Demake Roundup: No Man’s Sky

How can we at (New) Retro Games HQ make reference to the trending No Man’s Sky that brings in virtual magical social proof currency while keeping it real retro (old)? Luckily, indie developers made the opportunity for us, and now we have remixes like the Atarified Old Man’s Sky, plumbalicious No Mario’s Sky and pixeltastic Norman’s Sky to write about.


Of course, if we really cared about attracting readers via dubious clickbait methodologies we’d have called this article “X Games That Do No Man’s Sky Better than No Man’s Sky. You Won’t Believe Number #Y! Also, No Man’s Sky. #NoMansSky please click me oh god”. But seriously, f*$k that.

Read on to see some choice remakes and reimaginings, that are all entirely more free than NMS and also arguably more fun (only applies if you are the crazy old man from Rick and Morty).

The Original


No Man’s Sky is a classic space simulator released by Hello Games way back in 2016. It was notable for being one of the first, if not the first, games to try and emulate an entire universe with a quintilion-bajillion galaxies or something. So kind of like Daggerfall with more planets and less everything else.

Doing for Kickstarter what Charles Ponzi did to pyramid schemes, NMS seems to have kicked up a bit too much space debris into the eyes of gullible fools. It’s actually quite an impressive technical achievement, and a pretty one too. But, apparently, humans’ pesky overwhelming desire to have violent conflict/sex with preferred gender/purpose in life means you can’t procedurally generate an entire universe and then put nothing to actually do in it and then expect people to call it “fun”. Millenials, amirite?

No Man’s Sky | Steam

The Demakes

The silver lining is of course, without a little bit of that there wouldn’t be a little bit of this, and what’s more this is all for the comparably cheaper price of $free. The absolutely hilarious thing would be to say how these demakes made by (presumably) grungy middle-aged men in their basement is still better than its still infantile forefather, but all I can think of is you really need to get out more if Sean Murray et, al. gets you so worked up.

Old Man’s Sky

Old Man’s Sky is a cute, pointless little explorer submitted for Ludum Dare 36. Taking gaming back to its roots, OMS represents the peak of NMS’ minimalism by reverting to Atari-era graphics. Zip around to different planets of different environmental hues and interact with the environment. I’ll let you find out how satisfying that is.


Old Man’s Sky | download

No Mario’s Sky

Just like we all share 99% of our genes with primitive apes, all modern video games share 99% of their source code with the original 1985 Super Mario Bros. That’s as true as the totally non-fictional book I wrote about my velociraptor farm (only $199.99 plus shipping for the hardback edition on Amazon).


No Mario’s Sky adds everyone’s favourite plumber, goombas and blocks that mysteriously spit out coins to the infinite, fathomless, hopeless abyss of space. Genocide a planet’s native population, mine it of all resources, then fly away to a new planet and let the consequences of your actions work themselves out.

Update: And of course, because Nintendo has to protect its trademarks to avoid dilution has no sense of humor, it’s already been DMCA’d to death. And lo, DMCA’s Sky is born from the ashes. It retains the neat demake-y essence of No Mario’s Sky, but with arguably less personality, sadly. Since it’s the Internet and old files are impossible to find anywhere, I’m sure noone would ever find a copy of No Mario’s Sky anywhere whatsoever.

No Mario’s Sky | download / No DMCA’s Sky | download

Norman’s Sky

Norman’s Sky is what we call in economics a ‘first mover’. This means it was created not only before these demakes but before NMS itself and possibly before the dawn of time. So, kind of like that annoying guy who always comes out of nowhere and gets in front of you in the supermarket line.


Not content to go with pixel graphics alone, Norman’s Sky reduces the action into 64×64 pixels, while still maintaining the same sort of content of the original. Every dot in the sky can actually be reached, you achieve orbits around bodies, and land on them… And well, nothing really much else. Showing that less is more. Or sometimes about the same. Or also less.

Norman’s Sky | download


Say what you will about No Man’s Sky. While the Steam reviews are mixed toward the negatory, it’s still a beautiful looking game and an impressive achievement. Even if it fell short of expectations I suspect it will play a role as an important step in the future of videogame development.

On the other side of the coin, for those of us that want to enjoy the experience without the high technology, indie devs are always there to fulfill that role in the gaming world. I really liked No Mario’s Sky before the forced re-paint job, but all demakes basically give you the same kind of feeling, and in a way, equally if not more impressive at how much of an AAA game can be recreated with such a small amount to work with.

Article by J.C with additional writing by genesisdoes 


About J.C

I grew up in the dark dingy arcades of the 1980s, blasting heads with Robocop 2, but grew up in an era that spanned the introduction of the x86 home computer, through to the 16-bit revolution, into the polygon age and beyond. I write about food, travel and of course, New Retro Games. I started and contribute to I am also a freelance business researcher, writer, and editor having published academic and corporate articles on innovation and intellectual property.

Posted on September 9, 2016, in Arcade, Platformer, Simulation and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. As a fan of No Man’s Sky (although I haven’t played it much after the first 2 weeks) I think it is fantastic that people are playing with the idea. I have seen similar ideas in progress before on the GameMaker community forums but not anything that was finished!


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