Minit is a deliberately low-fi Zelda-like that harkens back even further than most retro indie titles, and now it’s taking the ultimate step to yesteryear with a full port to the Commodore 64. It’s not just a fan project, either – it’s coming courtesy of Thalamus Digital, with the full blessing of the original developers and publisher Devolver Digital.
Andy Roberts tells Commodore Format that “Minit64 came about purely by accident,” over a conversation with former collaborator Jon Wells. They approached Devolver about making the port, and the publisher “loved the idea, so Jon and I played the game exhaustively then spent a couple of months putting together a small proof-of-concept demo on the C64.”
You can see some of that work in the video below, but “the C64 demo is just a handful of the 100+ screens from the finished game. Even though the original game seems quite simplistic, this apparent simplicity is extremely deceptive. Our biggest single technical challenge was how to organise the colossal amount of graphics data: the game uses hundreds of unique 2×2 tiles, and there simply aren’t enough characters in a standard C64 character set to display some of the screens in the game.”
One of the other technical considerations is simply the size of the C64 screen – it’s not quite tall enough to fit the original game, so “ the utmost care had to be taken to make sure that the screens still flow in the same way without affecting the gameplay (especially given the time is a crucial factor in navigating the environment).”
Minit64 is currently scheduled to launch on cartridge for the Commodore 64 later this year. The image above is a mock-up of potential packaging, but we’ll be waiting to see exactly how the game is delivered for a while yet.
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If you haven’t played Minit, the idea is that you die every 60 seconds, but you unlock new items and checkpoints to help you make it a little further on each attempt. It’s a terrific game even on modern platforms, but to see it recaptured on ancient hardware is even more impressive.