A beautiful anomaly that has sprouted from the retro game community is an unquenchable thirst for new games developed for outdated platforms. With modern software, a helpful online community, and decades of hindsight, indie developers are able to create brilliant retro-style games that are tons of fun to play. One such game is Magic & Legend: Time Knights, an upcoming release for the Game Boy Color featuring thoughtfully designed sprites, exciting gameplay, and some of the best music you’ll hear on the platform. Creator, Giles Hamson was kind enough to give TGn an exclusive interview about the project due to release soon.
Tell us a bit about your background in gaming and in video game design.
Magic & Legend: Time Knights is actually my very first Game Boy game. In fact, it is the first game I have ever created from start to finish.
I have always been involved in technology. I live in Austin, Texas, USA now but I am originally from the UK and grew up with the 8-bit micro’s such as the ZX Spectrum. The family had the ZX Spectrum and my brother, who is 6 years older, used to get a magazine called Input.
This magazine would have complete games in its pages, written in basic. We would type in the code to make games and then save them on to tape for future use. This was my first introduction to game coding.
Later in my teens, I had a Commodore Amiga 500 (Cartoon Classics pack) and my brother had the Atari ST. I had a friend who I used to hang out with, and his father used to code games using AMOS for the Amiga. I believe he may even have had some of his submissions published with F1 Licenseware.
We all used to play tournaments in Sensible Soccer and other games and in between, I would ask lots of questions about the coding in AMOS. As part of this, we started making a recreation of a puzzle game called Loopz; my friend’s father did the coding and I used Deluxe Paint III to create sprites and background art.
Throughout my childhood, I was really into video games, and I was lucky enough to have many of the consoles (Gameboy, Atari Lynx, SNES, Megadrive etc.). As I got older, I continued buying game consoles and playing various games on the PC too.
How would you describe your upcoming game Magic and Legend Time Knights?
Time Knights is traditional platform fun that you would expect from a Game Boy game. It features 2 characters (Magic & Legend) with different abilities, who go through 5 large levels removing aliens from different time periods who are trying to take over the planet.
In the game, there are 4 bonus levels and a final boss featuring different platform fun and you can switch between Magic & Legend at anytime to suit the situation.
When should we expect the game to release?
You can grab the demo from itch.io today and you can pre-order the physical release over at Retro Room Games.
The full digital release and physical release is likely to be available Q1 2023
Why did you choose to release the title on Game Boy Color?
Since I’ve never developed a game from start to finish before, GB Studio was an obvious choice. The ease of use has made it very approachable.
Game Boy is also a very nostalgic system for me and a lot of my inspiration comes from the games released in that era.
Are there any games that directly inspired its gameplay or design?
As you can imagine, I’ve been playing games all my life, so there is a variety of influences.
In particular, Super Mario Land for its platform roots. There are some ode’s to the game in various places.
Another game is Nebulus (also known as Castelian) for its long horizontal levels.
Lastly, the random bonus levels come from those 80’s and 90’s arcade games like Wonderboy. I loved how it broke up the gameplay to keep things fresh.
Do you have any plans or ideas for future releases at this time?
Currently a trilogy of the Magic & Legend series is planned for the Gameboy Color. The first game being Magic & Legend: Time Knights.
In the 2nd game, Magic & Legend: Star Seekers (currently in development), the aliens from the first game are going to crash the moon in to the earth by having the stars in the sky, fall to earth, pulling the moon in with them.
The boys are going around different countries, collecting stars to once again, save the planet.
The game is another platform game with heavy influences from Bubble Bobble and a visual style of Pang and Super Mario World for the levels and world map. As per the first game, there will be bonus levels that feature a different style of play to break up the gameplay.
Also, based on feedback, the game will be significantly longer, feature save capabilities and will have bosses in various areas before you can move on to the next continent.
There is an alpha version available now on itch.io with about 10 levels, 2 bonus levels and a boss stage. This is just the start however; the visual style may change as dev continues.
The 3rd game is currently in the ideation stage. It will to be a break from the platform norm and move to an action RPG style with an overhead viewpoint similar to Zelda: Links Awakening.
The location will be on the alien ships in space and you will beam to each one to either disable or blow them up.
Where should people head to pre-order the Magic and Legend Time Knights?
Right now you can go to Retro Room Games. They are creating a physical cartridge with a box, manual etc.
Click here to order. The digital version Gameboy Color rom will be available in Q1 2023 over at itch.io. You can get a demo of the game right now.
Once this is released, we will also be updating itch.io with other platform releases such as PC, Mac, Linux, Dreamcast and others.
We are also researching how to release on Steam but no confirmations yet.