This game is what spawned out of the vision I had for a full-on game of !Clik! that I programmed for one of the mini-game compos. It went through a variety of changes during development, actually. The original ROM was released to the public on April 26, 2011, and a short run of carts went on sale on May 04, 2011.
NES Virus Cleaner is pretty much a spoof of the NES Cleaning Kit. That thing barely helped clean the NES, just as NES Virus Cleaner doesn’t do much for removing “viruses” from your NES. You guide Clik, the hero, around inside your NES and grab viruses in the various spots they are placed. The ultimate goal is to get to the lockout chip and destroy Virii, the main virus. The obstacles in the game are electric bolts, electric sparks, disappearing blocks, a homing missile system, and of course, time. If you run out of time on a certain level, the game is over. If you get hit by an enemy, you will respawn at the point where you picked up the last virus. It’s a pretty simple concept overall. I tried to cover everything in the tutorial, but I did in fact miss the part about respawning at the last picked up virus. Oh well, things happen!
I learned a hell of a lot during this process. The use of jump tables, utilizing metatiles in 16×16 blocks, ways of enemies interacting with a background, wrote my own palette animation routine, and most of all, that polishing a game at the end of the development process is tedious as hell! A lot went into this whole thing. Another lesson I learned was to listen to your beta testers!
The testers I had for this game were great, and helped TREMENDOUSLY in finding a proper balance of play. They even came up with some of the great ideas that turned this game into what it is; respawning at last virus pick-up, invincibility period during respawning (and then lessening the amount of time),… there was quite a bit of feedback, and I’m grateful for the awesome team I had!
Another huge help was Drag letting me use his music engine, DragNSF1. Writing a music engine is quite a pain in the butt, and to have that available, which also allows for sound effects during music, was a BIG help. Big big big thanks to him! He has also given me permission to include it in the source code download of the game. I only had to do some minor tweaks to get it set up for use in ca65 (it was originally written for DASM).
I’d also like to thank Airwalk Studios for making a small run of this game for people to purchase. It turned out excellent, and was enough to get me to the NintendoAge campout this year, too. Of course, good ol’ Kevin Hanley did excellent work on the label, per usual : )
Here are the download links and some screenshots for it:
NES Virus Cleaner ROM, label, and full source code (the ROM included is the published version; source code not fully commented)
NES Virus Cleaner ROM (this is the non-published version)
NES Virus Cleaner NSF
NES Virus Cleaner label
Here are a couple of reviews that I stumbled on if you are interested: