#20 (#8 NEW!): Lawn Mower

Thankfully, I did not forget a word. This is not Lawnmower Man. In this game, you’re just a lawn mower, and you mow lawns.

Lawn Mower is an NES Homebrew game, released in 2011 as part of the NES Coding Compo 2011. It’s a simple, old-school arcade-esque game. Your goal is to mow ten different lawns. The catch is that you have only a limited amount of fuel. You can periodically get refueled, with the fuel canisters potentially respawning anywhere you’ve already mowed. You can press a button to speed up your mower, and release it to go back to the default speed, for more control. The other challenges are flowers (Which will eat a chunk of your fuel, but go away after you run them over) and rocks (The same as flowers, but they don’t go away at all). The later lawns are multiple screens wide.

While the game is simple, there’s a surprising amount of strategy involved in the later levels in particular. Do you go carefully and precisely, steering around every obstacle? Or will you occasionally run over an obstacle on purpose, sacrificing short-term fuel for an easier long-term trip around and through the lawn?

Graphically, the game is simplistic, which makes sense as an NES homebrew. Still, you can tell what the mower, grass, and rocks are supposed to be, although it’s unclear if the “flowers” are actually flowers, mushrooms, or something else. The music is NES goodness, in the style of a Neil Baldwin or the composer of Micro Machines–in other words, Euro/C64 influenced.

Despite there only being ten levels, with the largest being two screens wide (Which feels like three), the game can be a challenge. Strategy is required in deciding where to mow first, and how aggressive to be in terms of trying to mow more versus going for the fuel at the first opportunity. The game is more challenging than it seems watching it. It took me close to an hour to get through all ten lawns, and that was having seen the later half of the game in the Mystery Tournament (Where a lot of people first heard about it, I suspect).

Lawn Mower (Which cuts out the middleman, the person who usually controls the lawnmower) is a fun, short NES game, with catchy music. Getting it to play isn’t difficult, but you’ll need the game (Available here) and an emulator to run it (I use FCEUX). Download both, open the emulator, check your controls, then open the ROM and mow some lawns!

-EE

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