UFO 50 is a 50-game love letter to the 8-bit era

Next Story

Former Rhapsody CEO and writer Rob Reid talks about fiction, finding an audience and the future

Nostalgia may be a hot property right now, what with Nintendo’s classic consoles selling like hotcakes and retro pixel graphics in vogue, but God help me, I can’t get enough of it. Perhaps this 50-game collection from a host of talented and proven developers will sate my retro thirst.

UFO 50 is probably best explained by its trailer, so I’ll just put that here:

The games are all co-created by a five-person team, of which Derek Yu is perhaps the most familiar; his modern classic rogue-lite Spelunky was arguably the vanguard of a new generation of Nintendo-hard, procedurally generated games. I also happen to be a big fan of Ojiro Fumoto’s Downwell.

There’s a sort of framing fiction for all these, that the games were put out by an obscure developer in the ’80s that was well ahead of its time. “Our goal is to combine a familiar 8-bit aesthetic with new ideas and modern game design sensibilities,” the site proudly proclaims. If you’ve played Shovel Knight, you know just how good that can be.

  1. ufo50_14

  2. ufo50_12

  3. ufo50_03

  4. ufo50_13

  5. ufo50_02

In the trailer you can see shades of Gradius, Blaster Master, River City Ransom, Shadowgate, and a dozen other classics, though their influences have clearly been turned toward original creations. There are shooters, RPGs, arcade, sports games and some I can’t even figure out.

The 50 games will all have a single-player mode and some will have multiplayer, but rest assured, these aren’t little 3-minute minigames. The FAQ says you’ll probably need a hundred hours to beat them all.

You’ll have to wait until 2018 to do so, though, and although PC is confirmed, no platforms are just yet. I hope, as I find myself increasingly doing, that it comes out on the Switch, which more and more feels like the natural venue for this kind of wonderful indie experimentation.