As 2020 was mercifully coming to an end, something rather unexpected happened in the world of video games.
In late December, a new PlayStation game was released.
Not a new game for brand new PlayStation 5 or even one for the still popular PlayStation 4. That still happens all the time.
Instead, a new game designed for the now 25-year-old PlayStation 1 console was released online and is free to download and play.
"Magic Castle" is a game that was being worked on by Japanese developers way back in 1997. The game was being developed on Sony's Net Yaroze, which was a more affordable version of the regular development kit the major studios used to build their games and make sure they run properly on Sony's hardware. Net Yaroze was designed to give more smaller developers a chance to make games for the PlayStation.
"Magic Castle" is an action game in which you choose your character from four classes, each with different abilities, and must defeat enemies to clear 20 floors of a castle. The game looks like a 25-year-old video game, but it has some modern touches like dynamic music that changes with what's happening.
The developers initially pitched the game to Sony, which saw the potential in the developers but wanted to hire them to work on a different game instead. However, the team was committed to finishing "Magic Castle" and turned down Sony's request.
According to a story by Kotaku.com, the developers got close to making the game with another "company that produces famous Japanese RPG’s," but that fell apart as well. Eventually, the team stopped working on the game in 1998 and went their separate ways. But one of the developers found the source code for the game recently and was able to finish development and release it.
If you want to try out "Magic Castle" for yourself, you can download the title for free at https://archive.org/details/magic-castle-2020-23-dec.
Games get canceled all the time, even ones the developers are passionate about. This team was passionate about making "Magic Castle," otherwise they would have accepted Sony's offer to make a game for it rather than try to finish the game they were working on. I'm sure it took them a lot longer than they expected, but I'm really happy they were able to finish their game and release it to the public.
I hope more developers get that opportunity.
Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Taft Midway Driller: Play Life, Live Games column: New PS1 game released after 20-plus years