Old School Gamer Magazine chats with “Flap Happy” creator and Refresh Games CEO Ryan Carson, who discusses the development process and why the experience was a lifelong dream for him. A nifty new NES project developed for Mega Cat Studios, Flap Happy definitely has our attention.

Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?

Ryan Carson: I’d been playing and become a fan of the original version made by a good friend @Jayenkai and thought it might be doable for me to port over to the NES in one way or another, with my own flair added to it. It is effectively a fan game I guess.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What was your role in the game?

Carson: Coding it from scratch, porting graphics over to keep in mind the nes sprite limitations, I’ve probably foolishly been on a mission to code it all, so, in-house music engine, sfx, etc. It’s probably not how it should be done but feels more authentic to me which is important.

Old School Gamer Magazine: How did you get involved in the industry?

Carson: I released some games for Mobile, OUYA and the ill-fated Gamestick console back in 2013 – 2015, enjoyed it a lot but wanted to challenge myself with lower level languages. Got introduced to Gameboy Development in GBDK which is still great fun and then NES Development in ASM thanks to Mega Cat Studios. I’ve enjoyed programming ever since I was first put in front of a computer though, I doubt I’ll ever stop loving coding.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What was development like?

Carson: Challenging!


I’d made a couple of smaller demos or test games prior to this one for the NES, one of which I’ll revisit after this one’s completed and those games got my head around a lot of the starting tricks within Assembly. Flap Happy built on from those with more complex level generation which was tough to implement. I’ve learnt a lot more about Assembly and how to organize it for future releases though which should speed things up a lot!

Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?

Carson: It’ll be my first NES Homebrew release, which is one of my childhood dreams, y’know, to have a game I made released on a NES, I used to make my own NES game boxes for games I’d like to make for it as a kid around 8 years old so, this is kinda one of the life goals. It’s also kinda cool with the whole procedural generation to cram over 1000 levels into a 40kb cartridge, I’m quite happy about that :stuck_out_tongue:

Old School Gamer Magazine: What games influenced this one the most?

Carson: Well, the original Flapadiddle for sure, as a fan game it’s really the main source of inspiration, thanks again to @Jayenkai for being so cool about this, it means a lot.

Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

Carson: Not really, although my son wants me to show it off during his birthday party coming up which is very sweet of him, love you T-bob.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What were the major lessons learned?

Carson: In development? Organizing my code in assembly is so much more necessary than in higher level languages where you can get away with being a bit more loose with things, mapping memory and dealing with pointers and pointers to pointers was fun and it reinforced the whole, if I stick at it, it’ll eventually get done mentality in mie.

Old School Gamer Magazine: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?

Carson: I think this happens naturally but as gaming culture has become more ingrained in society we tend to become more blaize with regards to them, or the implementation of them has become more refined so we don’t notice it as much. Older gameplay mechanics aren’t going away anytime soon in my opinion.


Old School Gamer Magazine:
How do you want this game to be remembered?

Carson: I don’t know, it’s a first release by myself so it’s quite a personal project, despite being a fan game. My main hope is that people enjoy playing it and enjoy the next game I make.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?

Carson: More NES games, more cutesy animal protagonists.

Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add?

Carson: If you want to follow my odd brand of development, design and other passions, follow me on twitter @refreshgamesuk

For a more worksafe version, follow me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/refreshgames/

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Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.

Patrick Hickey Jr. Patrick Hickey Jr. (96 Posts)

Patrick Hickey, Jr., is the founder and editor-in-chief of ReviewFix.com and a lecturer of English and journalism at Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, his video game coverage has been featured in national ad campaigns by top publishers the likes of Nintendo, Deep Silver, Disney and EA Sports. His upcoming book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Game Developers," from McFarland and Company, has already earned praise from Forbes, Huffington Post, The New York Daily News and MSG Networks. He is also a former editor at NBC and National Video Games Writer at the late-Examiner.com