A ‘Mandalorian’ Game Boy game? Unique pandemic hobby for Rochester-based artist

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — You may remember Eric Wilder as the artist behind the incredible typewriter art, with subjects ranging from memes, to video characters, to even the Mona Lisa. Now, Wilder — who says “I just like to tinker” — is tackling another pandemic project:

A GameBoy game based off of the hit TV show, “The Mandalorian.”

“Basically over the summer, and I was trying to find ways to occupy myself,” Wilder said.

In this meandering phase, he found an old Game Boy Color, the iconic handheld gaming device from Nintendo. It was released in 1998, and along with its game cartridges, it was still playing well.

MORE | Wilder’s unique typewriter art

As he was delving into some old (“not every good” in his words) Star Wars games, this thought crossed his mind:

“I woke up one morning, and I wondered if I could one on my own,” he said.

Sure enough, with a liberal amount of searching around, he will able to find the software, and tutorials he needed to start started, along with some atavistic knowledge of BASIC code from a computer science class or two.

His first game design venture wasn’t the “Mando” game; rather it was as a “meta” game, where the player would interact with the environment of a design firm, while they waited for a client to come back with feedback on a project. A process Wilder is quite familiar with.

After he finished “Tiny Design Agency,” he decided to move on to something else. The space western “The Mandalorian” has been a hit for Disney+, and with his eight-year-old son Reid, pushing him on, it seemed like the obvious choice.

MORE |Rochester’s unknown ‘Mandalorian’ connection

“I just wanted to create a little environment where you could play around with The Mandalorian, Baby Yoda, stuff like that,” he said.

Weeks later, he has moved from just creating a single environment to making levels, adding in shooting mechanics for the player and enemies, space ship battles, and new characters.

The Star Wars universe is a sprawling and massive universe, with lore, characters, and settings abound. “The Mandalorian” is no different. That made Wilder focus on which story to use.

No spoilers:

“The one that I’m working on is going to follow the plot of the chapter ‘The Sins,'” he said. “I thought that (episode) was a great scenario where you can jump in, and there’s a lot more action involved. It also takes away the complication of taking away other characters.”

He also says that throughout the game, he will be added new characters and new ways to interact with the environment that are his original ideas, and of his own design.

Wilder says that this has even become a family project. His eight year old son Reid (who just so happened to school our digital content reporter on how to screen share through Zoom), deisgned a title slate that has been added to the game:

As for distribution model of this game, Wilder jokes about being unable to pay the Star Wars licensing fee. A fact that is certainly true, and he equates this project to fan fiction. There is a massive “underground” market for this kind of work.

Wilder has even found ways to share this new game both for people who want to play this game on their computers, using software called an “emulator” that mimics a Game Boy for a PC or Mac, but has also found what are essentially blank cartridges that he can put the game on.

So while this might not exactly be coming to a store, website, or Game Boy near you, that doesn’t stop Wilder, who is motivated by his like-minded friends.

“I want to make these for people I know will enjoy them.”

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