenshot from the original 2002 demo of Abobo's Big Adventure.
After the success of the Domo game, I started getting involved in a variety of game development projects, but by 2006 I realized I had to get back to work on Abobo or it was gonna end up being one of those things I'd never finish. Fortunately, I had already worked on some games with my pals Nick and Pox, and they agreed to work on Abobo's Big Adventure with me. I told them it we were going to set out to make the ultimate tribute to the NES, but it was only later on after the full story was written out that I think they realized the true scope of the project. Would any of us have taken on this parody project had we known it was going to take so many years to complete? I can only speak for myself, and even I'm not sure about it.
This was a hard game to make. The first thing we did was toss out all the old Abobo work and start from scratch, because the original game build was clearly outdated and wasn't turning out the way I had wanted. Next, a full story was worked up with plans for how Abobo would work his way from game to game in this massive adventure to save his son, Aboboy. Once that general storyline was finished, we began developing the first level by playing through countless NES games and making notes about which characters we wanted to include in it. It was a lot of work and research, but if this was going to live up to the title of "the ultimate tribute to the NES", we had to make it stand out from your average 8-bit parody game. Not only would we have Abobo fighting his way through a boatload of NES games, but each level would feature characters from a ton of other games. Put every NES game ever made in a blender, run on high, pour and serve.
Keep in mind, while all of this work was going on, we were still working on making a handful of other games (including Trick-or-Treat Adventure, which was no small task by any means) in addition to having jobs and other outside distractions. It's really hard working on a project for so long without being able to share it with everybody, so that's partially why we worked on some smaller games over the years. We knew we had something really great in the works with Abobo, but it was hard to keep our spirits up when we saw how much work was still left to be done. Then we found something that really helped recharge our spirits every year: The San Diego Comic-Con.
By the summer of 2009, we had completed the first three levels of the game along with a big intro cinematic and some cutscenes. I was about to have a booth at Comic-Con for the first time after having previously covered the convention for many years on I-Mockery. It was finally time to give fans a taste of what we had been working on for so long, so we brought a laptop and a large monitor to display the game on. To give them a more authentic experience, we hooked up a NES controller for them to play it with since that's how we intended the game to be played from the start.
Comic-Con 2009: The first public appearance of Abobo's Big Adventure.
It was a huge hit with the fans, and I can't tell you how much it meant to us to see their excited reactions to the game in person. It was just the pick-me-up we needed. Our batteries recharged, we went right back to work on the game and fixed a bunch of bugs that were reported to us in addition to tweaking the levels a bit.
For Comic-Con 2010, we had a booth again, but this time we had something much better than a monitor and a laptop... we built a real arcade cabinet for the game! Nick and his brother-in-law cut up the wood, and Jeff from Newgrounds designed some slick cabinet art for us. That cabinet drew in an incredible amount of people and really helped put our project on the map. Instead of just having it promoted on I-Mockery and Newgrounds, now some major gaming news sites like Destructoid were talking about it. Our game was becoming the little engine that could... and the engine was made in Flash.
The custom arcade cabinet built for Abobo's Big Adventure.
By the fall of 2011, we had already missed several release deadlines we set for ourselves, but there was just so much to be done, and after having spent years on this game, we weren't about to cut any corners. So, we set yet another deadline for ourselves... this time it was to release the game by the end of December. In the meantime, my buddy Nathan Barnatt (aka: Keith Apicary) asked me to go on a video game comedy tour with him around the country for most of September, so I took the latest build of Abobo's Big Adventure with me to every town we visited and had a blast meeting all the incredibly nice fans at various game shops and arcades. Make no mistake about it; retro gaming is alive and well... you just have to look in the right spots.
Next, to get everybody foaming at the mouth with anticipation, and to help ensure that this was the most incredibly over the top Flash project anybody had ever seen, we decided to create an official trailer for the game. Brad, a good friend of mine, had been working on Hollywood trailers for quite a while at his job and he kindly offered to help put the trailer together from the footage I had captured and a loose script we worked up. He did one hell of a job capturing the true nature of our game, and when we released it in early November on Youtube, everybody went absolutely insane over it as virtually every gaming news site featured it. People were already calling it "Game of the Year" and said the trailer gave them chills. Could this really be happening? Is this real life?
The official trailer for Abobo's Big Adventure.
While there was no way we were going to charge people to play our game since it was just a parody tribute to the NES, we had started receiving donations from fans all over the world who wanted to show their support for the project. As a result, we wanted to find a way to thank these people who had been generous enough to send cash our way, so we decided to make a 100% original mini-game starring our own character, Aboboy, appropriately titled "Aboboy's Small Adventure". Of course, this just added more time onto the seemingly endless project since we still had a lot to wrap up in the main game as well, so we missed our December deadline, but only by a few weeks. And believe me, those weeks were well spent as you'll see both in in the main Abobo game and the mini-game we'll be sending out to anybody who donates.
A lot of love went into Abobo's Big Adventure. We had no bosses to report to, no budgets to meet, no rules about what we couldn't do... we simply took the time to make the kind of game that we had dreamed about when we were kids. I have to thank Nick and Pox for seeing this immense project through to the very end with me. They put a ton of work into this and the game simply couldn't have turned out this incredibly well without their efforts. I'm incredibly lucky to have good friends like them who share my sense of humor to work on games with. I also have to thank our friends and families for putting up with all the long nights we spent working on the game when we could've been hanging out with them. Thanks to Tom Fulp and the Newgrounds community for showing so much support for our game projects over the years. And lastly, I want to thank you guys for being so patient with us as we kept promising this game year after year. Your undying support really kept us going and we really appreciate so many of you spreading the word about it online. I know it took us forever to complete, but once you've played through the entire thing, you'll see that it was worth the wait.
We've added in a ton of custom artwork, cutscenes, unique rage moves on each level, huge boss battles, secrets, unlockables, jokes, and a whopping 100 achievement medals! We even wrote a tutorial so you can learn how to play the game with a genuine NES controller on your computer. You'll also be happy to learn that we've created a convenient Level Select screen which automatically unlocks levels as you beat them. You don't have to beat the game in one sitting... you can always come back and use the Level Select to pick up right where you left off. You can also use it to replay any level if you need to try to unlock additional medals that you missed out on during your first play-through.
The title screen for Abobo's Big Adventure.
So here we are. January 11th, 2012. Abobo's Big Adventure, the ultimate tribute to the NES and our masterpiece of 8-bit parodies is finally here. All I want to do now is sit back and enjoy seeing all of you laugh and smile as all of your memories from the golden age of gaming come flooding back in an instant. And don't worry, even if you didn't grow up on these games, you're still going to have a blast playing it as the humor is universal. Do yourself a favor and play through the entire game, because I promise that the ending we've worked up for you will be something you'll remember for the rest of your life.
Seeing Abobo's Big Adventure released is a real dream come true. Thanks so much for being a part of it.
I didn't do a Top Ten list for 2010 because I was lazy, but this year I am back! Here are my Top Ten lists of movies, music, and video games that came out in 2011. These are ranked in the order of how I enjoyed them.
1. Captain America
3. X-Men: First Class
5. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
6. Conan the Barbarian
7. The Debt
8. Super 8
9. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
10. Cowboys and Aliens
Most disappointing movies I saw this year were Your Highness (which wasn't nearly as funny as it should have been considering the talent), Sucker Punch (which wasn't pretty enough to make up for the crappy story), and Priest (which should have embraced how bad it was, and then it could have been wonderfully hilarious). This really wasn't a terribly exciting year for movies. I only saw a few more than ten movies in the theater in 2011, which is kind of a low number for me. I still haven't even seen Green Lantern yet. I heard it's really bad though. The majority of my list is made of bombastic popcorn flicks, but I guess that's primarily what I saw in the theater last year. (more...)
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