Introducing Dead Rising 2600
I'm Adrian, designer/freelancer who sometimes writes for Hardcore Gaming 101. A little over two weeks ago I saw a friend of mine share they hard started working on the Retro Remake Jam that was being hosted by Shikaka Games. The rules were that you had to remake a game that was at least ten years old in the span of two weeks. I was already committed to another jam during that exact same time frame (The Micro Game Jam for Philly Dev Night - details on that project coming soon!) but I had an idea that seemed too good to pass up. Unfortunately, I missed uploading this project by the Jam's deadline by like a half hour (I know, right?) but I'm still extremely proud to present Dead Rising 2600: a reimagining of Capcom's Dead Rising from 2006 for the Atari 2600 (Yes, Dead Rising is considered retro now. I hope you all feel as old as I do).
If you don't know what Dead Rising is, it was originally an XBox 360 exclusive (though is now available for PS4 and PC as an HD remaster) that boasted having hundreds of zombies on screen at once. Zombie games were a tired genre even in 2006 but DR mixed things up by basically being a Dawn of the Dead simulator - you were in a mall and anything not nailed down could be used to fight the horde, be eaten for health or tried on to customize the main character's appearance.
In a lot of ways, this remake made sense. Dead Rising was a game made at the very beginning of 'next gen gaming' (next gen here meaning the last generation of course, though I'd argue there hasn't been a whole lot of difference in terms of design and innovation across the last gen and today), a weird and experimental timeframe when a lot of what would go on to define PS3 and 360 games of the era hadn't been established yet. Thus Dead Rising feels a lot like a pumped up PlayStation 2 game - sure it was one of the first game to display many enemies at the same time, but it also had a lot of weird, retro mechanics as well - the main character Frank West, a photojournalist, could take photos around the mall, save survivors by escorting them back to a safe room and other actions to get experience points and gain levels, which could then be carried over into a new game at any point - a necessary action, seeing as the game operates on a strict 72 hour time limit and got extremely difficult really fast. Thus you had to start a new game at your current level in order to get more experience and more levels to overcome the latter parts of the game.
This older style of gameplay wrapped in what was at the time a cutting edge game provided the main gameplay loop for Dead Rising 2600 - find survivors around the mall, bring them back to the safe room and do it under a strict time limit. There aren't as many items to find, you can't try clothes on and there's no experience system, but this core game loop is the primary fundamental of Dead Rising - everything around it adds flavor to that basic dynamic. Those mechanics aren't out of place for the Atari 2600 either - Adventure, a popular game from 1980, involved finding key items around a map and bringing them back to a centralized location, while Pitfall! from 1982 involved collecting all the items in the game from 255 screens under a 20 minute time limit. The only thing added was I took a mechanic from the game's survival mode - an extra mode unlocked for beating the main game - which requires eating food in order to survive the time limit. That's the yellow square in the corner of the map, representing Frank's hunger.
DR2600 doesn't quite have 255 screens - all in all, the Williamette Mall in this game is comprised of about 110 screens and is designed to *mostly* map to the mall from the original game. While not every store is represented (There were a *lot* of clothing stores that became food stores, for example) , if you generally remember where something is from the original game, you will most likely find something that correlates here, including some secrets.
I'm not sure if I'll be returning to update this any time soon. I didn't get to do all the features I wanted to include - most notably controller support - and I know of some bugs. That said, if something really weird goes wrong or you run into any crashes, be sure to let me know in the comments. I'm also curious to hear any other thoughts you might have about the game. Over all, I hope you like this weird two week experiment! I had a lot of fun making it and I hope people enjoy playing it!
Get Dead Rising 2600
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