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New games: Big Day feels like ‘90s juice in videogame form

Kill many, many 16-bit dudes in this indie throwback that's just launched into early access.

Something I’ve had to understand about myself lately is that I’m getting old, and that means my nostalgia gland kicks into overdrive when I see something that looks like Big Day – a pixel-art shooter that harkens back to the glory days of the Genesis.

It’s Sega’s Genesis system specifically I’m thinking of here, because that console featured a lot of games that had a kind of muddy, grungy look that Nintendo’s bright and fastidious SNES generation kind of shied away from. Big Day features spot-on pixel art, and it has a certain fuzz to it that you only saw on systems like the Genesis and TurboGrafx-16. And it’s about killing lots and lots of dudes.

Granted, some concessions have been made to modernity: Big Day looks quite a bit better than the games from which it draws its inspiration, and you don’t need to blow out a cartridge’s contact points to get it to work. There’s a crispness to the visuals, too, that you never saw in Sega classics like Altered Beast, but the inspiration is there, plain to see.

Another modern thing Big Day does is to crowd the screen with enemies, which is something you just couldn’t do back in 1994. Here, check out the trailer:

Story-wise, Big Day – which launched into early access October 2 on Steam – is in fairly well-tread territory: You’re the good guy and there are zombies, and so you have to kill them. Window dressing, the rest. But at the same time, I’m liking the look of the multiple-hit combos and close-range feel provided by the 16-bit screen-size. That makes shotguns a practical necessity.

There are tons of upcoming games of 2018 to check out, and Big Day is just one of them. I’ll certainly be dabbling with this over the course of the next week.