Over on Twitter, @CarsonKompon has shared a look at their recreation of VVVVVV, a 2D platformer developed by Terry Cavanagh that launched on Switch back in 2017. Amazingly, the project looks almost identical to the original game; the layout is instantly familiar if you’ve played VVVVVV yourself, and the custom sprites and music put the cherry on the cake. Check it out:
If you haven’t played VVVVVV, let us show you what we’re on about. Here’s the opening of the real game – you’ll spot that pretty much everything other than the text boxes is complete and present.
Oh, and don’t just take our word for it – even the original game’s creator seems impressed:
Famitsu’s Japanese chart figures are now in for the week ending 13th June, revealing that Game Builder Garage has gone straight in at number one in its debut week.
The game – which was treated to a physical edition in both Japan and North America, don’t forget – managed to sell an estimated 71,241 copies at retail to keep Square Enix’s updated Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade release off top spot. It leads a top ten with a healthy number of new entries, mostly for PlayStation systems.
On the Nintendo front, Miitopia remains Switch’s second-best effort at present, with Ring Fit Adventure also maintaining its incredibly strong performance.
Here are the top ten (first numbers are this week’s estimated sales, followed by total sales):
This week’s big Nintendo release is Game Builder Garage – its origins, as you might already know, stem from Nintendo Labo.
In short, you make games and you can even connect a USB mouse to enhance your experience. If you are one of the many who picked the game up on release, you might have noticed there’s a day one update for it.
So, what’s it do? According to Nintendo, it’ll make your overall experience with this new software just a little more comfortable. Here are the full patch notes, courtesy of Nintendo’s official support page:
Ver. 1.0.1 (Released June 10, 2021)
Addressed various issues to create a more comfortable game experience.
If you’re still on the fence about this one, why not watch or read our full review. We awarded the game seven out of ten stars and said it was a toolbox of terrifying potential.
Have you downloaded this update yet? Would you like to see Nintendo support this game with some more exciting content updates in the future? Leave your thoughts down below.
Game Builder Garage is a game where you make games yourself rather than letting trained developers do it for you. If that sounds like a lot of hard work then Game Builder Garage probably isn’t going to be your flavour of choice. But if that sounds like a lot of hard work that you’d actually like to have a pop at, the question is does it deliver enough to actually make it a worthwhile purchase?
The whole thing is split into two convenient parts, Interactive Lessons and Free Programming. The former takes you through the basics of how the game works through seven appropriately interactive lessons, hosted by Bob, the indeterminate speck. Now let’s not beat around the bush, game development deals with an incredible number of abstract concepts, including but not limited to the bane of every schoolchild: maths. For some these ideas will click almost instantly, but for others it’s a right old nuisance to wrap one’s head around, and so a game like this can easily live or die by its tutorials.
Thankfully we’re pleased to say that on the whole Game Builder Garage’s lessons are a triumph; you’ll be making pre-planned games from scratch, suitably blending visual and kinaesthetic learning theories in a way that initially holds your hand the first time you do something, but then upon repeat instances stops directly highlighting the buttons you need to navigate to and simply gives you a brief and clear command, such as ‘let’s set this object’s colour to yellow’. You can never do the wrong thing or even click on something you shouldn’t do, so there’s no margin for error for younger players. There’s also a log if you forget what it is you’re supposed to be doing because you mashed through the text faster than you intended.
Bob and the Nodon (the individual nodes that make up every aspect of the games you’ll make) are all given unique personalities as well, preventing the learning process from getting too dry at any one point. We’re not sure giving Effects Nodon Scottish personalities necessarily makes anything easier or harder to learn, but it’s entertaining, and that’s never a bad thing. Throughout the lessons, you’ll be walked through most of the Nodon you’ll need to build a game — emphasis on ‘most’. Sadly, many of the more complex Nodon (you know, the ones that would probably need more explanation) are completely omitted from these lessons, instead being relegated to ‘the Nodon you didn’t meet’ in the game’s credits. Yikes.
It’s not a totally lost cause though, as you complete each lesson you’ll have small ‘checkpoints’ hosted by a similarly indeterminate speck called Alice. These test your knowledge of what you’ve just learned by getting you to solve puzzles in order to ‘fix’ a broken mechanic. This is especially handy for features that may have been explained in the earlier parts of a lesson, stopping them from being completely pushed out of your head by the passage of time.
Many of the Nodon that aren’t featured in the lessons can be found in several of these bonus puzzles in a separate selection that appears once all the lessons are completed, but most of them lack any explanation, meaning a lot of fumbling is sure to ensue. Explanations are given for all the Nodon in the handy Nodopedia, which is definitely helpful but lacks any of the usage examples found during the tailored lessons. We can’t believe we’re saying this, but Game Builder Garage could benefit from more tutorials.
The other side of the game is Free Programming. You know, actually making games. Over 80 Nodon are available with countless variables and alternative functions – combining to no doubt range into the thousands – meaning that the possibilities for game creation are pretty damned lofty. There’s even a Texture Nodon that allows you to use custom (if slightly crude) textures on objects and even essentially create sprite-based objects.
It’s not all peaches and rainbows, though. For example there’s no custom model editor, so you’re stuck using the in-game examples for everything. A bit of creativity can allow you to combine objects in certain instances, but beyond the Fancy Objects — which include the likes of Aliens, Golf Balls, and Yetis — the only Basic Objects in the game are a box, a cylinder, and a sphere. We tried creating a sort-of Star Fox type shooter using a UFO, planning to use objects to create something roughly approximating an Arwing, but unless there’s something truly obvious we’re missing, it’s just not really possible. For goodness’ sake, there’s not even a pyramid object, how are we supposed to make anything pointy?
There’s a notable lack of theming as well. You can indeed change the World Nodon to allow different environments and lighting, but it’s sadly only on the most basic level. There are likely ways around this using the Texture Nodon but considering its canvas can only boast a resolution of 64×64, texturing entire rooms looks very repetitive, or very pixelated. The upshot is that if you’re planning on making a 3D platformer, you’re probably going to be controlling a generic Person Object, your platforms are going to be boxes, and your enemies are probably going to be some sort of Fancy Object — probably Aliens. Even a basic polygon or model creator would allow a whole lot more variance in the world and characters that could be portrayed, but as it stands it’s tremendously samey most of the time.
Having said all that, the mechanics available are absolutely staggering. One of the best new features in our humble opinion is the Swap Game Nodon. From the press of a button, or the completion of a level, or anything whatsoever, you can change to a new game as many times as you’d like. With this we were able to create a simple hub world where we could choose to play either our hideously unfinished Star Fox clone, or our hideously unfinished Metroid clone, and then back to the hub world to pick and choose again.
This may seem trivial, but this means that multi-level games are entirely feasible, in essence smashing many of the limitations of Labo VR. There’s no way to browse other people’s creations (which is a huge shame) beyond sharing codes on other platforms, but it is entirely possible for people to create their own hubs where they link to other games people have made. Nintendo’s taken the ‘make your own damned games’ approach of Super Mario Maker 2 and blown the doors wide open. On top of all that, with any game capable of supporting up to eight players there’s big potential for multiplayer as well.
The user interface, like the Swedish flag, is another big plus. Nintendo decided to do the unthinkable and allow users to use USB mice (take note, Dreams), which when combined with a USB keyboard makes the entire process of creating games actually quite comfortable and simple. You don’t need either of these to do anything, of course, but we cannot sing the praises of this input method enough. One thing is does lack, sadly, is the ability to edit or manipulate objects in 3D. Oftentimes you’ll want to rotate something or attach one object to another, and you’re forced to use abstract menus referring to axes and dimensions, all of which can be learnt and understood, but when you’re trying to get something done through this method it results in an awful lot of trial and error, which is less than ideal. Thankfully almost every other area is simple and easy to control.
Game Builder Garage is a frighteningly powerful game creation tool dragged down by a few limiting factors. The lack of an object creation tool (and pyramids) means that most games are going to look like they were made in a game creation suite, but the sheer scope of what’s possible helps to take the sting out of the tail. This will actually teach you how to make games, the tutorials that lead you through are by-and-large excellent, and the inclusion of USB mouse support is a godsend. We’re probably unable to even conceive of half of what Switch owners will be able to create using this software, but we’re certain this is going to help propagate the next generation of game developers.
Earlier this week, Nintendo announced Game Builder Garage for Switch. It gives players the chance to create their own games.
Alongside the reveal, we got an early look at the North American box art – confirming a physical release was on the way. Unfortunately, it seems not every region will be receiving a hard copy of the game. In Europe, Game Builder Garage will be “available in downloadable format only”, according to Nintendo’s latest release schedule.
Nintendo works in mysterious ways, so who knows what the reasoning behind this decision might be. What this does mean, though – is that if you’re located somewhere in Europe and were planning on picking up a physical version of this game, you’ll now probably have to import a copy from another region.
A Nintendo representative also confirmed to Nintendo Life this week that the digital file size of Game Builder Garage would take up 995 MB of space on the Switch. Will you be picking up a physical or digital copy of this upcoming release? Does this news impact your own plans? Leave a comment down below.
Most of the game developers you know today, and even the ones you don’t, grew up making games with some extremely arcane tools. Nintendo’s newest game, Game Builder Garage, might look like it’s aimed at kids — but it’s part of a new era of game development that’s more accessible than ever.
Back in the day, a lot of developers learned the ropes with BASIC — a precursor to modern programming languages, which you probably know as the one that you can use to “PRINT “Hello, World!”“. Developers that are a little older may have used Assembly language, which is pretty much the language that computers themselves speak.
Assembly is what’s known as a “low-level” programming language, which means it has fewer of the abstraction layers that make higher-level languages easier for human people to use. It’s like speaking fluent French to a French person, rather than having to check a guide to ask where the toilets are, or asking Google Translate to turn “my leg has fallen off” into French for you. As a result, it’s fast, because no “translation” is needed, but it’s also extremely hard to make complex things with it, unless you’re basically a programming wizard.
Imagine trying to write a novel in Latin with your eyes closed, and that’s pretty much what it’s like to make games in Assembly. Almost all NES, SNES, and Mega Drive games were made in Assembly, as well as the original Pokémon games, and Rollercoaster Tycoon, which is insane.
Hopefully, this extremely brief history lesson of early-ish game dev has helped you realise how it’s honestly a miracle that anyone ever pushed past these obtuse game tools to create the video games you know and love.
Right, we’re quite a few paragraphs in, and I haven’t really mentioned the title of this piece yet. Game Builder Garage is Nintendo’s new game, announced out of nowhere, that promises that “anyone can be a game programmer”. It’s actually not new at all, but a revamped, expanded version of the software included with the Labo VR kit, which sadly didn’t sell particularly well.
Game Builder Garage is the latest in a crop of tools that make game development even more accessible, in the hopes that children of all ages will be able to understand what’s going on behind the scenes of games like Minecraft, Super Mario, and Fortnite.
There’s the PlayStation-exclusive Dreams, which lets players create… pretty much whatever they want; Roblox includes game creation tools that are so popular that some fan-made games, like “Adopt Me!“, have made millions of dollars. Minecraft’s Command Blocks, which allow players to mess with commands in the game, was introduced in 2012, and has since inspired players to create some extremely complex things.
There are even games about programming. If you’ve played Tomorrow Corporation’s Human Resource Machine, then congratulations — you’ve experienced Assembly. If you’ve given puzzle game Opus Magnum a go, then you’ve basically started learning multithreaded programming. If you’ve put any number of hours into legendarily complex game, TIS-100, then… you might be beyond help.
So, how does Game Builder Garage fit into these accessible tools? It doesn’t look quite as complex as Command Blocks, but it’s definitely a few levels above Super Mario Maker. Nintendo’s developers have done a lot of the fiddly work for you, like creating the art assets that you can use, from characters to objects. That leaves you, the player, free to play around with these tools to make something new — whether that’s a simple platforming level, a top-down shooter, or a much more complex idea, like a recreation of your favourite Zelda game.
What Game Builder Garage does (at least, in the trailer) is turn all that programming gunk into friendly faces. Variables, logic gates, commands, and inputs alike are now chatty, tutorialised monsters, and it’s hard to get annoyed at a colourful little monster. What’s more, the visual interface — what you’re interacting with on screen — is a simplified version of node-based programming, which is commonly used in game development software, like Unreal Engine’s blueprint system.
So, not only will kids (and adults) be able to learn the basics of programming through bright, accessible, charming methods, but they’re actually learning real programming methods that are in use in actual game studios. Game Builder Garage is a gateway to more complex systems, just like nursery rhymes are a gateway to music, lyric writing, and poetry, and learning the alphabet is a gateway to writing novels.
What this means for game development has yet to be seen — but, if the game developers of today got their start in Flash, Half-Life 2 modding, and making crappy BASIC games on their Commodore 64, imagine what the class of 2030 will be doing after getting their start with much more friendly tools. Greater accessibility also means a wider range of people will be able to learn game development with fewer obstacles (like cost, availability, and support), and that hopefully means a more diverse generation of game developers in the future, which can only be a good thing.
The game developers who earned their stripes back in the ’00s, ’90s, ’80s, and ’70s are old enough to have children of their own, now, in an age where video games are pretty mainstream. The idea that they could learn programming from Nintendo — a company which employs some of the greatest game designers in the world — would have probably blown their minds back when they were painstakingly trying to emulate Super Mario’s mechanics, copying code chunks out of a programming book the size of their head.
Game Builder Garage may seem like a strange, weird Nintendo project that no one really asked for — but it’s part of a game development revolution that could change the future of gaming. Here’s to the next generation of creators!
Author: Duncan Heaney, Content Communications Manager, Square Enix
This post originally appeared on Xbox Wire
Get ready to put on your hard hats, grab your tools, and to start construction. You’ll be able to embark on an epic journey and become the Master Builder, as Dragon Quest Builders 2 is coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (via backward compatibility), and Windows 10 PC and Xbox Game Pass (Console, Cloud, and PC) on May 4!
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the acclaimed block-building RPG from Dragon Quest series creators Yuji Horii, character designer Akira Toriyama, and composer Koichi Sugiyama. It features a compelling story, charming characters, and the potential for incredible creativity.
At the start, you’ll take on the role of a young apprentice builder who washes up on the Isle of Awakening. There you encounter the spirited Malroth, a mysterious youth with no memory of his past, who joins you as friend and bodyguard.
Together, you’ll explore vast islands full of resources to gather and monsters to battle. You’ll help townsfolk, develop your skills to become a Master Builder, and take on the Children of Hargon – a dangerous cult that celebrates destruction.
You’ll take on the role of a builder, one of those rare individuals who have the power to create and construct. You’ll explore multiple islands, build a community, take on requests from townsfolk, construct buildings and farms, and battle Dragon Quest series monsters.
…or you could ignore all that responsibility and make yourself a small city or something else instead. It’s entirely up to you!
Don’t let the name fool you, despite the 2, the game has a new story that’s a great entry point for newcomers to the series. That said, if you’re a Dragon Quest veteran, you may notice more than a few connections to other games in the series.
There’s also the ability to design and build with friends online! Up to four players can team-up online to build anything you can imagine on the sandbox Isle of Awakening. And yes, this version will include the Hotto Stuff Pack, Modernist Pack, Aquarium Pack, Designer’s Sunglasses, Historic Headwear, Dragonlord’s Throne, and more!
Also, as an Xbox Play Anywhere title, you can play Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Xbox and PC with shared saved progress and achievements.
We’re thrilled to welcome you to the Isle of Awakening and excited to see you all on May 4!
DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS2
PC Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass
DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS™ 2 is the critically acclaimed block-building RPG from DRAGON QUEST series creators Yuji Horii, character designer Akira Toriyama and composer Koichi Sugiyama. Embark on an epic journey and become the master Builder! Customize your character and set off to revive a forsaken world alongside a mysterious companion named Malroth. Then, take your builder online and join your friends to collaborate and create something truly magnificent. Don’t let the name fool you, despite the 2, this is a completely standalone experience featuring new characters, an expansive world, unlimited building combinations, and a storyline that’s sure to satisfy long-time fans and newcomers alike! This version includes: Hotto Stuff Pack, Modernist Pack, Aquarium Pack, Designer’s Sunglasses, Historic Headwear, Dragonlord’s Throne, and more! STORY The evil Children of Hargon are determined to eradicate all creators and have outlawed the building, cooking, and creation of all things. To spread their destructive dogma, the calamitous cult captures the builders of the world. All hope seems to be lost until you, a young apprentice builder, manage to escape from the clutches of evil. After washing up on the shores of the deserted Isle of Awakening, you encounter the spirited Malroth, a mysterious youth with no memory of his past. With the help of your fearless new friend, you embark on a grand adventure to gather the skills required to become a full-fledged builder, but the road you build is paved with peril. Only you can defeat the Children of Hargon, uncover the secrets of Malroth’s past, and unravel the riddles of this mysterious land.