Indie Spotlight: Richard Bannister (Retro Games for Mac Collection)
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Richard Bannister is best-known for his Mac-native emulator ports of BSNES, Nestopia, Genesis Plus, and Boycott Advance, plus some two-dozen others, which he built and maintained through the 2000s and returned to relatively recently after a long hiatus. But he also has a fantastic game music player called Audio Overload (with Mac and Windows versions) that supports more than 30 console/handheld/computer file formats.
And this year, during a period of unemployment, he decided to flex his creative muscles and make some games. He's up to 20 in all, each inspired by a classic arcade game or early home computer puzzle game — and very often by multiple variants of a particular game — and he's selling them on the Mac App Store. He's got his own version of Mr Do — via Amstrad CPC clone Fruity Frank — called Fascinating Fruit, and a Snake/Pac-Man hybrid called Wacky Snake, plus a Crystal Quest reimagining called Space Diamonds and a JezzBall/Barrack clone called Little Green Balls that I can personally attest feels just like the original. And many others, available individually or in two discounted bundles.
In this interview we discuss his Retro Games for Mac collection — its inspirations, design, development, cheat codes(!), and future plans — as well as his 90s shareware games and his contributions to the emulator scene.
- His Breakout-style game is called Shaded Bricks
- It's inspired by Commodore 64 game Crillion
- 1992 Mac game Diamonds
- Fascinating Fruit is based on the arcade game Mr Do
- But also on Amstrad CPC game Fruity Frank
- cheat codes include "drfauci" to give your character a mask and "fiveaday" to swap fruits and vegetables out for junk food (see below for how they change the appearance)
- I covered the rise and fall of Ambrosia Software in a PAX talk that you can read/listen to here
- Ambrosia Software's Pengo clone Bubble Trouble is no longer available, except via abandonware sites
- Ice Squishing
- His shareware games included Smashing Windows and Star Chaos
- Pang aka Buster Brothers arcade game
- Crystal Quest is available on modern systems (Mac, Windows, Xbox 360) thanks to the company co-founded by its creator Patrick Buckland
- There was indeed a Game Boy port, though the game was never going to work well with d-pad controls
- Richard Bannister's original shareware clone was called Space Debris
- His new version is Space Diamonds
- Richard Bannister's emulators
- Audio Overload
- You can find some of the games and emulators John Stiles made at the Macintosh Garden
- Frodo C64 emulator (and Richard Bannister's Mac port)
- French-territory-only computer, the Thomson MO5
- Cities Skylines
- Wacky Snake - Pac-Man/Snake hybrid
- You can send RB feedback via the form at bannister.org/email or from inside any of his games
And here's an illustrative example of how Fascinating Fruit looks normally versus when you turn on two of its cheats — the "fiveaday" and "drfauci" codes: