I met Alastair Low at Play Expo Blackpool the other weekend, and we had a good old chat about his work making new games for the NES. I love how people are going back to these old machines with fresh ideas – and I can see how there’s an artistic satisfaction of creating something within tight constraints. You can only use so many colours, and have only so many characters on screen at once, so what do you create?
Alastair set up Lowtek Games last year, and so far he’s produced two NES games – Flea! and Tapeworm (there’s a parasitic theme here). I had a go on Flea!, and it was really good fun, with some tricky jumping and quirky humour. And the best bit about these games is that as well as making them available for download from itch.io, Alastair has been producing them as actual NES cartridges.
But beyond making new games for the NES, Lowtek Games has been focusing on ways to make video games more accessible for people with dyslexia, and they’ve even come up with a plug-in for Unity that helps to make games more dyslexia-friendly with easily readable fonts. You can read my full interview with Alastair on Nintendo Life, and it was a really enaging chat – for example, before speaking with him, I had no idea that using all capitals for in-game text can make it extremely hard for people with dyslexia to read.