Farbs Releases ROM CHECK FAIL Source

Mario can step on Goombas, but wouldn’t Link be able to just slash them away just as easily? Perhaps, but could Link slash away the monsters in Gauntlet as well? I’m pretty sure the player ship from Space Invaders could just blast those away, but that ship can only shoot upwards and the monsters can come from any side. Perhaps Pac-Man could eat them: he can supposedly eat anything as long as he has a power pellet. Could he eat Space Invaders too? Or Asteroids?

Over thee years ago, Jarrad “Farbs” Woods (Captain Forever, currently working on Card Hunter) gave us a way to answer these deep, deep questions by firing up The Video Game Name Generator, slapping together a game in a little over two weeks, and winning TIGSource’s Video Game Name Generator Competition with ROM CHECK FAIL. Since then, people have been able to figure out how to deal with a random combination of characters, enemies, stage composition, and music from really old games every five seconds. And people who’ve played the game know that sometimes…life just isn’t fair.

One minute you’re Link, slashing away at Asteroids, then suddenly you turn into the player ship from Space Invaders and the Asteroids turn into Goombas walking towards you on your sides. You can’t shoot them, you can only shoot upwards ‘cuz…you know…ou’re from Space Invaders and they used to always come from above, didn’t they? If only that ship could shoot from its sides…

Scenario #2: Enemies are Arkanoid blocks below Space Invaders' player ship. You can't shoot downwards.

Well, now you can make it so (with a bit of work)! Early this month, perhaps in a fit of nostalgia, Farbs decided to release the source code for ROM CHECK FAIL. In Farbs’ own words:

Three years ago I released ROM CHECK FAIL, and it’s haunted me for three years since. Not only is it a fantastic game and debatably the high point of my career, it’s also an idea crying out for further exploration, and a litigation timebomb. I want to do more with it, but I also want to retain ownership of the shirt on my back, the pants I sometimes wear, and the house they all live in. After much ponderance I’ve decided to set the idea free. I don’t mean free as in beer, since it’s freeware already. I mean free as in Free Software Foundation.

Even better, the code is a single Python file! There’s only one file to worry about, and there’s no need to recompile. With a little Python knowledge, you could be making the Space Invaders ship turn around! Or perhaps give Mario some fireballs! Or maybe give Pac-Man some fireballs!

Be forewarned, however, that navigating the code might not be a cakewalk. “[T]his code be dragons. I wrote ROM CHECK FAIL over two and a bit weeks outside my full-time job, so it really was just slapped together,” Farbs reminds us.

Think you’re up to the task? Then grab a copy of ROM CHECK FAIL (it’s free) and follow the instructions on Farbs’ blog post. As Farbs said:

Please take this file somewhere crazy. Be awesome, then tell me all about it.

 

Title: ROM CHECK FAIL
Platform: PC
Release Date: March, 2008 (source code: October, 2011)

[Via Farbs’ blog and TIGSource’s Video Game Name Generator Competition. Screenshot from the ROM CHECK FAIL game.]

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