A video game demake is a version of a game that is remade for a lower-spec platform.
Just like with video game mods, demakes are typically fan-made passion projects that aren’t affiliated in any way with the studios that released the original game. Just gaming enthusiasts having some fun, really.
Some demakes might seem a bit silly at first glance (for example, the original The Legend of Zelda remade for Atari 2600), there is some seriously cool stuff being created by some seriously talented developers. Here are a few of our favourites:
Super Smash Land
Super Smash Land is a demake inspired by the Smash Brothers series of brawlers on Nintendo consoles. It’s a free-to-play PC game with that classic original Nintendo Game Boy green tint.
It features faithful demakes of classic stages and you can play with a selection of the series’ most popular characters.
Versus modes, online high scores and more make this, well, pretty much as fun as the official titles!
Halo Zero released in 2005 and is a side-scrolling shoot’em up whose story takes place before the events of Xbox classic Halo: Combat Evolved.
It’s playable on PC and the visuals will look somewhat familiar to fans of Metal Slug Advance.
It’s even possible to create custom levels using the Halo Zero Level Editor – a neat homage to the Halo Series’ much-loved Forge mode.
Developer Dobermann Studios has also released a couple more Halo demakes in recent years.
Low Mem Sky
Low Mem Sky is one of the nicest looking demakes out there, which is fitting given the beautiful visuals of its inspiration, survival sci-fi game No Man’s Sky.
This demake is made in fantasy console program PICO-8 and, just like No Man’s Sky, features procedurally generated planets for players to explore.
According to the creator, there are also over 180 billion unique star systems in Low Mem Sky. Seriously impressive to fit so much into a single PICO-8 cartridge.
FromSoftware really nailed it with Elden Ring, as did developer Lilith Walther with this PSX-style remake of FromSoftware’s PS4 hit Bloodborne.
At the moment, the game only features Yharnam (the first zone in Bloodborne) but it is a pretty darn faithful demake, right down to the details in the cutscenes.
Fans of PSX survival-horror classics like Resident Evil 2 will have a blast on Bloodborne PSX. It’s also already whipped up a decent following with its own category on Twitch.
One of the most lauded Metroidvania titles in recent years, Hollow Knight has been given the demake treatment by several different developers, but Low Knight is probably the best of the bunch.
This PICO-8 game was made for the 2018 Demake Jam and the simplicity of the controls system combined with the charming visuals make it well worth checking out.
Video game demakes: Concepts
The above are all playable demakes, but there are plenty more awesome demakes that don’t get much further than a trailer or even the concept art stage.
Like with all things video gaming, there’s a bustling community of devs and designers coming up with weird and wonderful demake concepts all the time.
For example, Advance Effect (a GBA demake concept mashing Mass Effect together with Advance Wars) sent gaming Twitter and YouTube/Twitch streamers into a frenzy when 64 bits posted it on their channel.
There’s plenty more content like this on their channel and the channels of other similar creators, or you can check out demakes on itch.io by using tags like ‘demake’, ‘gb studio’ or ‘pico-8’ as search filters.