Magic & Legend Origins

How did we come up with the idea of these games?

When GB Studio appeared, it sparked ideas in my head. I started playing with v2 beta 5 to get used to the capabilities.

My kids were 3 & 4 at the time and just starting to get into video games.

One day, my oldest said he loved video games so much that he wanted to make them when he was older. I casually said, we could probably make our own game together… and they liked the idea and wanted to be in the game.

They love Super Mario and other platformer games like Kirby, and I personally have a collection of retro games consoles from when I was young. So, the boys had been trying many of the original games as well as the newer games on the Nintendo Switch.

Super Mario Land 2 was a favorite, so the first game was inspired by some of those levels, which are large scrolling affairs with various enemies and things to collect.

Bubble Bobble is also a favorite for the boys, and this is partially the inspiration for the 2nd game, Star Seekers along with the overworld maps from Super Mario World.

The last game, recently titled Beam Up, will likely be an action RPG in the vein of Zelda but will also have elements of Metroid / Castlevania sections. However, development for this game has not started yet, so it is just in the ideation stage.

Who are Magic & Legend?

Magic & Legend are actually the real-life nicknames for our kids. Magic is the oldest and is currently 5 (as of Dec 2022) and Legend is his younger brother, who is 4.


Magic is an extreme extrovert and loves people and getting into people’s space… hence the melee weapon and head stomping capabilities.

Legend on the other hand is much more introverted as a person and likes to keep peeps at arm’s length a lot of the time… This is why projectiles are his weapon of choice.

Design rules I follow in the Magic & Legend trilogy

Story Scenes

Throughout the different games, a number of design rules are applied to create the style of the Magic & Legend games. These are as follows

Adult + Alien Story Scene

All adults show in the games are family or friends.

  • Adults talking always have a real photo that has been converted for the Gameboy screen. Typically, these are members of my family
  • Adults also have 16×16 avatars of themselves that are show when talking
  • A solid primary color is chosen then different shades applied to create depth
  • Aliens are always cartoon images of aliens
  • Alien ships are always shown as pixel art
  • A solid primary color is chosen then different shades applied to create depth
Alien ship pixel art and other examples
Kids in anime / manga style

The kids used in the games are typically the children of friends and family either in the UK or US. Anime was a huge inspiration when I was young, and my boys are starting to love the art style and stories too with things like Pokémon or Sailer Moon.

  • Kids who are not Magic & Legend are always anime / manga character art.
  • Kids also have 16×16 avatars that are the first letter of their name
  • A solid primary color is chosen then different shades applied to create depth
Weapon pixel art behind brick wall with different shades

The weapons used against the aliens and other creatures in the game generally either came from suggestions from the boys during the making of the game, or they are appropriate for the time era.

  • Custom art behind a brick wall
  • A solid primary color is chosen for each weapon then different shades applied to create depth
Other Items

In the first game, I wanted to go back to my roots a bit. I am originally from the UK so the choice of the Crown Jewels and the London setting in the final level of the first game was a natural choice.

  • Other items such as the Crown Jewels etc. are to be shown as converted photographs
  • A solid primary color is chosen then different shades applied to create depth

Why the different characters and weapons in the first game?

Honestly, the attention span of a 3 and 4 year old is pretty short, so the original intention was to hold interest. I am also a fan of Quantum Leap (I am excited to see the new series remake), so the time travel of that series and leaping into characters was an easy to understand plot and excuse to go back in time.

Why is the first game so easy?

Again, to appear to the 3 & 4 year old’s it was originally intended for. I also have nephews and neices of a similar age. The difficulty of the games will slow increase as they are released. The kids will be older by the time those games are finished.

The length of the first game, only being 5 levels is also intentional for the same reasons.

Will all your future games feature Magic & Legend?

Unknown… I am sure I will explore in other directions once this trilogy is complete.

Will you always develop for the Nintendo Gameboy?

Again, nothing is decided yet, but I am considering using NES Maker, Game Studio by Yo Yo Games and I have also seen a WYSIWYG Nintendo DS game engine that I would like to try.

I may also try rom hacking such as Alex Kidd, Sonic the Hedgehog or Super Mario World.