Hi all! I’m Dana, and I combine my hobby of Game Boy video game developer with a full-time job in a company that has nothing to do with video games. I can say that professionally I am on the sidelines. Of course, I would love to live developing video games, but is very complicated for an indie developer, and even more so if I limit myself to the Gameboy console. I have been learning C, C++ and Python several years ago, but I never work as a programmer.
The Game Boy was the first console that I bought with my own money. I remember the sacrifice of that summer of ‘91 that surely stayed engraved on fire, watching my brothers enjoying candies and small toys, and I biting my nails to saving every coin that fell into my hands. I think that was the beginning of a great friendship.
I currently have the entire Game Boy game collection made up of all published games in Japan, US and Europe, unlicensed games and several homebrew cartridges. So, I think I have a good relationship with this brick!
I started 9 years ago developing PC games and browser games, and after that, iPhone and Android games….. but I never ended up feeling satisfied. One day I found the GBDK (the Gameboy development kit), with the Tile designer interface and Map Builder. Knowing C programming, I wanted to try it and it hooked me.
Creating games for Game Boy is quite similar to the Oulipo movement of the ’60s (Ouvrier de littérature potentielle) – Creativity by restriction: Make a game that sizes between 32kb and 1MB max, with a 160×144 pixels resolution, use only 4 colours or 3 colours in the case of sprites, with a limit of 40 objects per screen, no more than 10 objects per line, 256 tiles max, music limited to 4 channels, … all difficulties!, so I started in 2016 doing several minor games that I ended up hanging on itch.io with a pseudonym that I prefer not to let know.
I’ve tried other tools to develop, like Chris Maltby’s platform, GB Studio. It’s a fantastic tool for people with a lot of creativity but without so much knowledge of programming. If you complement it with some programming concepts, you can achieve beautiful things. One of my previous game ‘Lunar Journey’ has entirely been assembly with GB Studio.
Greenboy Games is solely dedicated to produce and sell GB games in physical format (cartridges). When I decided to create the Greenboy Games studio, the spirit that I wanted to maintain has been the preservation of the cartridge game and the Gameboy as a console. The reason is that playing on a current PC that supports a game with lots of CPU, GPU, and RAM surpasses the gaming experience with a tiny 32kb games. Neither the music can be equally worked, nor the graphics, nor the colour palette, nor the dimensions of the game screen, and so on with long etcetera.