Game Builder Garage launched on the Switch last Friday. In less than a week, users have already used Nintendo’s visual programming tool to craft their own takes on Sonic the Hedgehog, Doom Eternal, and the obligatory remake of Kojima’s P.T. demo. And don’t even get me started on screaming event presenter Toad.
In Game Builder Garage, the building blocks of game programming come to life as little characters called “Nodons.” If you want an object to appear on the screen, you drop in an Object Nodon. If you want that object to hurt the player when they touch it, you go into that object’s settings and set it to “Destructive.” If you want to press the B button to jump, you drop in a Control Nodon and link it to the B button input on the Person Nodon that represents your in-game character.
It’s a simple programming language that can get really complex in the right hands. For example, here’s a small peek at what’s going on under the hood of the “Doom Eternal Garage Teaser” created by Game Builder Garage user MrTiffles!.
Looks pretty complex, right? The cool thing about Game Builder Garage games is that once a creator shares their game code, as MrTiffles! did on Twitter, you can download their creations, make a copy, and fiddle about with their code. Tweak their game to add your own spin or mine their code for tricks to use in your own projects.
Here are some of the best creations I’ve come across in Game Builder Garage so far.
Programmer: Yukon Wainczak
Programmer ID: P 007 XVM 68D
Game ID: G 002 LRM JWV
This homage to Superhot Team’s groundbreaking time-bending indie shooter doesn’t quite function the same as the original. Instead of time only moving when the player moves, enemies only begin moving slowly when the player enters a certain range. The vibe is pretty perfect, though. Game Builder Garage’s default player models in red are a great stand-in for Superhot’s bad guys.
Sonic 3D Green Hill 2.0
Programmer ID: P 003 77N KWP
Game ID: G 008 1WD PCT
This early attempt at creating a Sonic game in Game Builder Garage impresses the hell out of me, mainly for the custom sprite work. While a lot of the coding in the program is connecting Nodons and adjusting parameters, making your own sprites is a bit more involved. Check it out.
I do not have the patience to do that, so I applaud those who do. Great job so far, AliVe. If you grab this one, be sure to check out the Sanic sphere off to one corner. It’s explosively wonderful.
Programmer ID: P 002 NL8 NVW
Game ID: G 002 XG2 9WT
An attempt has been made to recreate Kojima Productions’ Playable Teaser, better know as P.T., using Game Builder Garage, and it isn’t too shabby. Programmer DigiGee plays with the tool’s Effect Nodon to create an eerie darkness in the distance that never quite resolves into light. Each pass through the creepy hallway introduces some new element, like a rapidly disappearing spirit or a suddenly open bathroom door. It’s nowhere near as scary as the original, but it’s a nifty little homage.
Programmer ID: P 000 C9K GH4
Game ID: G 001 X6H M41
Nothing too complex here, just a lovingly-crafted recreation of a Mario Kart track, starring the main himself in custom pixel form. Race Mario and his kart around the track with ease, jumping around turns to make sure he doesn’t fall off the course, as you do. Programmer ZeldaBoi is one to watch, already uploading this game, an F-Zero homage, a first-person Zelda, and a little taste of Earthbound.
Just the screenshot makes me ache for Mother 3. It’s not fair.
Just like game codes, programmer codes can be used to look-up and download Game Builder Garage creations, so give ZeldaBoi a go.
GTA Garage Edition
Programmer ID: P 000 YWK N48
Game ID: G 001 0YN 90M
I found Shuggy’s GTA Garage Edition via MyGarage.Games, a community website put together to help Game Builder Garage creators connect with players and vice versa. It’s an incredibly helpful site, especially when considering there is no way to discover random games in Game Builder Garage — you have to have a game or programmer ID.
GTA Garage Edition lets you run around a rudimentary town, hunting for eight bundles of cash. There’s a souped-up car to drive, people (well, statues) to punch, buttons to press, and hoops to leap through. It’s an incredible feat of programming in a tool that’s not even been out a week. Want to make your own? Just copy this.
Well, that and all the rest of it. You might need to scroll around a bit.
Doom Eternal Garage Teaser 1.1
Programmer ID: P 006 63V 399
Game ID: G 002 CYJ CW1
I’d be remiss if I didn’t get MrTiffles! some more recognition for their work on Doom Eternal Garage. They’ve built a first-person shooter with not one but three different “realistic” weapons to swap between. Avatars charge you, spawning bullets as they come. You can dash or jump or open fire, as you please. Once the last enemy dies there’s a little funfetti explosion, which I wish Doom Eternal proper had.
Here’s a trailer for the previous version. That’s right, MrTiffles! has made multiple versions of this game in under a week.
Toad Hosts a Prestigious Event
Programmer ID: P 003 B8J Y4V
Game ID: G 004 M9T 3R5
Now for the main attraction. It is a prestigious event, as the title implies. If I could make an animated GIF scream, you would hate me so much right now. Fortunately, programmer Jalli has tweeted out a short video, which gets the point of this game across nicely.
— Jalli (@Jalli128) June 12, 2021
The game recreations are lovely, but give me Toad screaming on command in front of a studio audience any day. I want this played at my funeral.