The Great Gatsby for NES


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Rating: 4.4/5 (83 votes)
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DoraThe Great Gatsby for NESYes, really.

No, really!

... well, okay, probably not really really, but The Great Gatsby (for NES) is still pretty glorious. In this retro platformer homage to F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, you play Nick Carraway, who is looking for Jay Gatsby. Who is Gatsby, exactly? You'll have to play to find out!... or, um, maybe you won't really, since this is hardly an accurate retelling of the classic story (for that you might consider the hidden-object game) but it's still fun, silly, bouncy, and a remarkably well designed little homage by Charlie Hoey, Dylan Valentine, Michael DiMotta, and Pete Smith. Move with the [arrow] keys, hit [spacebar] to jump, and throw your trusty hat like a boomerang at enemies with [Z].

Admittedly, there isn't a lot to the game, and players that go in expecting anything more than a very simple platform game are going to be disappointed. Avoid enemies, try not to get hit, and collect coins, martinis, and strike down multiple enemies with a single blow to get a score bonus. This isn't a difficult game; there aren't any tricky jumping sequences, the timer will never be an issue, enemies are all predictable, and the two bosses are almost painfully easy. In fact, the last level is a bit of a let down since it's so short and simple compared to the others.

There are a lot of games out there you could call "retro", mostly because of their choice of aesthetic, but The Great Gatsby is one of the only ones I've ever played that I might honestly believe it belonged on the Nintendo Entertainment System console. It isn't just the visuals, although those are near-pixel perfect examples of old platformers, but rather the whole package. (Check out the stupendous manual art by Michael DiMotta!) Everything from the level design to sound effects to the simple gameplay is reminiscent of a commercially released NES title. At only four levels, The Great Gatsby isn't going to keep you busy for very long, but fans of retro platformers definitely need to check this one out, and the creative team deserves a pat on the back. After it was over, I sort of sat for a few minutes, staring at the monitor and wondering what in the world I'd just played. Then I played it again. Something about this game just makes me happy; it may be weird and it may be short, but it's definitely worth checking out, and I hope we see more from the creative talent behind it in the future.

Play The Great Gatsby for NES

27 Comments

how do you get past the glasses on the train?

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I may be crazy, but I'm a little bit disappointed that it's not *actually* for NES.

Still, this is wonderful! I love it.

Now to try for the no death challenge...

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Just for the info I'm using Chrome and it works, thanks JIG first boss pretty hard.

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Haha I didn't figure out you could shoot until the second level. Beat the whole first level simply by avoidance. Go me, I guess?

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I read this book back in grade school, and this is almost an exact repleca of the story.

To any students who currently have to read this novel, I recommend playing this game in it's place, because this is a very accurate depiciton of the story. Well, everything but the falling chandeliers in the first level.

~sarcasm~

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I was disappointed that you didn't fight wilson as a boss.

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So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaslessly to THE START OF THE FREAKING LEVEL!

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@ps:

Move to the left or right so you're standing between the beams when the eyes moves to that side. When the eyes move to the other side, jump up and throw your hat at them. (I tried standing in the middle at first, but it's virtually (if not literally) impossible not to get hit when you jump.)

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Thanks stu! I didn't realize throwing the hat did anything to the glasses, so I kept avoiding them. Cute game!! I look forward to an NES game of To Kill a Mockingbird and A Catcher in the Rye.

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I started up the game and figured out how to shoot hats, then switched to full screen and could no longer shoot. Went through almost two levels thinking I wasted all my 'ammo', but later realised in full screen mode [Tab] shoots hats instead for some reason.

Aside from that wierd design choice it's pretty awesome.

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Why am I shooting butlers and birds? Weird game. I don't like that you don't seem to be able to pause it.

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Playing this was the first time in my life I've ever been something approaching glad to have read that terrible book.

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You know what's funny? I should be reading The Great Gatsby right now but instead I`m playing The Great Gatsby. Is this meta?

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This needs a mute button and a cutscene skip or speed up feature.

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It doesn't have a mute button that I'm aware of, but you can skip cutscenes by pressing the spacebar.

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Simple and good fun. Perfect retro work inclunding nice use of ingrish.

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@SkylerF: As @Oi Ocha said, spacebar skips cutscenes. As for muting, you might need to hit up the flash options or just mute your computer.

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I'm on a mac, and accidentally discovered that you can pause the game by pressing the enter button.

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page February 20, 2011 6:13 PM

This game is note-for-note perfect. Everything Dora said is true - this isn't just how NES games looked, this is how NES games were. All it's missing are those graphical glitches most 3rd party games had that made sprites look insubstantial (or sometimes disappear completely), and brutal enemy respawn. (but honestly...who wants any of that? Might as well thrown in flying enemies that follow SINE-wave curves while we're at it)

All in all, well executed!

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hellothere February 21, 2011 5:39 PM

Pretty fun game and it stays true to the novel. Someone should make one of The Catcher in the Rye next!

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This game is so addictive! I really hate that you can't kill enemies by jumping on them though. I keep doing it out of habit & grr, it's annoying! Maybe NES games never let you do that anyway? I guess I've played too many GameBoy/DS games!

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Yaaah gatsby! I ain't old, but we had a NES when I was little and it frustrated me SO MUCH... probably because my sister never gave me long enough to play it before she took it back. Hooray for retro games!

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soulsteamer Author Profile Page April 12, 2013 4:09 AM

This game reminds me of simpler times when hats were used as Frisbees and newspaper distributors needed to dodge obstacles.

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Bahaha, this game is amazing! Does anyone know if I could post a link to this on Tumblr? I don't know if that would be copyright infringement.

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Hi Camille! As long as you're not hosting the game yourself and provide a link to the official site with credits as to who made it, I can only imagine they'd love having more people see their game. :) You wouldn't be infringing on anyone's copyrights if you were just posting a link to a publicly available game... just like we did with our review!

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Awesome, thanks, Dora!

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