If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to play Super Smash Bros. a decade before it came out — with online gaming tech that didn’t exist in the 80s — Super Tilt Bro. is your answer. The retro homebrew NES game pays homage to Nintendo’s fighting franchise (while steering clear of Nintendo IP) in a lovingly crafted passion project now seeking funding on Kickstarter.
The platform-fighting game will ship as an NES cartridge using a custom memory management controller (MMC) with a WiFi chipset and antenna, allowing for online matches and software updates. It even uses modern tricks like rollback netcode, which predicts each player’s moves to account for potential network lag, correcting itself quickly if needed. In addition to online play, you can enjoy local co-op or try its solo story mode with AI-controlled opponents. It’s retro gaming with some modern luxuries, and Ars Technica notes that it “shines when played on a real NES and CRT television set.”
Super Tilt Bro. has been years in the making. Developer Sylvain Gadrat began work in 2016 on an ode to both the Smash Bros. franchise and NES pixel art aesthetics. After soliciting feedback from friends and fellow enthusiasts, Gadrat unveiled the retro platformer’s first version two years later, with subsequent iterations fine-tuning the game engine while adding new characters, stages and initial online capabilities. He even shipped a more rudimentary WiFi-friendly cartridge in a limited run of 50 copies. In sum, this isn’t some hasty money grab: Today’s version is the culmination of seven years of dedication.
At publication, the game’s Kickstarter campaign has raised nearly $60,000, surpassing its initial $44,182 goal with 26 days to go. If you want to contribute, you’ll need to pay €55 (just over $60) for a WiFi-capable cartridge; a €15 pledge will get you a digital copy to play with an emulator. Delivery is expected in April 2024. Finally, you can download a demo here to see if Super Tilt Bro.’s retro vibe suits you.