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Crater Song is a short, single-player co-op adventure puzzle game for the 8-bit NES based within the sci-fi fantasy world of Orebody.

In this unique NES game, players hold controllers 1 AND 2 sideways, like Switch Joycons (see below), and control two characters simultaneously, the twins Arco and Menuett. Crater Song is inspired by the game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

The game was initially developed for the NESMaker Byte-Off IV competition. The completed version is available to download here for free for use via emulation or on original NES or NES-compatible hardware.


On the planet Orebody, the nomadic Melodic tribe communicates only in song.

Every few generations, a baby is born to the tribe with cursed harmonics, a poisoned frequency that calls out to the mysterious extradimensional threat known as the Nox. This generation, the twins Arco and Menuett were born with the curse.

Having attracted the Nox throng to their tribe’s doorstep, the twins are cast out.

Even as they are hunted by eldritch horrors from beyond the stars, Arco and Menuett must journey to a faraway sacred crater with an ancient, pulsing meteorite at its center. It is said that the space rock’s pulses will lift their harmonic curse and allow the twins to once again rejoin their people in song.


  • Innovative Single-Player Co-op  (or regular Co-op) gameplay!
  • Engaging singing mechanic to help solve puzzles!
    • Puzzles that build in complexity and challenge over time.
  • A mixture of run/dodge and puzzle sections!
  • A moody sci-fi fairy tale narrative!
  • Playable on actual NES hardware!



Note:  The ideal way to play Crater Song is on ORIGINAL HARDWARE or CLONE HARDWARE using two NES controllers held sideways, like Wiimotes.  

When playing alone, the player should hold an NES controller in each hand, sideways, having access to the D-Pad on each controller and the Select button with their thumbs. This is the intended design and control method.

If playing this way, use the ROM labeled Crater_Song_OG_Hardware.nes.


If playing via emulation, use the ROM labeled Crater_Song_Emulator_Optimized.nes.

This changes the controls so the WASD and Arrow Keys can be used to control each character at the same time. Using this method, I recommend using "F" for Controller 1 SELECT and CTRL for Controller 2 SELECT. I also recommend ENTER for Start.

Music and SFX

Music and SFX by Jordan Davis.

Check out more of Jordan's work here: https://soundcloud.com/user-634230995-350638590

The Narrative World of Orebody

Crater Song is part of the larger Orebody transmedia narrative universe. On the planet of Orebody, life is a struggle, alien factions quarrel, and power comes from deep in the ground.

Check out the other Orebody games.

Follow Us:

Follow the Orebody Universe on:

Twitter / X: @OrebodyUniverse

Instagram: @orebody_inc

Blue Sky: @orebodyinc.bsky.social

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OrebodyInc

Threads: https://www.threads.net/@orebody_inc


I recommend getting two original NES controllers and two USB adapters. You can find one here or here. You can also use two NES-style USB controllers. Larger game controllers will not work well for the two-controller / two-character setup.

For really enterprising types, this game is fully playable on an actual NES. You can use either an Everdrive, a PowerPak, or flash a shell/board as long as each has mapper 30 support.

* * *

Crater Song was made possible thanks to NESMaker, a tool developed to make NES development more accessible.

In order to play Crater Song, you'll need an NES emulator. I recommend MESEN.

Once you have MESEN downloaded, start it up and open the .nes ROM that you downloaded from this game's Itch page. The game should work fine.

FOR MAC USERS: Download OpenEMU for Mac. When you open the program, right click on the Nintendo (NES) category on the left hand sidebar and select "Default Core." Then select FCEUX.


More from this developer: https://johnvanderhoef.itch.io

Updated 8 hours ago
Rated 3.0 out of 5 stars
(1 total ratings)
AuthorJohn Vanderhoef
Tags2D, 8-Bit, Co-op, Fantasy, NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), NES ROM, Pixel Art, Retro, Sci-fi
Average sessionA few minutes
MultiplayerLocal multiplayer
Player count1 - 2


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Crater_Song_NES.v.1.03.zip 421 kB

Development log


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Greetings John,

we hope you are doing great. I am Areeba (aka Titania) from the BrewOtaku-Team, we are launching BrewOtaku #002 - The Homebrew Gaming Magazine soon.

We loved your work and we have featured "Crater Song” in it. Kindly share your contact details so we can share it with you. You are anyhow free to share this on your social media channels or homepage.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards


Thanks! Email is at the top of my profile:


we have mailed you, thank you.

(1 edit) (+1)

Nice little 2-Player game! Our German-language review can be found in our recorded livestream starting at 02:15:15. English subtitles are also available (switch on, if necessary). Subscription to our YouTube or Twitch channel is welcome. 🙂

(1 edit) (+1)

Thanks for playing and for the video review. 

But just to be clear, the game is designed as a single-player game where one person controls both characters. It's best experienced with two NES controllers held sideways, like Wii-motes. For emulation, it plays well, too, with one character assigned to WASD on the keyboard for moving and the other character assigned to the Arrow Keys, with the Select button mapped for each wherever makes sense to the player. ;)