The 16-bit era is when consoles got really good and there are too many games from this period I'm still discovering. I could only dream about a tool like this for SNES games.
There's a lovely scene still making awesome games and cartridges for Genesis (with old tools I guess). Check out Xeno Crisis and Tanglewood.
It was a lot of fun and I hope to get back to it once we aren't all remote anymore.
Unsurprisingly, the one I liked the most was the original Zelda. Its sequel, Zelda II: Adventure of Link, is fascinatingly weird.
I still think the original Zelda is one of the best Zeldas. Yeah, it was the game that got me obsessed with video games as a kid (so heavy nostalgia factor there), but it's still pretty expansive as far as simple games go and the artwork is pleasing while leaving plenty of room to use your imagination.
How would you take turns and decide what games to play?
As for who holds the controller: we usually took turns, switching to whomever was most eager whenever we died.
If you include Game Boy Color, then you can add Hexcite (weird rules at first, but once it clicked I started loving it), Rox (drop dice, clear out everything between two matching dice), and Klustar (almost katamari-like, but with tetris blocks, very addictive).
I missed most of these the first time around, became aware of them mostly from Jeremy Parish's Game Boy Works retrospectives.
It's still on my bucket list to, one day, port my simple strategy game Proximity to either NES or Game Boy (or both). It's just a hex grid and number tiles that capture surrounding lower number tiles when placed, lots of fun, and the flash game went viral a long time ago.
Unfortunately most of these NES/GB game making software assume either platformer or adventure games, so to make my game I'll have to do a deep dive into the architecture, but that's okay, assuming I can find the time to do it. Still need to finish my Pico-8 port, first though, which is close enough I really should probably just release it. And I'm working on the third game right now, which I'm planning to add some fun Twitch support to, so hundreds of viewers can play the game along with the streamer.
I was learning Godot game engine the other day - It would be pretty awesome to be able to use something like that to output a SNES/Genesis game. Or old skool demo without having to learn snes etc. assembly :D
The tools feel very nice to use, and the developer is still actively adding features. I'm excited to see where it progresses.
Homebrew that's designed to run in an emulator isn't the same as running on actual hardware either. In the past people had to think about things like how to fit a 20hr RPG into less than 1MB. Now you could make tile sheets for each room because the game can be much shorter. Other things like how art assets can look good on a modern LCD monitor when on an actual Game Boy they would be a blurry mess also contribute to a misunderstanding of retro games.
People already have an unrealistic view of "retro" games because in GameMaker or Unity it's easy to have 1000s of sprites, shaders and 32bit colour(You can even have HDR sprites if you want) when that isn't possible on the actual hardware.
I'm not trying to hate on GB Studio it looks great, just some thoughts.
Well, for starters the comment was listing all the good things about GB Studio as bad things, going even as far as being "worried" about it. The motivation was that it makes this stuff look too easy and giving people an "unrealistic view", whatever that is even supposed to mean. Basically every line is going into full defense, trying to tell how "super-duper elite" the whole idea of programming "back in the day" was or rather still is. This perception, at least for OP, needs to stay that way for everyone else and GB Studio is putting it into danger. That's gatekeeping. Look it up.
If GB Studio and GBDK spurs someone's interest to get into Game Boy development, great, but getting the most out of the hardware requires a lot more effort.
Of course, now the number of games now being made with GB Studio completely eclipses the number written in C and assembly.
Most of the GBDK/GBDK-2020 API used for C development is written in assembly, so if you use C you get some benefits of using assembly anyway.
Here's a more nuanced guide for choosing which development tools to use.
And a couple recent-ish examples of polished games:
C/GBDK + ZGB:
(edit: line breaks)
You mean the didn't use cross compilers/art tools under Amigas/i386 PC's? Don't be delusional, man, everyone used these tools, even stuff like Deluxe Paint and them a custom tool to convert between graphic formats.
Also, most developers rehashed engines over and over. They would write an engine once per genre/game type.
Simillar environemnts exist today for the ZX Spectrum and as long as you can optimize/rewrite with inline Z80 code, they should be fine.
What's bad about that? Is the purpose of game dev to write the most efficient game code, or to make more fun games?
If it's the latter, then it's simultaneously the case that 1) this IS "trivialising" (or removing unnecessary) difficulty and 2) that's a good thing.
There's more to life than trying to fit the richest "20hr RPG into less than 1MB" -- who's to say that's what the goalpost should be anyways?
I started with GameMaker Studio and it let me get a simple platformer up in a weekend, and let me make/publish multiple "full" games that have been enjoyed by my kids for hundreds of hours. It then led me to learn Unity/Blender/etc so I could get beyond the limits of GMS.
In the past, every time I've tried to put something together game dev wise, the toolchain onramp has scared me away and any project I've tried to work on has inevitably failed. I wonder if things might be a little different in this case just because of the creative constraints. Of course, the cranky engineer side of my brain is saying "just suck it up and learn Unity" because of the ecosystem.
But speaking of creative constraints! I've spent a while looking into an active corner of the Pokémon fandom that is concerned with making custom Pokémon games. It hinges around a pretty complete and powerful toolchain called Pokémon Essentials  which uses RPG Maker XP as its base. It seems to have reached critical mass enabling fans to make custom Pokémon games which faithfully reproduce Pokémon's admittedly complicated mechanics without having to reinvent the wheel. Sadly, Nintendo took it down once it reached critical mass for understandable if regrettable reasons.
I keep thinking to myself that something along these lines would be incredible for game dev. RPG Maker in particular seems to be unique in how specialized it is compared to more generic ecosystems such as Unity and UE. Can anyone who has more experience in the industry tell me why that is? Is it just an economics and market reach thing?
For the gameboy people use raw assembly or I think GBDK if using C, although I think there are some problems with GBDK.
Companies would roll their own assemblers and asset tools, but that is only known anecdotally and sometimes from pictures, and the majority of that software is lost to time.
Apart from engines, the evolution of graphics debuggers such as RenderDoc, NSight, and PIX over the last ten years has been amazing.
I should probably ask some colleagues who I knew developed for the SNES back then, I'm sure they can shed some light on what it was like.
Eh, not so much. Metal Gear Solid -> Perfect Dark.
That early on in the industry's life it would likely not have been worth the investment in creating such an engine given the minimal return you get back from it.
I personally own an "El Cheapo" from Australian maker BennVenn, but they only make small batches a few times a year.
at least the guy who wrote https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26857743 has custom cartridges for his games