What's the best game development method/platform/etc. for creating 2D, 8-bit-ish games, as quickly as possible?

My go to is always Pico-8 or tic-80 or Love2D if I think they are asking from a "I want to learn how games work" perspective, but the question was asked of me today from a new perspective.

Basically, I have a competent computer user (and artist) who is not a developer and has no interest in becoming one, who wants to create a (very simple) computer game Fast.

I'm still thinking TIC-80, probably, but I wanted to reach out and see if you had any other suggestions.

She's really looking to do a take on a classic arcade game. If she was looking for an RPG, I'd push for RPG Maker or GBStudio, but she's really looking for something a little more 1978 than 1988.

Honestly, something like the old Shoot-'Em-Up Construction Kit would probably be perfect? Is there anything like that today?

We talked through a couple of options, and started playing with SEUCK for the c64.

It has, so far, proved to be a hit!

I know there are c64 emulators for basically every platform including the browser, but I don't know much about how to package a c64 game such that it can run as a standalone application for various platforms.

I'll fiddle with browser based solutions first, I think.

@ajroach42 free edition might be a good candidate. I generally haven't bothered with Construct 3 due to its SaaS model but Construct Classic and Construct 2 were great as kind of a modern Klik & Play.

Construct 2 is also still available for download, though it is abandoned and unsupported, and Windows-only -

@ajroach42 though speaking of Klik & Play, Clickteam is still around, and apparently there's even a free edition of their latest tool, though I have not tried it and I don't know what its limitations are

@ajroach42 you mean the one on C64? I was about to suggest that one.

@loke It's honestly the best option I can come up with?

I'm setting it up myself to see if I can write a tutorial.

@ajroach42 it's been decades since I used it, but I seem to recall you could simply draw the paths of the enemies and they'd follow it as you fly over the map.


If you're looking for something designed to be easy to use intended to make 2D games, then Game Maker Studio

@dave I'll recommend it, although I imagine it won't work for her as a linux user.

@ajroach42 I'm also looking for one - more info & some contenders here:

If she is more interested in how to make games vs how to code games, I can recommend which is like a FOSS Construct recommended before.

TIC-80 is great (I helped some with it few years back), but honestly Pico-8 has (or at least had) an amazing community that will be a godsend to any new gamedev (it was for me).

@ajroach42 If she is interested in actual restrictions or making games for classic hardware, there is always:

- NESmaker - paid to make nes games -

- Multi Platform Game Designer - - free and make games for ZX spectrum and other 8bit micros.

@ajroach42 You're welcome. I will keep tabs on this thread, hoping someone will find something I missed that I really like. I am still looking for basically a pico-8/tic-80 but without the restrictions (or just a simple way to setup your own resolution and palettes).

@ajroach42 Also, gDevelop has a very welcoming Discord server from what I remember. When I was messing with it they helped me a lot.

I should finally make something with it. The project I worked on in the past was kinda outside of scope of it, and I was fighting the engine, but I think it would be great for making arcade style games!

@ajroach42 take a look at the Haxe language and HaxeFlixel framework.

@ajroach42 I think perhaps Scratch? It's like today's hypercard for kids.

And if she likes the approach she could then move on to learn text-based coding languages.

@ajroach42 You could try GB Studio for making Game Boy games. LateralGM+Enigma-dev for a Game Maker clone, though if you are using Windows, you can grab one of the older Game Maker versions by Mark Overmars off of Also, there is a DOS version of Love2D called LoveDOS, but it does not support sound. OHRRPGCE for RPG is ok.

You might want to also look at my the recommended software section at I have a lot of tools listed under DOS's Development section.

@TheOuterLinux I was looking for arcade games specifically in this instance, and for that SEUCK was a success,

GB Studio is my go to for lots of people, though. It's just such an easy tool, and I love what it is capable of. If I ever have a real vacation, I might make a full game in gbstudio.

Haven't heard about LateralGM befor, or LoveDOS, I'll look in to those.


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