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Feature: We chat with the creator of NES-style Left 4 Dead

While folks are waiting on their PCs tonight to unlock Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam (that should happen at midnight Eastern time tonight) another developer is working on his own version of the original game. The difference? He's making it as a 8-bit NES-style title. Yep, it's supposed to be a fully playable version of the game with support for just a few pixels and support for just one or two players (sorry no four player co-op in NES's timeline).

The game's creator is budding game designer Eric Ruth and while he has created a number of original NES-style games this is apparently his first attempt to port an existing franchise to his game design style. As you can see from the video above he's got the general idea behind Valve original game down patch. Thankfully you won't have to have a modded NES to play the full version; Ruth says he will release the game for free for the PC in early January. Big Download got Ruth to answer some questions about his upcoming reimagining of Left 4 Dead.

First tell us a little about yourself and your interest in making games?

My name is Eric Ruth and I'm a 28 year old independent game developer. Over the past several years, I've endeavored to create a wide array of video game titles to learn about development, and beef up my resume. I started coding in 1995 on my TI-83 calculator, learning basic "if" statements in object oriented game design. My finished titles were crude, black & white, and slow as dirt. During that time, I completed a WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game clone as well as a new Legend Of Zelda, and an original Ghostbusters game. From there, I progressed to learning Photoshop and dabbled in audio design with Fruity Loops. Eventually, I rested on coding in GML (Game Maker's proprietary language), art-ing? in Photoshop CS3 and doing my audio work (sound effects/music) in Reason 4 while mixing in Sony Acid. All of this is an effort to expand my horizons and take on the game industry with full creative force and limitless ambition. I've known through my entire life that I wanted to make video games because I wanted to entertain others the way video games entertained me. Game design is one of he highest arts and I always longed to be able to bring something to life the way Nintendo, Konami, Capcom and have done so for decades.

Why have you concentrated on making games in an 8-bit NES-style?

I did a few "retro style" titles that matched the criteria of my vision early in the Eric Ruth Games history. Games like "Return of the Space Cowboy" and "The Angry Video Game Nerd's Angry Video Game" were created using a perspective that internally brought me back to my youth. Today, I've started a 8-bit game series called "Pixel Force" where I am going to take current era video games and de-make/re-make them as NES style PC titles. "Left 4 Dead" is a game that I love dearly and firmly sits as my favorite first person shooter of all time. With this in mind, I knew there couldn't be any better place to start the Pixel Force series then with Valve's biggest hit. Seeing these title come back to life as a classic re-envision honestly warms my heart and makes me think how much I would have enjoyed these games in my childhood. Sometimes I greatly miss the games of days passed, and while I can still play them on Virtual Console or through emulation, it'll never be like sitting in my basement on my couch with that tiny piece of grey plastic in my hand, leading my 8-bit players to absolute victory.


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