Retail Clerk '90

Background

In 2019 I released a little Sega Genesis demo called Retail Clerk '89. I don't know if anyone played it. That didn't stop me from planning a sequel. Prior to starting Retail Clerk '89 I sketched out a story arc spanning 1988-2001 all set in the same mall. So this was an idea I had in mind even when working on the first game.

Look, this alleged arc isn't important. The story for each game is fairly short and not especially compelling. These games are all just an excuse to learn how to program old game consoles. My rough plan goes something like:

  1. Retail Clerk '89: Learn how to program any functional game demo on the Sega Genesis.
  2. Retail Clerk '90: Create tools to generate as much code as possible, cross-compile to another 68000 platform that existed in 1990.
  3. Retail Clerk '91: Cross-compile to a non-68000 16-bit platform that existed in 1991.
  4. Retail Clerk '88: Prequel story on some yet-to-be-determined 8-bit platform.
  5. Retail Clerk '92: Attempt to write a Sega CD game, possibly fail.
  6. [... and so on until I get bored with this idea or disappear under mysterious circumstances ...]

I started Retail Clerk 1990 in late 2019, once I got over the burnout of working on 68000 code. When the whole 2020 thing hit I thought "Great, now I have time to finish it." which I proceeded to not do. Rather than using my newfound time wisely I became incredibly demotivated and instead wrote some TurboGrafx-16 game guides. I suppose that's not the worst possible use of my time.

So I started back up on Retail Clerk '90 in 2021. There are some new characters and scenery but most of the time has been spent on the tooling. I have this vague goal of creating tools to build adventure-like games for classic consoles. I realize I could achieve this goal with the Retail Clerk '89 codebase. That would also drive me to total boredom. I got that demo to a place where I'm not completely mortified by it and now I'd like to never touch it again. There is of course a chance I decide to port that to the SuperGrafx because I'm all weird like that.

Some screenshots:

Title screen

Starting location

New map style

This mostly plays the same as Retail Clerk '89 with a few notable changes:

Retail Clerk '90 is written in 68000 assembly language and is open source under The MIT License. The build & code generation tools are written in Java and under the same license. Some third-party code is under different licenses. For the latest source code pay a visit to the GitHub project page.

Like Retail Clerk '89, this demo would likely have an ESRB rating of E. I consciously try to avoid content that may be offensive. In these games I incorporate references to current (for the time) events because the characters may be influenced by them. There is definitely satire, or attempts at satire, in these demos. Typically it's poking fun at pop culture from the era. I'm not trying to make political statements with any of this but I certainly have unconscious bias that could shape how things are represented. Games have always been an escape from real-world drama for me. I like to think these small games can be a brief distraction too and try to keep them drama-free.


Setting

Retail Clerk '90 is set in Bayhurst Mall which is loosely based off malls I either worked in or frequented. There have been a few small changes since 1989.

Bayhurst Mall

Assuming I continue working on these demos the mall will evolve and grow.

Here's how it looks in screenshot form:

Bayhurst Mall in screenshot form


You'll perhaps notice how it looks tackier than the previous game. This is not an accident.

Characters

Here are the main characters in the story:

Main characters

From left to right they are:

Among the mall employees are some new and returning faces:

Mall employees

There are still not a ton of shoppers:

Mall shoppers

Shoppers are the worst anyway. This game is about helping out your fellow mall workers.

Some old friends from the last game just might pay a visit on winter break, while one is stuck working at the mall another year:

Returning characters

There are few other characters to meet along the way:

Other characters


Progress (as of April 2021)

The rough status of game is:


Download

I expect some rough demos in 2021, no promises. I have a personal goal of finishing it before the end of the year.

All source code is available on the GitHub project page


Compatibility

Things this should work on:


Never Asked Questions (NAQ)

These are roughly the same as Retail Clerk '89:


This page uses Lightbox2 by Lokesh Dhakar licensed under the The MIT License.